Farming is a tough job – and that’s just in the virtual world. There have been an array of farming games released over the years from Real Farm and the Farming Simulator series, across to the likes of Farm Together. Whatever you are playing though, you’ll need to commit to long days in the field, actioning monotonous tasks before rinsing and repeating. But things can be harder and in Farm for your Life you’ll find that zombies are involved in the whole process too. The thing is, they don’t want your brains – they want your valuable potatoes and corn that you’ve painstakingly grown. It’s pretty much farmegeddon.
What Secret Item Games have done with Farm for your Life is to mix the popular farming sims with the likes of Animal Crossing, before combining it with Plants vs. Zombies. It’s a wild experiment – what could possibly go wrong?
After you customise your character with a range of different skins and looks you can start messing around in the world of Farm for your Life. Here you find yourself with a fully-fledged farm being run by you and your grandfather; everything looks peachy as you learn the mechanics of the game. But before you can say Farmer Giles things start to go wrong – there is a sudden storm, the whole farm is destroyed and you are left to build things up again, starting from scratch.
But to make matters worse the storm has spawned a horde of vegetarian zombies who will stop at nothing to break up your farm and steal the veggies. It’s left to you to stop them, taking in a sweet, family friendly story in the process. It’s nice too that there is a sort of small open world vibe to proceedings and it’s good to walk around the local village, talking to others and understanding the complexities of Farm for your Life.
The gameplay itself works as a mixture of resource management, sim building, and, well, battling off the attacking zombies each and every night. If the latter doesn’t appeal then it’s good to see that you have the chance to switch the zombies off if you want to. You can also involve yourself with an endless mode, which allows you to just farm away to your heart’s content, without the need of narrative or story.
The usual resource management stuff that crops up in most farming titles is present as you farm for your life, mostly by clearing the land of stone and debris and gathering wood. Soon you’ll find that you can build fences around your farm for defense and also repair and build bridges to open new areas. Sowing seeds in the ground, sprinkling them with water and then reaping the vegetables that grow should also be at the fore of your attention, as should gathering up seeds by bartering with the local residents. Progress and you’ll get new upgrades for your farms, the chance to build better defenses and even give local residents some shelter if they do some work for you.
Soon you find yourself opening a little restaurant as well, serving customers some grub in return for some supplies. This is a decent little distraction as you take in recipes from a seller and then take in a fun Fruit Ninja styled mini-game to help cook the dish quicker. It’s like a little tycoon game that can get quite obsessive.
It’s at night when all havoc breaks loose though, as the zombies come out to play, attempting to destroy all your crops – and your farm if you’re not careful. Thankfully you have ways to fight back; the first defense is to throw vegetables at them yet later on, as you earn enough supplies, vegetable guns work as defensive turrets, taking them out as they get nearer.
All of this is good wholesome fun and Farm for your Life can be very endearing and addictive to play. However, I’ve found the controls quite cumbersome to use, longing for a mouse to aid with pointing. It’s pretty frustrating when you can’t place things exactly where you want them.
Farm for your Life is however very cartoony and pretty delightful in terms of the visuals. It will certainly fulfill the needs of any family gaming criteria, with some great characters and a nice colour palette. In fact, even though this mixes many ideas, the world is familiar and user-friendly; even the zombies are cute. You can pretty much sum the soundtrack up in a similar fashion; there is nothing to really shout home about but it’s pretty damn solid throughout.
If you’re looking for a family friendly take on the farming and zombie scene, Farm for your Life may well be of consideration; there is plenty to do and have fun with, both in terms of the story and endless mode. However, the price is a little bit high for what it is and whilst the gameplay all works fine, and the idea is sometimes addictive and rewarding, the controls are awkward and you’ll probably be left wishing for a mouse or touchscreen.
Farm for your Life is a decent attempt at delivering a unique cross-over experience, mixing tower defense with a farming sim and a little cooking. Give it a go – but perhaps once it drops in price a little.
Settle into the farming vibe with Farm for your Life on Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One