First look at ngmoco's We Farm


First look at ngmoco's We Farm
| We Farm (ngmoco)

With We Rule having sowed up the agricultural side of farming, We Farm has the livestock half squared away.

This nuanced riff on the freemium farming formula deserves more attention than its predecessor, if not for the subtle changes to its gameplay than at least for its cutesy animals.

It's far from an overhaul, but there appear to be enough alterations to make We Farm an attractive alternative to We Rule.

Prize-winning specimen

Livestock is the central focus, although crops do make an appearance. Both are a part of your farming business laid out on an isometric plot that grows with each pen, field, and building constructed. Raising animals, growing crops, and building structures nets you experience and money that raises your level, which in turn grants access to new animals, plants, and buildings.

The specialised care required by the animals gives We Farm an appeal all its own. Livestock has to be nurtured and kept happy if it's to be of prize-winning calibre. Whenever a heart appears above an animal, a tap with a finger sends it some love and increases its happiness. When sufficiently raised, you can send an animal off to the fair.

If you've managed to raise a particularly stellar example of the species, you're awarded a blue ribbon and the animal's pen turns into a related business. For example, a blue ribbon sheep pen will transform into a miniature wool factory from which other farmers can place orders for wool fabric.

Animal farm

Typical farm animals such as sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and horses make compulsory appearances. Yet, it's the gorillas and other exotic fauna that should yield interesting products. Exactly what kind of goods can be derived from a gorilla? Mother's milk, perhaps? Maybe gorilla hair blankets?

Ducks also can be raised, though I imagine foie gras harvesting is off the table.

Should impatience set in and you're just unable to wait for your farm animals to mature, you can use gro to make them grow. This in-game currency increases an animal's happiness, in the same way that mojo speeds up the production of crops in We Rule. As with mojo, though, you're given a limited supply that can be topped off by spending real money.

It's assumed that the more exotic animals like gorillas require more time to mature, which in turn encourages the use of gro. Moreover, the more exotic and/or advanced the creature, the more gro required to increase its happiness.

Time and money

By tying animal husbandry to the generation of related goods, We Farm provides an actual incentive to care for each type of animal and so motivates strategic caring of different species.

This has the potential to create more dynamic gameplay than was ever possible with We Rule, which never tied crops to unique outcomes. In the latter, you were never motivated beyond planting the crops that provided the highest experience yield.

The social networking features a somewhat shallow - no in-game messaging, ability to pet your friends' animals, name your animals - but at least We Farm adjusts the We Rule formula in a way that could potentially make this a more playable game.