Farm Manager 2022 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Nayu 03.07.2022

Review for Farm Manager 2022 on PlayStation 4

Taking care of crops and animals continues to be a popular simulation and time management genre, either taking a very relaxed approach to farming or diving into the complexities of creating a productive large-scale establishment. Farm Manager 2022 on Playstation 4 from Cleversan Games falls into the latter category, providing the opportunity to not only grow grains and raise goats but to finetune which workers take care of each aspect of farm life, focus on building profit and becoming prosperous.

At first glance on the title screen Farm Manager 2022 looks pretty extensive. There is the main story campaign, a free farming mode with no set goals, a scenarios mode that takes a different focus such as raising fish or focusing on staff well-being and education. Clearly dozens of hours of game time lies ahead, with an enjoyable relaxing soundtrack. The loading screen features a whimsical cow that can be rotated while the game loads. What better way to start the game than by playing through the tutorial, which should clearly explore the game mechanics that lie ahead and give the player confidence to tackle upcoming challenges ahead? Sadly it is that very tutorial that had a Cubed3 seasoned farmer want to turn off the game and never return.

Setting out with a female guide in a box at the top of the screen, a mandatory tutorial aspect that can be hidden in the main campaign, the tutorial is not as informative as it could be. It gives instructions on what to do, and sometimes is specific on which buttons to press, or at least highlights the section that needs selecting. However, a game-wide issue was that a lot of the menus are not intuitive. For example, the machine menu states the name for each machine beside it, but when it comes to buying and selling crops and food, the item image is shown but no label of what it is until it is selected, and then it has to be cancelled and doing that takes quite a few button presses. Pressing the wrong button in the market menu leads to purchasing a lot of unwanted product.

Screenshot for Farm Manager 2022 on PlayStation 4

If the way the menus work had been explained better, this feature might have become second nature, but for a game where knowing what is bought is crucial to be able to keep going, the long-winded approach of item selection is a major turn-off. Item names can be searched individually but that takes time. The main game menu is a relatively easy to understand icon wheel, but not all the icons are explained in the tutorial. This proved problematic in the campaign mode when an early task was to build a road, but knowing where to find the road parts was not initially clear. There is immense detail when it comes to choosing workers to hire, from their main specialities to deciding how much they should be paid and how many hours they should work, which is a hint of how detailed the game is. Yet this detail is not applied to all other areas of the game.

Aside from the unbalanced explanations, the tutorial suffers from illogical progression. Rather than explaining the basic structure of taking care of a farm, it dives into choosing workers, then goes to a simpler method of buying animals, and suddenly a barn is on fire! There was a button to call the fire brigade, which is obviously important to know how to do, but it never explained how to prevent a fire from occurring. For a game where details matter, knowing whether it is faulty wiring or degraded equipment that should have been updated seems an obvious piece of information to know. What was worse were the graphics for the fire: the fire engine sprayed water from side to side, often focusing on the nearby area which wasn't on fire and ignoring half the building, plus the creatures within were happily wandering around while being alight. It seemed an ill-conceived scenario in all aspects.

Screenshot for Farm Manager 2022 on PlayStation 4

One frustrating part of the tutorial, which then thankfully did not seem to extend into the main campaign mode, was that it was impossible to do another task while a building was constructed or an animal delivery was waited upon. This would not matter if the process was fast and over in a few seconds, but in some cases it took over thirty seconds for the action to be fulfilled and that wait added to the ever increasing sense of total boredom. All farming games are about carrying out various tasks, but when waiting for the tasks is extended, it makes the fun part of the game tedious.

The first time witnessing a building getting constructed was interesting with the various animations, but afterwards when all that can be done is watch the scaffolding go up and the workers do their thing, it quickly got boring. It was interesting to see workers on other parts of the farm take machines out for use, but the inability to move onto the next task felt unrealistic and dragged out the gameplay. There almost seemed to be a glitch when making silage, as the time it took to grow was slower than a snail moving. Random information would be received by saying the worker was tired, but then it did not explain how to rectify the matter. Creating an on-site vet sounded like a luxury that should have been introduced later in the game, taking away from the realism of what felt like should be an accurate representation of real-life farming.

One unexpected issue was being told animals were starving. Food was initially selected for the animals, and purchased at market, but out of the blue a warning symbol would come on and show the animals were starving, which in turn slowed production at the dairy manufacturing site. It felt odd not to just have the feed automatically topped up until the settings were manually changed to provide a different type of food.

Screenshot for Farm Manager 2022 on PlayStation 4

After making it through the tutorial, which could put off a lot of players through its stilted nature, the main campaign was started. The change in style was so dramatic it makes no sense why the campaign's initial tasks were not used for the tutorial: most of the tasks were simple point and click actions rather than getting bombarded with micro-management details, which are important but should have been introduced gradually. Buildings and machines needed repairing, which took a single click, not several options in a menu. The primary tasks felt fun and engaging, but due to the tedious introduction enthusiasm for any part of the game was abysmally low.

Returning players from earlier titles in the series will probably skip the tutorial, but newcomers will want to know what the game is like and will be disappointed by the random nature of the so-called help given and how little useful information is explained in order to enjoy playing.

Screenshot for Farm Manager 2022 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 4 out of 10


Take away the frustrating tutorial and newcomers stand a chance of liking Farm Manager 2022, that is if they can get to grips with the, at times, illogical menu system whose navigation is critical to gameplay and can put up with the occasional ridiculously long loads. It is a real shame that it took such little time to turn a beloved simulation into a highly unenjoyable experience, not letting the game's positive aspects of running a farm and managing all aspects shine as bright as they should have.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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