Simulation games have been dominating the hours of both casual and hardcore gamers for generations. It’s the reason you see dozens of Sims expansion packs, yearly iterations of farming/construction/train games and why gamers are chomping at the bit for a new Animal Crossing. We make a deeper connection to our creations and the bonds we form in these games. Perhaps we see the main character as more of an extension of our own selves? This brings me to Farm Together, a game heavy on socialization and light on simulation. Fun farming that’s streamlined, easy to understand and hard to put down. It combines many of the best qualities of Harvest Moon, Animal Crossing and social games to create what likely will become your next obsession.
Farm Together has a simple concept that slowly builds momentum until completely snowballing (in a good way). Players start out with a little bit of cash, some basic tools and their own small farm plot. Every 17 minutes the seasons will change, this is a unique element because certain items can only be planted and harvested in certain seasons. Regardless of it being a crop, tree, flower or livestock, everything takes real time to grow. Watering plants and flowers will speed up the growth timer, which is incredibly helpful for crops that take days to grow normally. This is one of the main core gameplay elements of Farm Together: plow land, plant crops, water them and harvest when they’re done. Harvesting earns money, XP and often other types of currency. As you progress, you will unlock the tractor which lets you perform actions in 9 squares at once. The tractor requires gas, so naturally you will need to build gas pumps, which take time to refill with fuel. Once you get the tractor you will wonder how you ever lived without it.
Experience points play a large role in Farm Together in three different aspects. Your farm earns experience and levels up as you perform all your tasks. As your farm levels up, your catalog of available crops, plants, buildings, decorations and more become available. Your main character has his/her own level that increases whether you are working on your own farm or a friend’s (more on that later). Lastly, every single fruit, vegetable, flower, livestock and more has its own experience level which increases their output. It isn’t just money that is used to buy items, there are other forms of currency: diamonds, ribbons and tickets To best explain it, they are used to purchase higher value items and ribbons specifically take longer to earn. Buildings are related to crops in a variety of ways, but typically means more currency for you. You earn money for harvesting fruit, but build enough fruit stands and fruit processors and you can rack up diamonds as well. Same goes for vegetables, fish, flowers, eggs and more.
Things get as busy as they sound, which is where the cooperative element of Farm Together really shines. Planting, watering, harvesting, fishing and everything else will keep you busy for hours and literally never ends. Thankfully, you can set your farms online options to allow guests to enter and help any way you see fit. They can be limited to just harvesting and watering for you or be given more liberties to help with quests or even build for themselves (using your resources). You yourself can also join other farms online to help others, doing so fills a meter giving you double XP for a limited time when you return to your farm. It’s important to note that your player XP level increases while on another farm, but all your work contributes to the hosts farm and crop levels. Later on in the game, you can unlock computer controller farm hands who will harvest areas for you. This is very useful in freeing yourself up for other tasks, just know that workers need to be paid in tickets!
What starts off small quickly expands through unlocking new areas of the map. New areas means more room for….anything you want! I mentioned quests earlier, these are very simple and reward you with experience for harvesting a set number of items. A quest can be as simple as plucking 20 apples and 20 carrots. They’re great for keeping the player on task and giving some sense of purpose to a game with incredible freedom.
I commend the developer Milkstone for the way achievements are handled in Farm Together. Nearly all of the more challenging achievements can be earned in collaboration with others. If you are on a farm that unlocks the final area or reaches a leveling achievement, you earn that achievement. If your farm host is willing, you can also have access to their catalog to build/place items you might not have unlocked on your own farm. It just feels so inclusive and I honestly spent more time helping friends on their own farm than focusing on my own.
More so than any other game I can recall, the buzz around Farm Together has spread organically. Gamers give it a try, rave about it online and get their friends to buy it. Farm Together has potential for endless replay value. Even if playing solo, there is easily 100+ hours of content to experience everything. Since launch there have also been updates adding more items and fixes, which is always a good sign for longevity. Hands down, Farm Together is the most immersive, enjoyable and accessible farming game that I’ve ever played. Everyone I know loves this game, I cannot recommend it enough.