When I left school in the summer of ‘87, my first real job was picking peas at the local farm for £1 per hour – and more peas than I could eat. This time last week however, I was in charge of six farms across five countries, and I produce wheat, coffee and olives. I had a myriad of farm equipment at my disposal and was cash rich and happy with life. Most importantly though? I was a champion farmer. You see, this time last week I was in a small room, with nice coffee on tap, being lucky enough to have a couple of hours hands-on with Pure Farming 2018.

Farming sim games have become as popular as cheese on toast. It seems that there are loads of different brands and franchises coming out all year round, being big business for the gaming industry. They haven’t been received as well in the critical corners, but Pure Farming hopes to change all that with their take on the genre.

The big difference here is the ability to take your farming skills across the globe, while expanding your farms across four regions – Japan, USA (Montana), Colombia and Italy. There is also the chance to take a trip to Germany as part of some pre-order DLC.

And it is in these countries where you get to plant region-specific crops such as hemp, coffee beans, cherries, and olives using dedicated farming vehicles that specialise in that arena. I sat on an almighty machine while collecting coffee in Colombia. I grew particularly fond of it in my short time and I’m looking to save up for a real one on eBay. Each country has its own benefits and farming challenges, letting you flick between the worlds easily.

There will be three gameplay modes in the final build which consist of Free farming, where you have complete freedom in the way you play, a sort of agriculture sandbox mode, if you will. Then there is a career mode called My First Farm with it taking you through the day to day workings of building your farm empire, giving you helpful hints and tutorials along the way.

The last one is the Challenge mode and this was mainly where I spent my time. It covers all the countries and gives you a challenge, like delivering all the coffee beans to your suppliers in a set time limit. This also ranges in difficulty and success will depend on how good your farming skills are. I really enjoyed these modes and it gave me a good feel for all the countries and different type of farming activities that are on offer.

The menus and UI of Pure Farming 2018 are very easy to use and there is even a new feature which lets you send up a drone in order to oversee the whole map. If you pass over a wheat field, it gives you all the stats you’ll ever need about that field including growth and yield. There are some other finance bits and bobs for those interested in that as well – selling and buying the stock is important. As well as the usual ploughing, cultivating and reaping, Pure Farming brings livestock management, orchards, green energy, greenhouses, garbage and a whole host of stuff to play with. It’s going to be a big game.

The problem when you have just a few hours with a hands-on is that you want to experience a bit of everything the game has to offer, and this is one game that is all about taking your time. I wanted to put Spotify on and go to work for hours on end, soundtrack blaring. That’ll be the beauty of an experience like this.

I was also shown how you can switch between third and first person views whilst in the vehicles, letting us take in the whole cockpit in full detail, even putting music on the radio in the final build. There are a whole range of new vehicles which have been carefully researched – ones that I’ve no authority to talk about, other than saying they look very big and shiny. There are also lots of neat little touches across the whole game, and these are actually making me a bit excited in a way that a farming sim wouldn’t normally.

Pure Farming 2018 looks to be an exciting new entry into the ever growing farming sim market. Its globe-trotting farmer mode, the promise of DLC and fantastic UI details will make this a very time-consuming affair. But at the same time, there are options for quick bursts of game fun that will cater for the short time gamers.

I for one am looking forward to a hard day in the fields, building an empire and becoming farmer of the year 2018.

Pure Farming 2018 will be arriving on Xbox One, PS4 and PC come March 13th 2018.