A lot of us use gaming as an escape. Gaming is a portal to a world with no real responsibilities, and no deadlines, or work to be done. A lot of us also use gaming as a way to fulfil dreams that we would never be able to accomplish in real life, for financial or simply practical reasons. Some of us want to go to space, traverse our deepest oceans or explore our planet’s highest mountains, but are unable to do so in reality. This is why a lot of people play games.
Some people however, simply want to be able to run a farm, with all the animals to feed and crops to grow that they could possibly imagine. This is Farm Manager 2022’s biggest strength, accomplishing a perfect sense of escapism while also achieving to give us the freedom to expand and create the farm of our dreams.
This isn’t a perfect game however, as the menus are horribly complicated and the systems at play aren’t properly explained in the otherwise useful tutorial section of the game. But overall this is a perfectly good experience for anyone that wishes for an escape from the trappings of life and the stresses that it brings.
I’ll start with the negatives. Farm Manager 2022 begins in the way all games of this calibre must – with a tutorial. There, we’re taught the basic functions of the game, and it functions pretty well as an introduction to the campaign. We’re shown the basics of managing a farm, as well as the options at our disposal when creating our own farms. The tutorial is done on a farm independent from the farm which you’ll start later in the campaign.
To begin with, the tutorial seems perfectly informative, however when we get to the campaign, the shortcomings of the campaign become more evident. It’s a pain to be stuck on a certain tutorial mission because the tutorial hasn’t done the best job of explaining how the menus of the game work. That’s where the only real issue of the game lies – the menus. To access anything in Farm Manager 2022, you need to traverse several menus that can be accessed through a single button of the controller, or by clicking on buildings. The menus attached to buildings are especially janky, with some buttons not appearing to be usable in any way, even though they look like they should be. Apart from that though, this is a solid game to navigate, with many, many options available in the form of customization and management. Speaking of, the campaign does a fantastic job of getting us to use these possibilities.
Farm Manager 2022 is a very large game, options wise, so the addition of a campaign is very welcome. You’re given a small farm with broken down machines, and you go through the process of fixing it up and expanding it. In my view, this almost does a better job than the tutorial of showing you how the game really works.
The possibilities of a game such as Farm Manager are massive, and it really helps that the campaign isolates each of these mechanics to one chapter. For example, there’s one chapter that focuses entirely on the growing of crops and how to make money off these. The chapter also shows you how to create greenhouses full of fruit and then later on how to turn this fruit into juice that will sell for even more money. This sense of cohesion between all the game’s main systems persists the entire way through. Another example – to keep cows you need to keep buying feed and vegetables, and this can be expensive, so what you can do instead is grow them. Simply put the right crops into a field, grow them until they’re ready to harvest, then make sure that they’re put into a warehouse near to the cowshed, and the cows will automatically be fed using these crops.
This sort of synergy between all the game’s systems really adds to the sense of possibility that it provides. This is down to every last detail, and speaking of, the game can sometimes be a lot, as there’s a lot to manage which really shows how managing a farm isn’t as simple as growing crops and keeping animals.
Staff is an important feature for any farm, as without the people it runs on, the production will slow to a crawl. This is reflected in Farm Manager 2022, as the decisions you make through staffing can have a large impact on whether your farm runs smoothly or not. You need to pick the right people for the right jobs, and position them in the staff houses you’ve built closest to the areas you want them to work in. There are seasonal and permanent workers, which comes in really handy for harvesting season when more staff is needed for the fields.
The seasons play a large part in Farm Manager, as they change what can and can’t be done, which further expands on the realism of the game. Overall this is a game that provides a lot of content for the price, and while it can be hard to work out, it does make working out how a system works more rewarding.
One further little issue that I have with the game though, is the technical performance and the graphics. Farm Manager should be able to hold up a decent framerate, especially as it’s not the best looking game in the world. Unfortunately, maybe through some poor model design, you’ll see some very low polygon count birds weakly fly through the air at around 5 fps and the animation on the machines and animals is dodgy at best, with them sluggishly moving at a lower framerate than the rest of the game. It’s a shame, as the rest of the game is technically sound, with hardly a glitch in sight.
To conclude, I’d say that Farm Manager 2022 is worth a play. It’s not too expensive, at £12.99 on Xbox, and has enough content to keep you going for hours. There’s a lot going on here, and with loads of flexibility to customise your farm with roads, decorations and various animals, this is a game that’ll keep you going for ages. A few graphical and menu based issues aside, Farm Manager 2022 is a solid game that I’d be happy to recommend to anyone looking for a bit of an escape from the real world, or anyone interested in a simulator offering layers upon layers of customization. For its low price, this is definitely something you should check out.
Farm Manager 2022 is available to download from the Xbox Store