I thought that Farm For Your Life would be more than what it actually is. It's a bit of harvest moon with a bit of tower defense and some fruit ninja and one of these kitchen games thrown in for good measure. It's not a terribly bad game but it lacks direction for what is supposedly a story mode and the weird barter system didn't draw me in at all, instead making me feel like it's taking forever to unlock stuff.

After creating a character and having a very small tutorial, my farm is wrecked and I need to restart from scratch with only a few things, tools and seeds to plant. You have a tech tree you can go through - but there's no clear reason to do so, is that the goal of the game? Is there another tech tree after the first one with cooler things? Is everything in that one screen? To do so, you need to trade things with other villagers, usually through them visiting your restaurant. They ask for specific meals and you barter with them - choosing what you want from them in exchange for your meals - and they usually don't give you the best deals upfront, which is a bit annoying. Let's say two pieces of scrap metal are fair trade for a glass of apple juice, why do people not offer me that and just offer one piece of scrap metal and I have to ask for another one each time? It's not really bartering if you can always just ask for the best deal!

To learn recipes to serve in your restaurant, you have to play fruit ninja in front of a cauldron. You need to chop ingredients into the cauldron as fast and precisely as possible in order to get three stars. Getting stars on these mini-game segments reduce the time necessary for cooking the meals. It's a bit annoying because it's not precise at all and unfun to restart over and over, they could've made it something a bit more relaxing, like a mini puzzle game. The way the restaurant works is a bit frantic, you have clients coming in, you need to prepare their orders with their drinks and clean up their dishes when they've gone and with timers on food and a line at the door, it can get stressful, but it's quite low-risk because you get paid upfront.

You can hire people to tend the fields and they will water your plants and pick them up, it's a big help, but you also need to constantly buy fertilizer and with the way the barter system is set up you might need to trade a bunch of corns and junk and other random things only to get one chicken or seeds for grapes. I kinda wished there were less things on sale and you were more directed towards what you should buy next. There are coins in the game, why not use them for goods and services instead of bartering? That would also work pretty well. You can also always get wood and rocks from the forest, but zombies are around and if they get you, you lose half of your stuff. It's frustrating to get a ton of resources only to lose most of them, so I didn't use this too much. Zombies roam your town at night and you can chase them by throwing veggies at them, I'm also not sure if there's something to be done about the zombies.

To conclude, FFYL is a little mix between harvest moon and casual games but it gives so little direction and so little sense of where the story is going - if there is a story past the first five minutes. Repetitive mechanics with no carrot dangling at the end of the stick made me stop after a couple of hours and I'm only left wondering if there was anything else in that game.

AuthorJérémie Tessier
Categories3/5, Casual