Review: Farm Frenzy 2
We reviewed Alawar's Farm Frenzy last year. Well, the farmyard madness is back with Farm Frenzy 2. Sequels are always difficult to get right though. If you're a mobile gamer looking for a frenzied challenge of screen bashing and resource management, with a dash of cuteness; then you should read on to find out more!
Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
If I was giving out awards for the most addictive mobile game of 2010, I would have given it to Farm Frenzy for Symbian, which I tested on S60 5th Edition. The sequel is now here, with the unsurprising title of Farm Frenzy 2, which I've been reviewing on Symbian^3.
The thing I noticed when loading Farm Frenzy 2 for the first time was the aesthetic update. In the original game, each animal and building were flat two dimensional objects. The same approach has been taken in Farm Frenzy 2. However, those graphical sprites have been generated from three dimensional renders, giving the illusion that 3D rendering is happening on the fly.
Animals are now (seemingly) more than flat images
To make the most of the graphics, Farm Frenzy 2 automatically puts the phone's screen at maximum brightness. This does make the colours much more vivid, but is a massive drain on the battery. Fortunately, there is an option to disable this in the game's settings.
Farm Frenzy's settings screen
The music has been updated too. While playing each level, there's a fast paced but jolly ditty playing along. The interstitial music between levels is a characteristic Bluegrass theme.
The core game mechanics haven't changed from the original game. The core game play was described in my review, last year:
“The primary mode of play takes place on the farm yard, and is a deceptively complicated game of resource management. Each level has an objective to meet within a certain time limit. Early levels only require you to produce a certain quantity of a primary commodity, like eggs. To produce eggs, you have to water the field to grow grass, and let your goose start eating. Although sitting back and relaxing at this point is not an option!”
“It soon becomes apparent that the farm needs constant attention. After watering the field, the well requires money for a refill, and if you don't pick up the eggs and put them in your warehouse quickly enough, they'll decay and vanish. Money can be recouped by transferring products from the warehouse to your car and shipping them off to market.”
“The farm equipment brings in the more complicated objectives of the game, by introducing secondary and tertiary commodities. For example, a powdery mill to will turn eggs into egg powder. Then, purchasing a bakery allows you to transform packs of egg powder into buns. The higher the commodity level, the higher the market price you can sell them for.”
However, things have been made a little more complicated. In the original game, you would collect resources dropped by your animals, then process them through a series of structures, using your warehouse as a buffer to hold your stock. In Farm Frenzy 2 however, there are some higher level commodities that are produced by combining two resources. For example, while eggs still make egg powder, which can then be made into cake mix, flour is required to make cakes, a tertiary commodity.
Three stages of structures to make cakes!
Since none of your animals can produce flour, you have buy it in. This is done by using the new vehicle in Farm Frenzy 2. Not only do you have a car with which to send your items for sale, but you also have a plane, which you send away with a 'buy' order. When it returns, the goods you ordered are dropped by parachute, requiring you, or your cat if you can afford one, to pick them all up. At which point, you have to check that your warehouse has room for everything. Anything that's left in the field for too long disappears!
Placing a shopping order with your local pilot
The challenges for each level are to attain a certain target amount of commodities, profit, or both; all done against the clock. It's the time limit that makes the game surprisingly difficult.
For example, you sometimes have to make a certain amount of money within a short space of time. In which case, the decision is whether to stick with selling cheap items that are quick to produce, or to spend more on upgrading your buildings in the hope of getting rich quick with items that sell at a higher price.
A typical set of targets for a level in Farm Frenzy 2
Also updated are the local predators - yes, the bears are out to play again. For those new to Farm Frenzy, big bears would entertain themselves by throwing your animals out of the farm yard, rather than eating them. That sanitised form of predation hints at how Farm Frenzy is perhaps something you might want to pass to the kids to keep them occupied for a while.
By repeatedly tapping the bears, you'll capture them in a cage; caged bears can then be sold at the market. The difference in Farm Frenzy 2 is that there are now two types of bear. Yes, in perhaps the most unlikely case of 'nature attacks', Panda Bears are the most common visitors to wreak havoc on your livestock. The brown bears from the original game still make an appearance though, and sell for a higher price. However, if caged bears are not sent to the warehouse in a timely manner, not only do they break out of their cage, but they will now run off with any nearby animals! You might want some Valium at hand to prepare yourself for the sight of a Panda Bear running away with one of your pigs over its shoulder!
Buying guard dogs is one way to ward off bear attacks
Farm Frenzy also has two new animals, first of which are pigs, with an associated building called the “meat cutter”. Given that Farm Frenzy 2 is a rather family friendly game, I was rather concerned about just what the fate of the poor pigs was supposed to be. The answer is that pigs drop items just like every other animal; a joint of meat in this particular case. This came as a relief, from an anthropomorphic point of view. However, this is one step that does rather take Farm Frenzy 2 from the sublime to the ridiculous! Still, it's all good fun.
Your pig (left) and the new 'meat cutter' building (right)!
I'm afraid that I can't tell you what the last animal is, because it wasn't possible to play that far into the game with the time I had available. As a reader, you'd be forgiven for being disappointed with my admission. However, I think this speaks to the longevity of Farm Frenzy 2, and just how much game you're getting for your £3.00.
The level map of Farm Frenzy 2, indicating the game's longevity
The map view of Farm Frenzy 2 allows for non-linear progression, and as you can see from the screen shots, there's plenty of game for you to work through. On top of that, there's an awards system, which provides another mini-game, for those players who just have to collect every badge and trophy there is. Another mini-game within Farm Frenzy is building up credits which you need to unlock upgrades to (and new types of) buildings.
Upgrading structures in Farm Frenzy 2
During my time with Farm Frenzy 2, I found the game so hard to put down that I was playing the game when I should been writing the review! Trying to work out how achieve the targets of each level is that addictive. What's more, the gameplay style of having to constantly gather and allocate resources is completely absorbing.
The awards screen, plenty of trophies to try for!
All in all, Farm Frenzy 2 has it all. It's addictive, absorbing, highly amusing, and it will take a good long while to complete. If I had to pick one thing to criticise the Farm Frenzy games on, it would be that there's no way to extend the game play. Once you've completed the game, that's it. Unless, you want to go back and try different strategies, or earn every last award.
David Gilson for All About Symbian, 28th April 2011
Reviewed by David Gilson at