REVIEW – In case you don’t find Farming Simulator 19 appropriate or satisfying, or in case you got tired of it, here’s a rival game, Farmer’s Dynasty that has been in Steam early access for a year or more before it also got ported to consoles, except for the Nintendo Switch version. You have to become successful with an inherited farm.
You inherit a farm, and you must renovate it.
Not Harvest Moon
This game surprisingly has a story: your grandfather passed away recently, and his farm becomes yours, and to see some progression and evolution, it won’t be in a good state in the beginning. You’ll have to paint the walls, you have to repair the roof, there will be no equipment (you must buy that as well). Instead of having access to everything from the start, you have to help your neighbours and other NPCs, as the farm will only „open up” that way. If you start to make money, then you can buy fields, animals, and machines – later, getting a wife for your future family will also come into play. (No, it won’t have any reality TV elements, thankfully.) The plot will adapt to your playstyle, but for that, you can’t look at Farmer’s Dynasty as a product to waste time on. You have to take it more seriously – for example, harvesting crops is a good way to earn cash, plus having a few cows and chickens (not written in the singular as that’s a Cartoon Network series) raised can fill your pockets as well. Eggs, milk, don’t forget about these either – as there will be a store nearby, you can spend your products there without much hassle, but I do need to point out that you have to use the proper fertilizers to sell what you have. Don’t cut this corner. (At least the fishing is relaxing, and that’s good.)
Hassle? The devs tried to make the exploration of the open world harder, or at least slower by making your vehicles significantly slow. The travelling will not be that exciting. The same goes for the intro, but playing through that is heavily recommended, as it will help you learn the tricks and tips necessary in this genre altogether (and it will be useful even for those who haven’t played much of farming games, and calling them beginners, in this case, is justified), and since the controls won’t be an issue – it might become intuitive after a while. It could happen if the game manages to suck the player in. That is often positive for a game, and that is not an exception here either. There aren’t many issues in the gameplay, but the presentation has a few points I need to mention, as they could be bothersome, or at least noticeable. There are technical problems, too – but I somewhat expected those to happen.
Not Stardew Valley
Visually, I don’t think Farmer’s Dynasty is that strong, and it felt a bit like I was playing a port of a mobile game on PC (Codemasters, Colin McRae Rally…). The characters’ faces can only be described by one word (ugly), and their movements also feel machine-like, and there are cases in the voice acting where the lines are read without any intonation like a robot – I’m fairly sure you are going to notice it in the tutorial (I’m looking at you, Oliver, THIS IS YOUR BAAAAARN). So the game has audiovisual flaws, and I also hinted at technicalities in the previous paragraph.
The frame rate was moving up and down, side to side like a rollercoaster, the NPCs tended to appear out of nowhere and be gone just like that as well, and in a few cases, I got stuck in a few objects, too. A few times, I also noticed crashes while loading the game – but I think these issues will be addressed, and this is why I’d say that if the devs keep by their game with constant fixes and whatnot, you can add half a point to the score. The open world is a bit lifeless: even if you get immersed in farming (that’s a good thing), the world around you will be seen regardless.
Toplitz to the top
The game is being made by Toplitz Productions and UMEO Studios – it seems to be the first game for the latter, and the former, an Austrian studio, has been a publisher, too. (City Police Patrol is something I mention here: it had a DRM called Valeroa that came, saw, and then mentioned scene members, with the DRM getting cracked in twenty minutes, and it’s probably dead already, as the website redirects to fake Google malware. What?) Farmer’s Dynasty deserves a 7 out of 10 in my opinion, because it’s good, and if it gets updated (and maybe becomes visually more appealing), then it could get an 8, too.
If you get used to it, you’ll get to like it. And if you get to like it, you might find yourself spending several hours with it. Yet, I find it somewhat brave from the devs to already announcing a medieval version of the game (Medieval Dynasty, will launch later this year). They shouldn’t get too confident. Still, in the end, I’d like to mention that the wife part of Toplitz’ product makes it somewhat of a Sims lite, but that dialogue system is a little awkward (yes, there’s one), but why are the options put in the bottom right corner? Seven out of ten.
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+ The gameplay directly related to the farming
+ …which can hook you
+ It could provide competition for Giants, who hasn’t had rivals recently
– Technical and audiovisual issues
– The start of the game requires a lot of grinding
– The world feels somewhat lifeless
Publisher: Toplitz Productions (Bigben Interactive on consoles)
Developer: Toplitz Productions, UMEO Studios
Genre: farming simulator
Release date: November 21, 2019 (PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One), 2020 (Nintendo Switch)