The series that made farming less of a "wake up at the crack of dawn, work 'til nightfall" chore and more of a "yay let's farm woo hoo!" form of entertainment is back! Farm Frenzy 3 doesn't mess with the proven formula from the first games, but it does bring a lot of variety into the series by moving you across five locations around the globe. Watch penguins eat fish in the arctic and fend off lions in Africa, all while harvesting eggs and turning them into a succession of better, more profitable products. And, as always, watch out for predators falling from the sky!
Farm Frenzy 3 returns to the more rudimentary gameplay found in the first two games in the series, leaving the complicated recipes from Farm Frenzy: Pizza Party behind. The basic premise remains the same, though, which is good news for everyone. You begin with a small patch of dirt and a few egg-laying birds. Click the ground to plant grass, wait for the birds to eat, then gather the eggs and store them in your warehouse. When the warehouse gets full, click on your truck to load it up and send it to town, selling your goods for cash!
After a few levels, Farm Frenzy 3 introduces what it's most famous for: refinement buildings. Why sell an egg when you can turn it into egg powder and sell it for a higher profit? Why sell egg powder when you can turn it into cookies which go for even more? Refinement buildings are where the fun is at, and using them efficiently is the key to mastering any Farm Frenzy game.
Farm Frenzy isn't just about amassing piles of cash, though. Each level has a few set goals you must meet in order to proceed. Sometimes you'll need to own a number of animals or gather enough of certain products. Buildings can also be upgraded to convert more products at a faster rate, allowing you to meet those quotas with ease. Visit the shop before each level to purchase the buildings and upgrades you'll need for each stage.
Analysis: Farm Frenzy 3 brings a few welcome changes to the ongoing series, the most appreciated of which is getting rid of the recipes from Pizza Party. The return to the original Farm Frenzy setup was a great move, allowing Alawar to pack several new ideas into this iteration, including an incubator building that turns eggs into new animals and a fitting room that dresses predators so they sell for more cash!
The visuals in Farm Frenzy 3 are also a step up from previous games. The cute looping building animations are still as hypnotic as ever, but now even the animals are rendered in 3D, producing a rich palette of visuals. Most games that move from 2D art to 3D renderings lose some of their charm, but Farm Frenzy managed to keep most of that intact. It's the same level of goofiness, only now with pretty shading and shadows.
The 3D rendering brings an unfortunate side effect not present in other Farm Frenzy titles: slowdown. This happens quite often when nefarious animals drop from the sky or you have a dozen birds wandering in the grass. Early in the game, even, every time a lion dropped, the game sputters for a second. It was actually quite helpful and allowed me to cage the beats before they ruined my day, but slowdown shouldn't be a problem in a still-screen casual game of this nature.
Farm Frenzy 3 proves you can add variety to a game without increasing complexity. It's also a great example of returning to a series' roots without producing a carbon copy of the original game. Expect more variety from Farm Frenzy 3, all without losing that kernel of simplicity that makes the series unstoppably addictive.