Farm Tales is the latest social game from Wooga, the German company behind hits like Diamond Dash, Jelly Splash, and Pearl’s Peril. It’s a charming farm sim sit in a caring world without greed or violence. Despite the idyllic setting, a mystery is afoot and there are animals to be saved!
Your story begins in a small patch of forest inhabited by Helen the Hippo and six plots of soil where garlic has been planted. Helen quickly introduces you to the farming side of the game by having you harvest the ripened garlic, sell it at her market for coins, and then plant some more in the now empty patches of dirt. As you repeat this process, you’ll gain enough coins and XP to explore the forest.
The forest around you is dark, but exploring it one area at a time brightens that area and gives you access to the animal villagers and anything else that might be found in that area of the forest. Each area has a level requirement and a coin cost you must pay to explore it. Most areas also require you to cough up some specialty goods like corn syrup or honeycombs.
At any rate, the first area you explore is inhabited by Rose the Skunk. Her caravan generates a few coins for you every eight hours. Rose’s area also has two plots of land to grow crops in and a mill that lets you refine raw goods into specialty goods.
Rose and Helen will keep you busy with objectives that ask you to plant, harvest, and sell vegetables. Completing objectives and growing crops provide XP that contribute toward your level. Each time you level up, you’ll gain access to more decorations as well as seeds like corn and sugarcane. Veggies take only a matter of minutes to grow while trees can take many hours. Regardless, each crop yields XP and two goods (e.g., two garlic or two sugarcanes) when it is harvested. Each raw good has its own value at Helen’s market and can be processed into 1–3 different specialty goods using the machinery you find around the forest.
When it’s time to plant more crops, you can pay for seeds or simply plant raw goods as seeds. I really like that each plant yields two produce; you can get a pretty good flow of coins simply by planting a bunch of crops, selling half of the yield, and replanting the other half.
Anyway, after you complete several missions for Rose, she’ll inform you through a short animated comic that the mayor is missing. The comics are another detail I’m pretty fond of. They’re simple, but it ties all the menial tasks on your mission to-do list into the story nicely. Only the major missions are prefaced with a comic, but it’s fun to watch the story unfold all the same. It’s worth noting that most click-heavy farm sims don’t have much of a story element at all, so that’s one way Farm Tales has a leg up on its competition.
The mill in Rose’s area of the woods lets you refine two sugarcanes into a jar of sugar. This process takes five minutes to complete, but sugar has a higher value on the market and is also used to complete various missions. As you level up and gain access to more plants, there are several other specialty goods that you can produce with the mill. Further exploration of the forest will also provide access to many other machines like the cider press, loom, and stove. They all function the same, but they are used to produce different goods.
Besides using coins to buy more seeds and explore the forest, you can also spend them on decorations and extra plots for farming. The decorations are purely cosmetic, but it’s nice to add your own personal flair to the woods. Like most similar Facebook games, you can visit other players’ forests, so it might be important to you to keep yours looking nice. Once you’ve found some water in the forest, coins are also used to open up the fishing side of Farm Tales. There are three different lures to buy, and each is capable of catching different fish.
Predictably, Farm Tales monetizes through the sale of currency. Both coins and Woobees — the premium currency — can be bought in bundles with your credit card. You get a decent amount of bang for your buck, but I’m not convinced it’s a good way for Wooga to make money on Farm Tales. Earning coins is a major aspect of playing the game, so paying your way through kind of ruins the fun. Woobees, on the other hand, can be spent to skip timers so that crops grow or specialty goods are refined in an instant. Woobees can also be used to permanently add more slots to your machinery (at first, you can only process four specialty goods at a time).
Farm Tales is a very casual gaming experience, fitting in perfectly with other Facebook farming sims. It doesn’t have any major innovations, but it provides a fun experience supported by charming visuals and music. Chatting with villagers like Helen, Rose, Joe the sloth, Nippy the sailor turtle, and the penguin mobsters adds an Animal Crossing vibe; even though the dialogue here is markedly less witty, it’s nice to have some interaction with the characters who you share the woods with. I think Farm Tales is a great fit for players who want a super simple game to put some time into. There are decisions to be made, but they’re always simple and you can’t really be punished for making a “bad” decision. Would you like to plant corn or apples? What color of flowers will you plant in your forest? Bottom line, Farm Tales does exactly what a casual farm sim sets out to do by providing a whimsical place for players to relax for a few minutes of their day.