The first time I played the Harvest Moon series was back in 2001, when I was about seven-years-old. My best friend was playing A Wonderful Life, riding around on a horse and attempting to woo Muffy in hopes of obtaining a Blue Feather and beginning a family. I remember being completely enthralled with it and immediately used my birthday money to buy Even More Friends of Mineral Town on my Gameboy Advance SP. While my collection grew, and I’d eventually own nearly every version of Harvest Moon, aside from the illusive Nintendo 64 version, I’m always on the lookout for other games that follow the same pattern. I like to virtually farm, meet interesting townies, and even fish on occasion.
Most farming simulators I find on the Google Play Store are those tapping games that aren’t very story driven so when I see a game with substance, I immediately download it. Sometimes I hit the motherlode, insert Sims joke here, and others I’m left feeling disappointed. As I was playing A Farm Tale I was simply left confused and shocked.
A Farm Tale started out like most games of this genre, the character’s uncle passed away and left behind this farm. It’s in rough shape however, it is huge; two fields flank the main house and there is a gated area for the well all adorned in what appears to be statues of a goddess. The house itself is rather large and contains a bedroom, kitchen, tool forging area, dining room and a storage area. Overall, it’s a great set up that any farmer would be lucky to have.
After the dashing mayor of this town gave me a quick tour of my new home, I was finally allowed to man my own controls. The buttons consisted of a D pad, A and B button; I was excited thinking A Farm Tale might be like a throwback to my beloved Gameboy games but so far, I was wrong. I began to explore the town and found various shops including farming, fishing, tools, and several vendors that sold bagged lunches and dogs. Before I could do anything else, a large red warning flashed across my screen shouting something liken to, “YOU ARE HUNGRY, YOU HAVE TO EAT!” Startled, I threw my phone on the bed and recoiled. After the initial wore down, I picked up the cellular device and inspected the dialogue. I should also note, every second in real life in a minute in this town, just before I could do anything about the ravenous hunger within my poor little Lily, she died. That’s right y’all, she starved to death.
Turns out, players need to feed and water their avatar several times throughout the day. Their metabolism is super high because when I went to play again, Lily had to eat five times a day and drink four bottles of water. Luckily, the well doesn’t contain any harsh elements and one can drink from it however, with limited funds keeping enough food around is seemingly impossible. One packed lunch is 600 dollars and I didn’t even figure out how to cook yet, who knows what the cost of ingredients and cooking tools are.
There are many elements of A Farming Tale that I admire and respect including the controls, graphics, and overall plot. I can look past the fact that nearly every farming simulator begins with a relative’s death and I can even admit that Lily starving to death was my fault. The one thing I think A Farming Tale lacks is clear directions. I was asked several times if I understood how to talk to people but not offered a quick rundown of how things work. Now that I understand the mechanics of it, I’d love to uncover more of the town’s secrets and explore the RPG angle of the game, but for now I want to silently mourn the lost of my dignity for not realizing I could die.
Overall, A Farming Tale has all the elements desired in a farming simulator and even adds aspects of an RPG. Perhaps if time was slowed down and our character’s metabolism wasn’t so fast, the game would be more enjoyable. I think A Farming Tale has potential considering it’s one of the few farming games that doesn’t utilize the tap and play method. In the end, while it wasn’t my favorite Android farming simulator, I would be willing to give it another shot in the near future.