Farm For Your Life
Farm For Your Life Is An Interesting Zombie Farm Sim Hybrid
Upon original release, Farm For Your Life took a unique premise on two classic genres that have seen a bit of saturation over the years. Zombie survival horror has been a genre that's as old as the concept of time itself. Another genre that seems just as old in existence is farm simulation, with the concept of these two genres feeling less commonplace. Someone at Secret Item Games felt that the combination of zombies and farm simulations was the way to go, as the title of the game suspects. Players will not only have to fend for themselves in a zombie apocalypse during a large storm, but these foods aren't gonna grow themselves.
On the eve of obtaining a prized yet aging cow from a neighbor, a tropical storm hits, eliminating not only the player's farm but also said cow. Left with nothing, strange things start to happen as the player tries to get their farm back in order. Unfortunately, the zombies that have begun to terrorize the player's town do nothing more than throw a curveball at things. However, in Farm For Your Life, the player must turn tomatoes into Bloody Marys. Fending off zombies while trying to grow the best farm that one can do seems to be the goal here and it's a premise so zany that it's intriguing to try despite its rough, and I mean very rough edges.
The Graphics Are Laughably Bad, If Not Charming
From the title screen, main menu, and character creation screens alone, players will find that things are rather off. From the character models to the bug-eyed faces. The low-quality textures and "graphic" options that do nothing to enhance the experience certainly do not help. However, what Farm For Your Life lacks in fidelity and a concise art style it makes up for in charm. There are tons of customization options for your farmer, including gender, clothes, hairstyles, and more. Any game where you can decide to be a skeleton head or a mummy as one of the options is a plus in my book.
Unfortunately, the gameplay is a bit jarring as the gameplay runs on a grid. In most sensible farm simulator games including Story of Seasons, players can move in all 8 directions seamlessly. For some reason, in Farm For Your Life, it's a weird isometric viewpoint that forces the player to walk in a 4-way "grid" direction. This means that simple things like moving forward and backward includes holding two buttons, like left and down at the same time. This got very annoying very quickly and although I got the hang of the movement in this game, it did make things needlessly difficult. Watering and harvesting plants seemed like a chore and a nightmare, something in which the former will begin to bite me in the arm later.
I Lost 30 Minutes I'm Never Going To Get Back
Watering plants in Farm For Your Life is explained in a way that anyone can understand despite the jank movement the game offers. All the player has to do is take an empty watering can to a water hose. The player will automatically fill the can with water, allowing them to water the crops. This is shown within the first five minutes of gameplay and the player has to replicate this once the storm loses their farm. The problem here is that every time I tried to fill my can with water, I was met with an emoji that included a pair of feet and an "x" symbol. I did not know what this meant and the lack of a manual prohibited me from learning what this meant.
I did everything including moving objects out of the way and talking to the old man who fed me directions. The old man told me to water the plants yet I can't water plants without water. I can't fill the watering can because of this random emoji that prevented me from doing so. I spent close to fifteen minutes roaming, hoping I could find another water source. Desperation ensued but to no avail. I could not go past this part of the game. All because of this one obstacle I had no idea what it even was.
Alls Well That Ends In A Watering Well
I wish I could say more about Farm For Your Life but I had already wasted enough time. It was impossible to trust starting a new game only to end up back where I left off and get stuck again. I couldn't risk it due to my time and sanity. Thus, because of what I will chalk up as a glitch, my time in FFYL was cut short. Maybe underneath the jank graphics, movement, and glitches, there's a fine game. I wouldn't know. Regardless, buyer beware for Farm For Your Life. As this is a First Take, one's experience with the game who has had more patience may fare better than mine. For those who had a better time, I'm happy for you.
Farm For Your Life is available on the Nintendo Switch.