Exile in FarmVille
May 4, 2010 10:42 AM   Subscribe

Recommend a farm-themed simulation game. NOT THAT ONE.

I'm interested in a farm sim game that isn't Farmville. Further criteria:

* Single player. Optional multiplayer is okay, but I should be able to play the game solo.
* Not based on a "pay-for-perks" revenue model -- either one-time purchase or free to play
* Gameplay should be focused on planting/managing crops. Animal husbandry is okay as a subset of gameplay, but I am primarily interested in growing pretend plants.
* I'd prefer a game that either doesn't feature timed rounds/challenges, or limits them.
* Platforms: Windows^ or Nintendo DS^^.

^ Either something currently commercially available or easy to access -- I'm just not in the mood to mess around with DOSBox.

^^ I'm not particularly interested in the dating sim aspect of the Harvest Moon games, but I'll live with it if the other parts of the game are good enough. I can't tell which of the many HM titles for DS are most likely to float my boat.
posted by trunk muffins to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (24 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Sim Farm comes pretty close. I remember enjoying that game many years ago. However, if you do find a copy of it, you will have to mess around with DOS box.
posted by 517 at 10:46 AM on May 4, 2010

I have Sim Farm on my computer if you'd like me to zip it up and host it for you. It is some good ol' timey farming action, but frankly Harvest Moon is better equipped, and the dating action is totally optional. I really liked the GameCube version; no idea which DS version is which.
posted by disillusioned at 10:49 AM on May 4, 2010

(I just went digging for my old copy, and I still have it. Now if I can figure out a way to access two floppy disks, I may have something to do tonight. Thanks for reminding me of this game.)
posted by 517 at 10:49 AM on May 4, 2010

Alice Greenfingers is a "casual game" type farming sim. It's decent for $7, but felt repetitive to me. (Although so does Harvest Moon.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:52 AM on May 4, 2010

Zombie Farm is fun for about a month. Then you realize you have to pay up to get the good upgrades.

Still, fun for a month.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:54 AM on May 4, 2010

It's not what you're looking for, but it is awesome and has pretend plants you grow* - PopCap's Plants vs. Zombies.

*And use to fight zombies, of course.
posted by deludingmyself at 10:56 AM on May 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: harvest moon ds
posted by nadawi at 11:00 AM on May 4, 2010

Best answer: From The Boy: "There is also Plant Tycoon. It wasn't a *farm* game per se, but a gardening game. You plant seeds, water them, fertilize, trim, etc. Then you can hybridize to get new plants."
posted by deludingmyself at 11:00 AM on May 4, 2010

I really loved Harvest Moon back in the day and I think it sounds like exactly what you want. I've only played the SNES and N64 versions, but at least with those ones, you could definitely focus on the farming and ignore the lady-wooing. You don't get the best possible ending if you don't get married, I guess, but I felt like the experience of making progress during the game was more important than the ending anyway. I have no idea how the DS versions stack up but I think they're worth looking into. I'm sure you could very easily find an emulator version of the original Harvest Moon or Harvest Moon 64, too.
posted by mandanza at 11:13 AM on May 4, 2010

Harvest Moon is the one and only for you. I would recommend picking up the GBA version of Harvest Moon and not the DS one. Also if you are so inclined the N64 version is largely considered the "best" and it runs very well on emulation. Provided you own the original .
posted by lakerk at 11:16 AM on May 4, 2010

bigfishgames.com has a lot of farming games, and you get to try each one for an hour before you decide if you want to buy it. I'll tell you right now that the Farm Frenzy series is all animals and no growing crops (except grass to feed them). Most of them do have timed rounds so they are listed as Time Management. So, try to find one that is not listed that way but still has the word "Farm" in the title.
posted by soelo at 11:20 AM on May 4, 2010

fwiw - i <3 harvest moon and i really disliked the gba version. my favorite was the gamecube. of course, i'ved moved on to rune factory now.
posted by nadawi at 11:20 AM on May 4, 2010

It's been a long time since I've played a Harvest Moon game (the last one I played was A Wonderful Life on the Gamecube) but in the games I did play, the dating sim elements took a back seat to the farming elements, especially in the beginning stages. The difficulty of Harvest Moon (what little there is) arises from the need to clear enough free time during the game day so that you can walk into town to talk to the women, while also keeping up with harvesting the crops and milking the cows and all the other chores. Without the dating sim component, there'd be no pressure to make your farm run efficiently. (And I remember the dating being optional in Harvest Moon 64 at least: if you wanted you could just be a hermit living on the edge of town, tooling around in your gardens, taking your time.)

So my answer is that you should take a look at the HM games for the DS. (Not the Rune Factory games, which I understand are spinoffs--straight Harvest Moon DS is probably your best bet, as nadawi says above, though I can't imagine that the differences in gameplay in the main line of HM games are more than minor.)
posted by Prospero at 11:24 AM on May 4, 2010

Animal Crossing? I liked it on GameCube but there's a popular Nintendo DS version. (official site, Metacritic reviews)
posted by tantivy at 11:43 AM on May 4, 2010

Haha, Deluding, you beat me to the punch.

Still, while it's a great, addicting game, Plants Vs. Zombies is a farming game kinda the way GTA is a game about commuting to work.
posted by theDTs at 11:47 AM on May 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

I haven't played it on the DS, but Harvest Moon sounds exactly like what you're looking for.
posted by juv3nal at 12:09 PM on May 4, 2010

I loved SimFarm, and spent a long time making the most profitable apple farms as a kid. The DOS might be a barrier though.
posted by foodmapper at 12:55 PM on May 4, 2010

Rune Factory games are amazing - unfortunately, the Wii one is the best one, in addition to being one of the best games on the system. The DS Rune Factory games are pretty good though, and still have the farming element from Harvest Moon.
posted by Earl the Polliwog at 1:51 PM on May 4, 2010

i love rune factory, LOVE IT. in my top three favorite games of all time. a big fan. however, start with a traditional harvest moon unless you like zelda-style dungeon crawling.
posted by nadawi at 6:10 PM on May 4, 2010

Oooh, I'd also like to play something similar! For my virtual gardening fix, I played Plantasia and Farm Frenzy. They're both more of the "time management" genre, but I enjoyed them.
posted by gakiko at 3:25 AM on May 5, 2010

I like Plant Tycoon quite a bit and find it a very soothing thing to having running in the background while I'm working and then checking on my plants every half hour or so. The creators, Last Day of Work, also make Fish Tycoon and Virtual Villagers, which are basically the same thing but with fish and people instead of plants.

Westward 2 is a SimRanch type thing. You also fight gangsters and mine for gold and from time to time take mini-adventures where you have to run someone else's ranch for a few days. Obviously there was a first Westward, too, but I've never played it.
posted by hydropsyche at 5:29 AM on May 5, 2010

There is a Westward 3 and 4 as well. Those are really more adventure games to me than farming. You don't even manage the farm itself, you just pick what crop they should plant.
posted by soelo at 11:39 AM on May 5, 2010

Harvest Moon has a lot more 'other' gameplay built around it -- animal husbandry and the social/dating sim aspect. That said, you'll probably be able to sink more time in here than most of the other games mentioned so far. The farming itself can be rather simplistic, though. For example, Harvest Moon games always have an in game calendar and four seasons, each of which lasts approximately 30 days. In each season, you can plant specific crops (i.e turnips in Spring, corn in summer, eggplant in fall, etc etc).

If you pick up the original Harvest Moon DS (or Harvest Moon DS Cute, which is basically the same game but the main character is a girl), you plant your crops and have to water them for a predetermined amount of days before harvesting them (i.e. tomatoes take 7 days of watering, corn take 9, etc.). Then you just harvest and ship them. If you try one of the newer DS titles (and I would suggest Sunshine Islands over Island of Happiness, where the stylus controls were irritating), there's an added weather factor -- not only do the crops need X days of water, they need X days of sun as well. If the weather on a given day is 'sunny,' the crop gets two units of sun; if it's 'cloudy' out, they only get one unit of sun, and so on and so forth.

Anyway, the point I'm trying to get to is that the crop system is very linear and straightfoward; if you're only going to be tolerating the other aspects of the game, I'm not sure how enjoyable you'll find it to be overall (definitely not trying to knock HM -- I'm a big fan of the series and have played just about every incarnation of it, but I really enjoy the other parts of it as well).

Plant Tycoon is much more focused on hybridization of plants. You have a set number of planters and can cross pollinate your plants to find different variants. It's all focused on the plants themselves. However, it's also a game that runs in real time, so you don't really sit down and play for a few hours -- you just plant your seeds/pollinate (which takes all of a few minuts), and then come back some hours later to see what you've got. The main thing that annoyed me was that you can't buy additional planters or seed trays, so after a certain point you're being as limited by space as you are by the real time aspect. If you do enjoy the breeding/discovery aspect of it, though, I would actually recommend checking out Fish Tycoon (obviously, no farming involved, though). :)
posted by Kattiara17 at 11:03 AM on May 7, 2010

« Older How do I get the best color on my printer   |   What is normal? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.