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Fruit Farm Tycoon Review: A Harvest Moon Clone With a Story

Harvest Moon fans have been suffering from a lack of solid releases for some time.  It seems like the series has suffered from constant rehashes of the same formula without really doing anything to improve or innovate in this niche genre.  The last decent portable farm sim was Innocent Life which was not well received because of its relatively significant departure from the core concept.

Despite this lack of even decent games in the farm sim genre for some time, Fruit Farm Tycoon makes a solid attempt at filling this gap.  While the game won’t wow you with anything new, if you’re a die-hard farm sim game fan it feels distinct enough to be its own game.

You play as Leo, a young boy who has no interest in following his father’s footsteps. After discovering the heavenly agriculture fairy Fruits and the Lime Orange Tree, they task you with cultivating a Heavenly Fruit in exchange for your dad’s soul.  Your dad has to remain hospitalized through the course of the game while you learn to grow a heavenly fruit on your own.  You only have 3 years to accomplish your task and you have to maintain a minimal harvest to keep up on your dad’s hospital bills.  All the while you are given a variety of side activities ranging from fishing, raising pets, stealing, and having relationships with the women of the village.

Likes:

Solid attempt at a story:  Right off the bat it’s obvious the storywriter’s native language is not English.  However, the story is still conveyed well enough despite the occasional language glitch.  Having a proofreader who’s native tongue is English or at least fluent in the language would have made the story much smoother to interpret.

Sound:  The music in the game is very light and fluffy.  One thing I can’t stand is when music doesn’t fit the atmosphere.  Fortunately the music is well organized and fits the light-hearted nature of the game to a Tee.  Always in the background, you may find yourself humming along with some of the tunes.  Very enjoyable.

Visuals:  The in-game graphics are crisp, clean, and very vibrant.  The art style takes its cue from Harvest Moon, which is not necessarily a bad thing.  Although this doesn’t help the game define itself as unique, its still a charming art style that can easily be appreciated for what it is.

Dislikes:

Screen Clutter:  The control scheme/button layout works adequately, however it takes up a ton of screen real estate and feels just a little disorganized.  There is an option to hide the skillbar on the side of the screen; I’m surprised there was not an option to hide more buttons that are not necessary to have at all times.  I really don’t need to have access to hoorts at all times.  At the very least this could have been a sub-menu somewhere else.

Long Tutorial:  The tutorial seems to drag on forever and unless you’re truly a die-hard farm sim fan you’re probably going to get fed up with the tutorial before it’s over.

In the end, Fruit Farm Tycoon is a solid farm sim that makes a decent attempt at providing a story.  However, because of the tedious nature of the game I can’t recommend it to anyone who isn’t a die-hard fan of the genre.

Fruit Farm Tycoon was developed by Njoy Entertainment Group, and I played through version 1.1 of the game on my iPod Touch 3G (OS 3.1.2).  The current price point of the game is $2.99.


Mevo & The Grooveriders Free for One Day

Although we have not reviewed this title yet, I can’t help but recommend this game.  Even at $0.99, it was a great little game, and at the price of free, there’s no reason you shouldn’t get it.  If you don’t have memory, delete some games and download this one.  Rhythm platformer or not, the game is a charm to play with some great gameplay mechanics and solid design.

Some notable features include local and online highscores, many levels, and numerous avatars.  The developers have also promised to add more levels every month, which is quite an accomplishment if they happen to pull it off.  Well now that my little blurb is finished, why not download Mevo & The Grooveriders now?

* Please note the game is free for only 24 hours.

Pac-Man Remix Review: Welcome to the 21st Century

Namco Networks has just recently created a branch specifically for making iPhone games.  This seems to be one of their first releases, and I must say it is pretty impressive.  A lot of their other remixes like Galaga weren’t as great as I thought they would be with either bad controls or ugly user interface.  Although Pac-Man Remix still needs some work in its interface, the controls work pretty well, and I found myself enjoying the game more and more as I fought through each level.

Likes

Remixed: When it says Pac-Man Remix, they really mean ‘remix’.  Namco did a great job with adding a lot of new stuff that wasn’t in the original Pac-Man, and I personally enjoyed the new look and powerups.  The game is a lot more complicated than it used to be, and your strategy has to be a little bit more than running away.

Powerups and Items: Pac-Man Remix features tons and tons of little powerups and items to help you along the way.  For example, there is a little speed arrow that stuns a ghost when you hit them and doors to block the ghost’s path.  Other powerups include teleporting and of course, the big yellow ball that makes it so that you can eat the little ghouls.

Sounds: One thing I really liked about Pac-Man Remix was the sounds.  The sounds were accurate and clear, and they just sounded really nice with the game.  The background music isn’t annoying, and the Pac-Man noise doesn’t bother me at all.  The sound produced when pressing a menu button is nice and clear, and response was great.  I’m not sure if Namco focused on the sounds, but they did a really nice job with them.

Controls: I really, really, really like the controls in this game.  Most of Namco’s games failed in controls, and the original Pac-Man in the App Store was hard to control even though it did have 2 or 3 control methods.  Although Pac-Man Remix uses only 2 control types, the onscreen d-pad and swiping the finger both worked really well.  The d-pad is big enough for ham hands to play, and the overall touch area of the d-pad is greatly improved.

Dislikes

User Interface: Namco still needs to work on the interface.  When first opening the game, you’re introduced to a moving Pac-Man background along with some ugly, orange buttons.  The font used in this game is also a little pixelated, which is somewhat awkward in a “remixed” game.  This has been a problem in almost all of Namco’s iPhone games, and sadly, Pac-Man Remix follows that path.

Expensive: For $5.99, I can get 6 other iPhone games instead of paying for one.  Also, most of Namco’s remixes feature the original and classic versions of the game.  It would have been nice if the game was around $2.99-$4.99, but Namco is known for charging pretty high for their games.

Pac-Man Remix is a wonderful improvement from the classic Pac-Man with some great twists and turns.  Although it is a little expensive for the average iPhone user, the game delivers some solid gameplay.  If you already have the Pac-Man classic though, it’s a little hard to recommend this game also.  Usually, Namco’s remixes consist of the remix and classic versions, and paying $5.99 for only the remix version is a little too much.  If you don’t have Pac-Man classic though, this is a great game to satisfy your Pac-Man needs.  This game along with Space Invaders Infinity Gene are retro classics done right, but again, I can’t really recommend this game to users who already have the original version.

buy

Pac-Man Remix was developed by Namco Networks America, Inc., and I played through version 1.0 on my 1st generation iPhone.  The price is $5.99.

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