Fresh from the farm might be great for the table, but when it comes to games raw it's hardly appetising. Fortunately, Farm Frenzy takes a refined approach to the heartland that is unique, engaging, and totally fresh.
Farm Frenzy puts you in control of a burgeoning farm using raw materials to fashion as many different products as you can from the land to take to market so you can pool in enough cash to buy that extra duck, dig that extra well, or buy that bigger cage for those pesky bears.
Yes, bears. Farm Frenzy basically hands you the keys to the ranch, and all the animals in it are your responsibility. This means making sure they're well fed and catching any bears that come along looking to turn your livelihood into a quick and easy snack.
Initially, ducks are the only animal at your disposal. While they happily wander around the dirt of their own volition, they rely on you to source enough water from the well to plant the grass they need to keep them alive. Keep them ticking and they'll be good enough to lay an egg or two, which you then promptly lob into your cart and haul off to market for some well earned capital.
Of course, this is just the foundations of Farm Frenzy. Why stick to plain old eggs when dehydrating it into egg power could fetch you even more money? And wouldn't making a cupcake or two out of that very same powder also bolster your bank account?
Buying the equipment you need to expand your business naturally eats into your earnings. The game constantly asks such questions of you, making you choose between the status quo - which may well be ticking over rather happily - and the constant need to upgrade.
Some of these upgrades are forced. While each level is unlocked whether you complete it in quick time or not, moving onto the next will sometimes require new equipment. This means making as much money as you possibly can from every encounter, whatever the individual requirements for each level might be.
Naturally, Farm Frenzy doesn't halt its focus at ducks. Once you have enough money, you're able to splash out on more cattle, stocking up on a sheep for wool, cows for milk, and so on. Each one comes with its own plethora of upgrades and, similarly, all the equipment comes in set stages. Every fixture and fitting you buy can be made bigger, better or more efficient.
This structure set constantly keeps you on your toes and you'll rarely have a second to spare from beginning to end, but then this is the appeal in time management titles.
While it manages to maintain this frantic and relentless need to keep things ticking over, you can't really fail. Whether it takes you 60 seconds or six minutes to reach your goals, at some point you'll get there. The game constantly keeps you moving forward.
Rather than casting slackers out into the abyss, Farm Frenzy keeps them on board, simply handing out bigger rewards to those with an aptitude for life in the fields. Alawar has provided a simulation that rivals any already on the App Store, taking blundering novices and turning them into fully fledged, and rather fabulous, farming fat cats.