What is it about managing your own farm that makes it so enticing to gamers? Whether it's the hustle and bustle of the Harvest Moon series or the more laid-back, social experience of Farmville, there is no denying that sometimes, gamers just want to leave their earthly realm to tend to their livestock. Funky Barn was released earlier this year on the 3DS and now makes its way to Nintendo's other dual screen console, the Wii U.
Funky Barn forgoes any real story and plops you down in the middle of some land, and gives you the task of starting up and upkeeping a bustling farm. It's not long until you get access to various animals and facilities to deck out your farm with, and make some sweet cash.
The game manages to maintain a steady cycle of necessities to always keep you doing something different. Various animals such as chicken and sheep are your basic moneymakers. You'll be able to sell eggs and wool to increase your cash supply for new buildings and robots to help increase productivity. In order for your animals to produce, you have to maintain their happiness. Whether it's expanding their land, planting some trees or just giving them a good old-fashioned petting through the Wii U touch screen, you'll have plenty to do ensuring your animals are always in a good mood.
As you progress, you'll have access to various mechanical devices that will make your farming not only easier, but will allow you to focus on other tasks at hand. For example you'll be able to build various collection machines, that will automatically pick up anything produced by an animal that can be sold. These machines however can only operate on roads, meaning you'll have to plan out the layout of your farm to ensure it's operating at the highest productivity.
You'll also take on various 'requests' which act as the game's sidequests. They usually consists of providing a specific number of goods in a certain amount of time. There is also an emphasis on seasons since certain animals and fruit don't produce during a given season. You'll ease into a good rotation of what to focus on during each season to maximize your profits.
All of this comes together quite nicely, however if there is one area where Funky Barn falls flat is the presentation. I can easily forgive the stylized look of the game which lives up to its Funky name. However one look at the drawn characters during any conversation or 'cutscene,' and you'll think they were drawn by a fifth grader. Out of all the Wii U games available, Funky Barn is undoubtedly the worst looking, and for a system that needs to prove its merits by going head to head with other consoles, this game might be the worst benchmark of all. This would all be forgivable if the game went for a much cheaper asking price. At the full launch price, it's hard to recommend unless you're avidly into managing farmland.
Funky Barn happens to be a pretty fun game with some terrible low-budget graphics, that is also asking gamers to shell out $20 more than they should. Once it drops down in price, it will be much easier to recommend.