If a rural lifestyle sounds appealing â€“ but not the early mornings, hard yakka and mountains of muck that goes with it - this little charmer might just hit the spot. The aim of the game is to run a successful farm by raising livestock, collecting the raw materials they drop (weâ€™re talking eggs, wool and milk), processing the materials, manufacturing them into other products, and selling off your goods at the local market. Along the way youâ€™ll be able to purchase upgrades for your plant to improve storage capacity and output. Itâ€™s not all plain sailing, however; there are also finances and inventory to manage, and predatory bears to capture. The latter may seem like an unusual farm hazard, and they certainly arenâ€™t indigenous to â€˜Noo Zillundâ€™; nevertheless they can wreak havoc on your livestock numbers.
Each level has a different checklist of objectives, such as accumulating a specific number of livestock or products. Complete the level within a specified time and youâ€™ll earn gold or silver medals. You can always replay a level to improve on your time â€“ youâ€™ll have to revisit some of them anyway, to fund building and equipment upgrades required for advancement. For some reason thereâ€™s a slight discrepancy between the listed goal times and the actual goal times, but itâ€™s in the playerâ€™s favour so weâ€™re not complaining too loudly.
Controls are responsive and very simple to operate. We guarantee you wonâ€™t miss the traditional â€˜point and clickâ€™ PC interface, to which this type of game is usually better suited. Game play is simple enough for a child to master, yet thereâ€™s sufficient challenge to keep adult players amused â€“ for a while, at least. The pace never quite achieves â€˜frenzyâ€™ status, but it can be tricky juggling several balls at once.
With its amusing but limited sound effects and only one tune playing in the background, youâ€™ll soon become well acquainted with the audio component of Farm Frenzy. We donâ€™t think itâ€™ll drive you nuts, however; itâ€™s only for a few minutes at a time, and thereâ€™s always an option to kill the sound. The lower res graphics probably look great on the PSP, but donâ€™t fare quite so well on the wide-screen TV. Despite this the visuals are colourful, cheerful and cartoonish - plus thereâ€™s enough detail to differentiate between the animals and objects.
The gameâ€™s accessibility, humour and addictive game play make it easy to overlook any negatives in favour of the fun on offer. With a price tag of just $5.95, Farm Frenzy is one of the best value minis weâ€™ve played so far.