Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Series: Farming Simulator
Developer: Giants Software
Genres: Simulation game
Platforms: Android, PlayStation Vita, Nintendo 3DS, iOS
**Please note: Large sections of this review are indentical to our 3DS review of Farming Simulator 18, although several Android-specific changes have been made.
By David Mayne
By now you know that I’m a BIGASS fan of the now-cult adored agricultural powerhouse series, Farming Simulator. I’ve spent countless hundreds of hours plowing fields, planting crops, harvesting yields, selling said yields at market for (hopefully) profit, and raising various animals in Giants Software’s amazingly addictive and (what I consider to be) therapeutic FARMING simulator. Check out my review of Farming Simulator 15/16 for more on the series’ history.
Before I get started talking about FS’s latest incantation (FS18), let’s get a few things out-of-the-way for what I’m assuming is “most” gamers out there reading this review. The Farming Simulator series is, yes, a farming game…not a flashy first person shooter or a deep, open world RPG. As the name suggests, you will spend the overwhelming bulk of your time simulating “most” of what it’s like to be a farmer. Most gamers I know would probably consider this game boring as balls, and I wouldn’t blame them. Yes, it can and most likely is boring…IF you’re looking for flashy, next-gen graphics, deep stat building, action and adventure, or something you can master in just a few hours. The Farming Simulator series has and probably always will only appeal to a very niche group of gamers (most of which are farmers themselves…no joking). As such, not ONE single shit was given by the developers to make these games anything but what the name implied it to be, and that is perfectly OK. If you like the idea of farming and want the next-best thing to waking up at 3am and working your ass off all day long and into the evening doing little but extremely repetitive chores (without actually breaking your back and ruining your skin), then Farming Simulator just may be for you. Still…probably not, but maybe.
Farming Simulator 18, while not a “console release”, aims to stick to the core gameplay of its big brother while offering a more portable experience for those farmers stuck on a train, bus, or with a few minutes here and there to get some honest work done down on the farm. Releasing on iOS, Android (which I will be reviewing here), PS Vita, and Nintendo 3DS, FS18 is not only a portable version of Farming Simulator, it seems to bridge the gap in-between the major console releases that seem to now come out every other year (13, 15, 17), which, on a side note, means we can probably expect Farming Simulator 19 to appear next October or thereabouts for XB1, PC, and PS4.
To compare the latest console release with this newer, “mobile” version of Farming Simulator, you have to accept that there are going to be several differences between the two, and while some FS fans may love the more robust console versions, they may or may not love these on-the-go versions for a few simple reasons.
As stated earlier, the mobile versions of Farming Simulator 18 don’t quite share the visual polish of the consoles, although this ANDROID version is very crisp, clean, and smooth compared (especially) with it’s other mobile counterparts, namely the Nintendo 3DS and PSVita. That said, expect FS18 on Android to be a bit more trimmed down and “streamlined” for this mobile release. A few of the omissions are sorely missed, while some additions are a welcome change, but we’ll get to that.
First up is the Fun-Factor. Ok, ok, let’s just say this: fun is in the eye of the beholder (50 Shades of Grey for example). While many gamers just testing out the waters will play probably 10 minutes of any FS game and quickly shut it off with teary eyes caused by 10 minutes of their life gone, others (meaning “those other gamers”) will power through the steep learning curve and spend many, many happy hours of farming bliss while they start with nothing, build a farming empire (over a LOT of time), and relax in the process. Yes, Farming Simulator 18 is both fun and relaxing! Once you master the basics of FS, you can easily kick back on the couch, throw on a movie, and multi-task your entertainment with ease. I’ve worked many an hour on the farm while catching up on my favorite shows and movies. This is all possible thanks to an integrated feature on the mobile versions of FS that allows you to delegate almost every task to a “worker”, thus freeing you up to manage the many other things going on around your farm without something not getting done because you’re not there to physically do it. THIS feature alone makes FS18 much more fun and enjoyable over the console versions insistence on making you do most of the menial tasks yourself like driving crops to the market or getting gas and a car wash. Even driving halfway across the map to pick up new stuff from the equipment dealer is a thing of the past thanks to a very helpful navigation point that can be placed anywhere to have a worker take over and complete the travel for you. This helps tremendously, especially when your farm begins to grow in size and you have many more important things to do than take a cruise over the mill to drop off some harvest. While I wish to god they would have put this feature in the console versions, I can see why it is absolutely necessary in the mobile versions, if for nothing else but to compliment the whole “on-the-go” feel, because trust me there is a shitton of driving in FS and it would suck to have to do it all the damn time on a small device. Either way, FS18 is extremely fun and accessible, with plenty of the meat from its console brethren left over to satisfy the hunger of the traveling gamer-farmer. Raising animals, working with crops, driving big ass tractors, and having to learn a certain amount of business acumen to be successful are all here and in spades.
And, on to the graphics. Contrary to our previously reviewed Nintendo 3DS version of Farming Simulator 18, this Android version is a night and day difference. Textures are crisp and detailed, the frame rate is extremely smooth, and the overall level of polish will make you feel bad for 3DS farmers everywhere.
Next to the (understandably) much more polished and graphically superior console and PC versions of FS17, this (and I’m assuming the iOS) version is my 2nd favorite and most satisfying way to play a farming simulator game, bar none.
Sound is a no brainer. You hear tractors. Well, that and really shoddy music (all three tracks of it). While the console versions now feature very detailed sounds for all kinds of things going on in and around your farm, the mobile versions suffer slightly from very basic tractor and machinery sounds. The main faux pas here occurs with the inclusion of only a handful of musical tracks to listen to while farming. Look, I know this isn’t Grand Theft Auto and Giants Software probably doesn’t have the resources available to worry about music licensing, but come on, maybe at least 15 to 20 royalty free tracks would have been better than the same 3 tracks looping continuously? Again, I am thankful that the music can easily be turned off in the options. LUCKILY, this is an Android release of Farming Simulator 18, so feel more than free to crank up some Pandora or Spotify on the side and farm away to your heart’s content while rockin’ out to some old school Waylon Jennings. What?
Control on the Android tablet is as to be expected for a touch screen interface. Personally, I can play for hours with very little frustration. Then again, this is a farming game (no shit) and the controls are mostly elementary, while a shooting game or the like would be much more frustrating without some sort of physical controller. I did not try my Steelseries bluetooth controller with FS18 yet, so I’m not sure how well it works, but I really don’t have any reason to as the touch screen controls are perfectly serviceable. You’ll even find situations where using a stylus might come in handy, especially while navigating the menus and options.
Lastly, let’s just say it all comes down to two things: Is it worth it to buy Farming Simulator 18 with far superior and more robust versions on PC and next-gen consoles? And, if you do choose portable, does the Android version cut the proverbial mustard (seed)?
While the console and PC versions of Farming Simulator 17 are top-notch, AAA offerings, Giant’s Software’s insanely addictive series seems to find itself perfectly at home on mobile devices. Being able to “farm” anywhere is a huge plus and you’ll soon find yourself checking in and doing a few tasks here and there on a work break or lunch hour. The Android version of FS18 is absolutely a pleasure to play, with fantastic graphics, a robust mobile farming system, and great controls. Don’t forget the local multiplayer, letting you and a friend can farm together, and you have a version of Farming Simulator that begs to be in any armchair farmer’s mobile gaming repertoire. At (currently) $4.99 in the Google Play Store, you’d be remiss if you didn’t grab this version of FS18, especially over its far inferior (and vastly more expensive: $29.99) cousin on the Nintendo 3DS.
Fun Factor: 8 – It’s farming. For days. On end. Repeat. BUT….if that does it for you, as it does me, then rock on!
Graphics: 9 – The textures, details, and frame rate on the Android version are top-notch, especially compared to other mobile versions.
Sound: 5 – Still let down with the repetitive selection of included music, but being able to listen to streaming music apps on the same device is a plus.
Control: 9 – Touch controls done right, very little room for error.
Lasting Appeal: 10 – If you have the interest and the time, FS18 will eat away many hours of your life. This Android version will see a lot of me…for a long time!
82% – GREAT!