From the creator of Youda Camper comes another overtly-titled casual game: Youda Farmer. In this resource management sim you play the role of a farmer growing and gathering crops and other food products to sell in town for profit. Using the money you earn, buy new facilities and upgrade existing ones, stimulating the town itself to open new shops and expand current ones.
The world of Youda Farmer is divided into two major zones: your farm and the town. Each round of play reflects this division and takes part in two stages. When working in the farm you'll focus on growing/harvesting food products in the most efficient manner possible. Everything happens automatically, all you have to do is click on the icon. So, for example, if a flour order appears at the bottom of the screen, click it to start growing, and once the bag is produced just drag it into a crate. The truck soon comes by and automatically loads everything up before moving on to the next item. The challenge comes from deciding the order in which to harvest things, as each click sends your truck to a different part of the farm. Do you ignore the flour in favor of loading just one more crate of eggs, or should the most urgent order get some attention?
After the farm round ends, your truck putters into town, ready to deliver goods to the various businesses. Here, things work in a similar manner as harvesting crops. The baker might order some eggs, in which case you simply click his icon followed by the specific orders floating above his character. The truck comes along, unloads the food, and you get paid. Easy!
When both rounds of play are complete you get a chance to spend the cash you earned on a number of new buildings and upgrades. Each one adds another layer of product to your inventory, as well as another route for your truck to drive. Make note of where the new building appears on your map, as a key to shaving a few seconds off of each harvesting run is to hit each stop without having to backtrack!
Analysis: I was initially overwhelmed by Youda Farmer's seemingly complex setup and interface. With all these buildings, all this driving, and so many orders popping up out of nowhere, how was I supposed to make sense of it all? A very brief tutorial gives you a feel for the basics, and after that you set out and start farming on your own. Before long I felt comfortable with the game, so while the learning curve is slightly steeper than most games of this kind, it certainly isn't an obstacle.
After getting to know the game, you'll get sucked in by its unique take on a tired genre. It even surpasses innovative games like Airport Mania and Now Boarding in a few areas. Instead of directly doing any farming, you're more of the schedule manager or truck driver, though even by that definition the game fudges the rules quite a bit. And besides, Youda Truck Driver doesn't have that catchy ring to it.
My only real complaint with Youda Farmer is the intense difficulty that appears much too early in the game. I had already lost a round after 20 minutes of play, something that is practically unheard of in casual games. Saying things get "hectic" would be a gross understatement, but with a little practice you can get things back under control.
A resource management game of a different sort, Youda Farmer isn't afraid to break the mold in a few key places to deliver something challenging and unique.