I have been a fan of the Farm Frenzy games ever since the first game entered the App Store more than two years ago. It has been a slippery slope downwards with the series though, and the sequel wasn’t as good as the original. Now the third game continues the slippery slide, and I really hope it is the finale of the series.
The gameplay is still the same, as in the first two games. Time management without queued actions, but rather a focus on making sound economic choices. What animal should I buy next? Should I upgrade a facility, or build something else? How do I maximize profit each trip to the town? Do not expect time management in the vein of Sally´s Spa, Diner Dash, Supermarket Mania or Stand O´Food. This is perhaps what gives Farm Frenzy an edge, as it has an own take on the genre. You have a small field where animals graze, and you make sure to keep them fed. Carnivores emerge from the heavens, and this time it is lions that eat your livestock. Tapping them quickly locks them up in a cage, and you can then sell them. Tapping produce sends them to your warehouse. Tapping is the only thing you do, but it is the order in which you tap that determines your success.
I am sick of playing the same tutorial, and the same slow initial levels in almost every time management game there is. I know all this already, and so does most other users as well. I want to be able to skip tutorial aspects that explain the basics. There is only one level of difficulty, and that means it takes about an hour before I get even remotely challenged. Sure you get different goals for the levels depending on your time, but it is still not a matter of challenge. Once it gets challenging it gets really hard, and this is a game offering massive gamelife. With 95 levels, loads of stuff to upgrade and different medals to achieve it can last quite a while. The game has both Game Center and OpenFeint integration for online connectivity.
The graphics have been improved quite a bit, and it is really sharp with retina display enhancements on my iPhone 4. I get punished for the crisper visuals by long loading times, and at times sluggish performance. No crashes yet even though the iTunes description warns about it. It seems that Farm Frenzy 3 is the first game that actually demands that iPhone 4 users restart their phones. It will run on an iPhone 3GS, but I can only guess that it is a pain watching the slow loading screens. The game looks good though even though it is limited to a few animals, and facilities. The music is a quite boring mix of country, and time management muzak. Sound effects are not good either, but at least they aren’t fizzy as in Farm Frenzy 2.
One thing that I really don’t like about the presentation, and pacing of the game is the fact that the level progression map is gone. Instead we get an ordinary numbered level select screen. This seriously hurt immersion, and in the earlier games you could select different branches depending on what facility you wanted to develop. Now the game is completely linear.
Farm Frenzy 3 offers loads of content, but sadly most of it has been seen before. Actually this is more of a graphical update than anything else. The excellent map layout of the game is gone, and everything has become streamlined. To me this is a step down for the series, and I really hope it ends here. If you want a game that will last you a long time then it might be an option. Avoid it completely if you are on anything slower than an iPhone 4.
Farm Frenzy 3 $2.99
Seller: Alawar Entertainment, Inc.