Pure Farming 2018 does a decent job of recreating the farming experience. You’re expected to plow, sow, fertilize, etc., as you strive to manage and maintain your farming lifestyle. As the farm grows bigger and bigger, more opportunities arise like orchards, new equipment, and new opportunities with expansions.
The game offers both a free play version and a neat story mode. Free play obviously sounds like you’d think – you’re literally free to farm as you see fit as you attempt to expand and make money at a tough life. The story mode is a little more driven as it provides you with some proper direction. You take over your late grandfather’s farm as you’re the only one of your family willing to do so. This mode also contains the game’s tutorial, allowing you to ease into the farmer’s lifestyle (just don’t expect to find yourself on FarmersOnly.com). Either mode is tough and expect to stay busy as you attempt to make a living in your chosen profession.
At its core, Pure Farming feels like other farming simulator games. The environment is sprawling, fields and machinery dot the landscape, and you’ll be toiling for long hours as you do your best to keep everything going. For those times when you’re knee deep in the dirt of your own fields, you’re also able to assist other farmers nearby with their chores while also earning yourself some cash in the process. The work itself is tedious to the extreme, but it does capture the overall feel and reality of farming. It takes time to plow and sow a field, or harvest your crops and deliver them to the store. As you earn get further into the game, watching things like stocks and crop values will also help you determine what you’re planting next to earn the most benefit. Sometimes timing things will be annoying, but that’s all part of the daily grind.
Earning more money also allows you to upgrade your buildings, buy new equipment/machines, or expand your overall farm. Animal husbandry, orchards, and more are all available. And for those times when you’ve got a few minutes of downtime, there’s also collectibles in the world. Keep your eyes peeled for sapphires in the Montana wilderness; collecting all 200 will yield you a sweet profit.
Pure Farming suffers from a variety of shortcomings, however, that destroy some of the immersion that players tend to expect from simulation games. The game suffers from outdated looking environmental and character visuals. While not a massive deterrent, it’s hard to compare when the Farming Simulator series seems so crystal clear and sharp in comparison. One nice bonus though is the mud and dirt buildup on your farm equipment from use. It also becomes odd to see the game’s barrier walls in the distance. They’re giant, iridescent, obnoxious blue walls that block you from leaving the game’s area at specific points. The first time I caught a glimpse of one, I thought it was a poorly rendered waterfall until I drove closer.
There are other oddities that pop up too, like how your vehicles will slow down immediately if you hit a “bump” or something changes your balance. The bumping especially is frustrating because the environment is not interactive, and the collision zone is massive. I even managed to get myself stuck on a light pole as I attempted to recreate the Austin Powers tunnel scene for over 20 minutes. And please let me run or move a little faster on foot. There’s just one slow speed. The game is also begging for online multiplayer, something that other farming games have had for quite some time.
Truthfully I do like some of the core mechanics of the game. I’ve done small-scale farming in real life and understood the requirements that kind of profession and lifestyle places on you. A lot of things in this game remind me of those days, but there’s a lot that breaks the simulation and realism. The odd vehicle controls, random issues when driving that will instantly slow you down, and the need to continually open that damn tablet really deter me from the game. Otherwise, it does perfectly capture the tedium of the farming life reasonably well even if your character seemingly never has to sleep.Note: Pure Farming 2018 was reviewed on Xbox One. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.