Farm Away! Review: Ridiculous Farming


As I type this, I haven’t checked my crops in Farm Away! since I went to bed last night. Without even looking, I know there are going to be hundreds of trillions of coins waiting for me to collect. If only it were that easy for farmers in real life!

That’s simply the way it goes in the first release from Futureplay Games, which takes mobile gamers’ seemingly never-ending love of farming, adds the requisite cute graphics and makes the gameplay intentionally simple. Farm Away! is intended to be lightweight, something you play here and there when you have a spare moment. It also features very large numbers and a monetization system Futureplay is calling “view-to-play.”

Before we dive into that, let’s talk about what you’ll be doing on your farm. You start with nothing, just nine plots you can gradually unlock to plant crops (carrots, strawberries, corn, etc.) or raise animals (including cows and pigs). There’s no watering or tending to the plot, you simply tap on them when they produce profits to collect your coins. You can then reinvest your coins by planting more of a particular crop, increasing its profit potential and speeding up the time to harvest at regular intervals, or sink them into automation or profit multipliers.

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The ludicrous numbers come in because some of the plots cost billions, trillions, quadrillions or whatever comes after that to unlock. it sounds ridiculous, but trust me, it’s possible quicker than you think. That’s because every 24 hours, a farmer comes to collect your products and take them to market. He returns with seeds to help you start the whole thing over again, and because each seed gives you a percentage boost to your profit, by the third or fourth harvest season, you can get into the billions within minutes.

That’s really all there is to it, with the exception of that monetization system I mentioned before. Farm Away! does offer in-app purchases of premium currency (gems in this case, which you also receive each time you level up), but the focus is on ads first — hence, view-to-play. There’s a Daily Double ad which multiplies your earnings you’ve acquired while you are away, a rainstorm that doubles all profits for four hours, and a friendly sun that gives a bonus for anything you can collect in 20 seconds. All are activated by watching an ad video first, and doing so is completely up to you.

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All of this is wrapped in a very pleasant package. The art reminds one of a more stylized, more compact take on FarmVille, and the music and ambient sounds are suitably farm-related. There are some interactive elements on the farm as well — my kids loved tapping on the outhouse — but it’s otherwise a pretty static affair. At least at launch, you can’t unlock new farms, backgrounds or anything else. The gameplay also happens to be the object in and of itself.

For an obviously casual game like this, it works, and darned if the core gameplay loop doesn’t become compulsive after one or two harvest seasons. There’s something to be said for any game that knows the niche it wants to seek out and goes after it with all of its soul, and Farm Away! definitely does that. You may have to explain to the younger gamers in your household what a 15-digit number is called, but that’s not such a bad thing.

Pull the Trigger on Farm Away! if …

  • You need a new game to mindlessly pass a few minutes on a commute or standing in line.
  • Mobile gaming companies somehow haven’t fulfilled your needs yet in terms of virtual farming.
  • You think farmers are way underpaid for feeding the rest of us ungrateful humans.

Don’t Pull the Trigger if …

  • You have an irrational fear of very large numbers.
  • You subscribe to the “variety is the spice of life” adage with all your soul.
  • You’re all farmed out, don’t know what to do …