Farm for your Life was released by Hammer Labs some time in 2013. Available through Steam, it is a hodgepodge of several different games, all with their own unique twist. Summed up by the title of the game, the goals are simple: keep your farm running against hordes of zombies, supply your restaurant with food, keep your farm hands happy and you just may save the world.
After a vicious hurricane and subsequent hordes of zombies, your character is left without their beloved grandfather and a devastated farm. With only a few seeds to start with, players are given few options but to begin farming. Dig, plant, water, fertilize, harvest; it all sounds very simple, right? Well, once night falls the zombies come out and can only be fought off by using your hard earned crops as ammunition. If left to run rampant, they’ll run off with everything you’ve grown.
If the game was just about farming and fighting off zombies with potatoes, Farm for your Life would be incredibly boring. Thanks to a fellow survivor, who is also some kind of brilliant architect, only a potato, ear of corn, and ten chopped wood logs are required to start the restaurant. Trade food for goods, put together recipes from the food you’ve farmed, clean your used dishes and soon your kitchen will be a bustling place. Thankfully, everyone clears out by nightfall so you don’t have to manage a restaurant and fight off zombies. The little buggers will come for the food in your restaurant too, though, so it’s twice the area to protect!
Once you’ve gotten a handle on farming and cooking, new arrivals will show looking for a warm place to stay and a meal every morning. Should you pride it, you can send your new helper to either work in the fields or the restaurant. Either way, they’ll take care of all your work for you – during the day. At night, they’re off to sleep and you’re left to deal with the hordes by yourself once more.
With the help of the architect, you can even the odds some by setting up slingshots, catapults, and corn to do damage to the zombies for you. Since these weapons use up your food supplies, players have to be wary of how often they make use of them. Not paying enough attention could mean a break in your defensive line just because you haven’t grown enough corn.
There’s only one boring part of Farm for your Life and that’s making a trip into the forest for some extra stone and wood. Exhausting these supplies in the main village doesn’t even take a day cycle and after that fence repairs, upgrades, and rocks for slingshots can only be acquired through a dangerous trip to the forest. Filled with zombies you can’t harm, players have to avoid the nefarious undead while simultaneously harvesting supplies.
The forest has more uses than just supply gathering, however. Taking a trip is mandatory to beat story mode and to obtain the golden hammer (able to break bigger rocks!). Truthfully, the forest isn’t all that dangerous. Run into a zombie and they’ll take half of the supplies you’ve gathered, but they won’t actually kill you. This makes the trips more annoying than anything else since a zombie can be hidden just out of sight ready to vanish all the work for the last twenty minutes.
People familiar with facebook games and mobile apps will have no trouble adjusting to the game play in Farm for your Life. Growing crops is similar to Farmville and Harest Moon (since cows and chickens are available later), cooking is starkly similar to diner dash and cake factory, and learning new recipes has elements of Fruit Ninja. However, just because it’s easy if you’ve played any of these games, doesn’t make Farm for your Life any less fun. Hammer Labs combined all these elements in an enjoyable, increasingly difficult environment with cheery music and bright, happy graphics. After I bought the game, I played it for a straight seven hours because time just flies by as you care for your beleaguered home.
I give Farm for your Life three Jan’s screaming cats out of five. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t have much replayability once you’ve mastered it. Considering the game only costs $10 and I played it for nearly 8 hours, this is a very minor complaint. I withhold a fourth star is because of this, however, and because it’s nothing all that original. A lot of fun for a while, cheap, but it would never make my top fifty video game list.