Green Patch Goes Farming, Releases (Lil) Farm Life on Facebook
While farming has been popular in China for a while, farming on Facebook really first started growing with a simple social game called myFarm. Then came Farm Town, which hit an impressive rank of #4 in the Top 25 within its first month, and later, Zynga took a crack with FarmVille and ousted long time veterans for the overall #1 spot on the Facebook gaming charts. Next came Playfish with Country Story, and so it’s only a matter of time before yet another major social game developer joined the fray.
Like all (Lil) games from Green Patch, Farm Life utilizes similar key concepts of its predecessors: players plow land, plant seeds, tend to them, harvest them when they grow, and send gifts to friends. In Green Patch fashion, gift proceeds go to the prevention of rain forest deforestation.
However, with this game, players don’t have to deal with the care of plants (i.e. daily watering) as much. Instead, Farm Life incorporates the all too familiar mechanic from other games in which players and friends can help each other out by cleaning up leaves, scaring off crows, harvesting crops and so on. In fact, the more you help friends, the more money you earn for your hard work.
Certainly, this is the best looking game from Green Patch. All of the visuals are crisp and clean and don’t have that flat pixelated look that has been seen before. A number of the elements are animated and the game comes complete with a quirky instrumental rendition of the children’s song “Old McDonald” (though this will probably be muted shortly). Perhaps the best element, however, is the custom avatars, which are significantly better than the other farm titles out there in terms of customization.
(Lil) Farm Life is another farming game, so there’s not much new to say about game play that hasn’t been said before in the previously mentioned games. However, what is most frustrating is the uncanny level of bugs that one encounters while playing at the moment. For example, upon first creating a character, the “Return Home” command required that the avatar needed a change to female and the game started reading the player farm as a friend‘s farm. Using the context menu to plant seeds on multiple plots of land caused one plot to become unusable with a “can’t do this action right now” type of error. These bugs were not too frequent though and seemed to go away after a reload of the game.
Looking past the bugginess, (Lil) Farm Life is not a bad game. It’s not wholly original, but frankly, it stands out amongst the other Green Patch titles due to visual style.