Time management games are dime a dozen, but there’s still room for good ones to make a splash. I must admit, I was greatly looking forward to Farm Frenzy 3, having been a big fan of the original (the PSP minis version, especially). As a time waster, the Farm Frenzy games have always done a good job of offering a lot of content, some reasonable challenge, and cute visuals and music.
I can’t say I am as blown away by this game as I should have been, even by casual game standards. But it is indeed a competent package, and it should keep the franchise ticking over for a while yet.
The real problem is that, while the levels are plentiful and wholly new, there’s very little that we haven’t seen in the other games in in the series. The main differences are cosmetic – this is a very exotic farm you’ll be tending this time around, with charming animals across a range of environments providing the goods for you to refine and ship off for sale. Where earlier you might have been protecting the farm from bears, this time around it’s lions.
They all behave exactly the same way, naturally, and completing the levels involves the same process – refine goods up to more expensive versions, sell those expensive versions for cash to upgrade your buildings and produce even more valuable goods. This process happens until you collect the requisite goods to finish the level.
The challenge comes from trying to finish the levels within a set time frame, with gold and silver medals being awarded for good play. There’s no penalty for losing, this is a casual game after all, but some of the time limits in the later levels take a great deal of skill to complete in any reasonable time frame.
On the iPad it’s easy to organise yourself, with simple tap gestures being all that is required to play the game, and the large tablet real estate put to good use. The music is bright and cheery and the visuals are clean and colourful. All up it looks and plays exactly as you’d expect from a casual game.
What does separate this game from the others is the sheer number of levels and objectives to earn. Buildings can be bought and upgraded by earning points for good performance. This does mean at the very rare occasion there’s some replaying old levels-style grinding to be done, as some levels require a certain building to be able to play, and levels progress in a linear fashion.
On top of that there’s achievements to earn, and of course, all those gold medals. If you get hooked on this game it will last you a long time indeed.
The problem is, for fans of the previous games, whether you do get hooked on it a third time is very much up for debate. It’s much the same game with a new coat of paint, and while this is an easy recommend for newcomers, it’s probably better to try before you buy if you’re a veteran.