Farm Kingdom is a F2P browser game that firstly brings PvP into the farm simulation. It was announced on Nov. 17th, 2011 by Mail.Ru, the same publisher behind popular games including Allods Online and Juggernaut. Being a hybrid casual game, it will employ all standards of farm management but also enrich the gameplay with mini-games, social work and the innovative PvP. As far as the announcement releases, players can clear land plots to grow crops and fruit trees, raise fowls and other animals, build more facilities, play mini-games while waiting for harvest, and pay visit to friends’ granting favors and gaining rewards. As to the PvP part, no detail is known yet. And players, if interested, can now leave email address and may be among the first to play. Its official website is: http://www.farmkingdom.net.
As it entered into open beta on Nov. 2nd, 2011 (two days ago), our editor has played it and written the following article after hands-on experience.
Most of us may be way too much older talking about fairytale, but it does no harm to occasionally indulge in the make-believe world that existed long, long ago. A piece of land, a modest house, a small garden and some starting capital enough for the beginning. Isn’t that a wonderful beginning of a story that ends well? And that’s the start of Farm Kingdom.
Farm Kingdom? It’s an honest sum-up about the core gameplay, yet not the cleverest one that whets appetite. At sight of the very title, I naturally (and perhaps a little pessimistically) think that the game is by little chance innovative enough to break loose from the formula set by the original Farmville. And it does not. In fact, it follows the most adopted method nowadays, that is, blending diversified existent elements together to make a so-called new game.
Being hybrid is its feature. It provides a wide range of farm chores to keep us occupied, such as planting potatoes, raising chickens, building poultry house and cooking pancakes in the kitchen, etc.; and it also offers mini-games and barbecue party to fill in the off season when crops or animals wait for their own time. Sounds too familiar to be fun? Not necessarily, for details define, right?
Actually, there is not much to say about the plant-growing and animal-raising, because we know that too well. It’s all about clicking and waiting, clicking to buy whatever is needed, sow seeds, water dried plots, roost chickens in the nest and then waiting to harvest the outcome. As to the building part, little needs accounting as well: we just need to collect all required material in different amounts and types such as logs, boards, coal, copper and so on to finish the construction. Where do the materials come from? Some are gained by chopping trees, exchanging collections or random rewards in quests, while the mineral-type including coal, copper and gold (available since Lv. 10) plus fish must be won in the mini-games.
On the border of the large patch of farmland, there are two road signs on the right and left respectively directing to the Mine and Fishing Cove, where we can go playing mini-games to obtain resources.
Going down to the mine, we are entering a playing field, a board made up of randomly-set red and blue stone cubic with resources embedded in-between. To get resources, we need to line a chain of stones of the same color to make the resource fall to the bottom row of the playing field. There is timer in each round and level-based resource tap too; once either one is met, game is over and then is closed for a while.
While the mine is closed, let’s go fishing. Like fishing in reality, patience is called for that we have to get straight the rod, line, hook and bite before casting the line. Then the ringing bell signals the time to strike. It’s easy catch fish, only if we keep an eye on float and keep the fishing window over it. Fish caught can sell for a good price or save for cooking materials. By fishing, we can also improve our Angler profession, the level of which, once raised, will unlock more playable contents, such as buying better equipments, upgrading fishing spots and producing nets in the angler’s shack, etc.. Initially, we have 20 attempts to catch a fish and they are restored with time too.
As in most Facebook games, every act cost Energy and an overall 20-point is all we have to start with. Energy is always a pace-setter that decides how fast we can move on in the game. We can wait for its auto refilling with time, yet we normally choose a quicker way: to eat to gain energy. And the food can be either bought for Coins or Diamonds (premium currency) or made by ourselves in the kitchen with collected ingredients. Favor playing for free like me? Then we certainly pick up the latter. And that’s where cooking rolls to play.
We can cook in the kitchen in our modest house. Not done by one or several clicks, it requires hold-and-drag mouse operation. We have to follow procedures, just like what’s written in a recipe. Similar to tracing, we need to draw lines according to the direction of arrow to get every step done. Take cooking pancake as an example. To make a pancake, we need to peel and smash potatoes, crack eggs, stir the mix, scoop up the contents, place them in the frying pan and flip them over once. Cooking is also timed and will create a mess which cleans up automatically with time. The more filling a dish, the more energy awarded, and the greater mess left behind. We will also be rewarded with Chef Experience; again, higher level of it gets our hands on more recipes.
Personally, I think it has done better in the social element than most games. On the one hand, it asks us to invite Facebook friends with rewards allotted if we do so; but does not require us to spam by offering alternative channels for us to add friends, real-players not NPCs. Uniquely, it provides right beside the chat box a name list of online gamers who are playing the game, and allows us to add each other as friends. See? Problem solved for those whose friends are not playing it. On the other, besides the usual gifting and visiting, it offers more merrymaking activities. Why not throw a party? Whoever comes at invitation brings a gift (one collection item) and receives valuable prizes as well; and we as hosts not only get guests’ presents but also gain rewards if the party is attended by five or more people.
And at last, a few words about what’s left untouched in it. Prior to the open beta, Farm Kingdom is publicized to be the first farm simulation that contains PvP gameplay. Probably because I didn’t play long enough, I know nothing about it yet. In-game graphics, sound effects and animation are fairly pleasant and passable; but the option of full-screen, zoom-in and zoom-out is not offered.