Our Rating: 80 /100 ( )
Farm Story iPad App
We seem to have a natural compulsion to develop, grow and cultivate, and what better to fulfill that need than to return to the basics of cultivation and harvest: farming. The unlikely popularity of simple farming games has rapidly grown in the past months and Storm 8 quickly joined in this fad with their iPhone/iPod Touch app Farm Story. I have done all I could to resist games like this, knowing full well I’d quickly become a slave to it. Still, I finally gave into my curiosity after seeing Farm Story’s consistent presence in the list of top apps in the AppStore. While I’ve never played Farmville on Facebook and cannot compare, Farm Story seems very well designed and adapted to the touch screen interface on both the iPhone and the iPad. You are given a plot of land that can be plowed, cultivated, and expanded over time.
Crops vary in cost, time to grow, and profits and experience points they yield. In order to tend to your farm you simply tap the piece of land you wish you develop and choose from the available options. The layout is identical on the iPad as on the iPhone, but naturally that makes plowing, planting and harvesting crops on the larger iPad that much more easy. My hands and fingers are on the smaller side and I still had difficulty with my precision when it came to tapping on the right squares on my land on the smaller iPhone screen.
Additionally, there are occasional pop-up ads promoting Storm 8′s other apps that take up a large portion of the screen on the iPhone that need to be closed before the farm and features can be accessed, but the iPad is large enough so that everything is still accessible without having to close the ad every time it pops up.
Farm Story also has a social networking component to it, allowing users to visit other farms, water the crops of other community members, and leave messages on their walls. Certain advancements and enhancements in the game require a minimum number of neighbors, which require specific requests and approval. The social aspect of the game makes it more rewarding to develop and decorate your farm, knowing that others will be able to visit and admire your accomplishments.
Something very clever, but sneaky, is the way the game, as others by Storm 8, is marketed. During the course of the game, you earn experience points and coins as rewards for various tasks. Something you cannot earn, however, but has trade value, are gems. Each time you download a game promoted by Storm 8 through their ads, you may have an opportunity to get free gems, but other than that, it seems that the only way to procure gems are by purchasing them as an in-app purchase. Some items may be acquired by a choice of either gems or coins but some require gems as a prerequisite. This has made gems evermore valuable because they are impossible to obtain just through merit. However, once I downloaded all the free games Storm 8 promoted in exchange for the gems, the ads ceased, at least for the time being, I assume until another game is developed for download. This is a smart way for Storm 8 to secure a high rate of downloads for all their games, but something about it rubs me the wrong way.
My only other gripe is that I can’t seem to link my farm on my iPad to the one on my iPhone, making it much less convenient to play, considering how this game requires constant and consistent attention. The game requires Internet access to play and registration with a unique username that should make linking one account on multiple
devices a given. I would like to see multi-device support in a future update, or if that is already available, it should be made much more intuitive to set up.
Otherwise, Farm Story is intuitive to play and and the interface is simple but attractive. A lot of valuable, unlimited (mostly) free play. Overall a great app.