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Back in April, I had a bitchfest about Tiny Farm and raged about its pay-or-wait model. After a few months of expanding the farm, buying more animals and mastering them, I found that it’s definitely one of the more playable freemium titles.
One of the biggest criticisms about anything freemium is that the developer does things that limit your gameplay experience such as restricting inventory size and doing various other things that basically goad you into buying into their IAP feature.
Believe it or not, Tiny Farm is quite the exception to this. The reasons are these:
- There’s nothing that delays or obstructs your enjoyment of the game or tests your patience like Rule the Kingdom, for example, where you have to wait and wait and wait for your hitpoints to replenish before you can continue on with a mission without fear of dying from a single enemy attack. (A wait and play RPG/town-management mix is pretty disgusting, if you think about it.)
- There’s no need to rely on special currency (re: Bells) to expand your farm as the regular currency does the job. In comparison to a game like Tiny Tower where you have to keep pumping in Tower Bux to increase store stock, this is a pretty generous design. Even base animals that can only be purchased with Bells can be obtained through a Ranger and gold. (I’m not sure if the same could be said about the recent Talking Animal additions like the Talking Hampshire, however.)
Of course, there are still many things that require Bells but a Christmas Tree or Bell Tree churns out Bells at a regular pace — albeit a rather slow one. Levelling up and mastering animals can also net you some Bells. You will have to save up immensely to afford anything that costs 50 Bells and beyond though. Well, there ARE those Tapjoy offers too. :3
Anyway, here’s what my farm currently looks like. I have about 3 pages of animals in the barn too but since I’m aiming to make a sheep and alpaca-only farm, I have no need to place them all onto the field. (And it’s not like I can since I can only fit a max of 23 animals right now.) There’s non-woolly animals on the range too because I’ve yet to master them.
Oops. I forgot I wrote a status update at the end of April too. ^o^~ https://koukoupuffs.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/tiny-farm-update/
It’s been a week since I first started playing one of Com2uS’ money-eating, wait & play games. As mentioned in an earlier post, I typically avoid these kinds of games since I know how they work; many things are cheap and have low wait times at the beginning, but as you expand your farm/building/town/street/whatever, wait times grow exponentially and the costs to purchase anything with in-game currency will skyrocket. Of course, making the virtual money necessary to afford such purchases may take several hours to several days unless you use a credit card.
If you think about it, it’s an ingenius business model since it exploits people’s impatience and desires. Sadly, I believe such exploitation is here to stay because players are giving developers the message that they’re fine with giving them money over and over just to maintain a virtual playground. After all, 99 cents for 1000 pieces of gold is doable, right? Everyone with some sort of job or allowance can afford that. But 99 cents x 50 purchases is $49.50! Is the game actually worth that much? Obviously, it is to some people. 😦
Anyway, back to the real reason for this post!
My main purpose for trying out Tiny Farm was to see how far I could get without using my credit card to buy any coins or bells (the two virtual currencies). I didn’t really set any conditions for my experiment but since I’m currently out of a job, I was able to give my farm quite a bit of attention every day.
Usually, during the daytime, I would almost immediately react to every push notification about animals that were ready to grow. This, along with all the planting and harvesting I was doing, allowed me to get to level 13 in a week’s time. Maybe with some better planning & decision making, I could have even gotten to level 14 or 15.
About the crops, I would mostly plant cotton or wheat which grow in either 30 minutes or an hour respectively. Cotton gives 200 coins per hour while wheat gets you a return of 135 coins. (For cotton, you’re spending 1200 coins per hour to get 1400 coins. With wheat, it’s 45 coins for 180 coins in an hour.)
At night, before heading off to bed, I’d plant some crops that would take either 10 – 12 hours to grow. :3
Along with constant field work, I’d also make my rounds on the world map to visit all the folks that I’ve added as “friends” to get some hearts, gold, and experience as well as spreading some love around. So far, I got 20 farms surrounding me. One thing I noticed is that I seem to be restricted to how many farms I can get visiting rewards from. I suppose Com2uS doesn’t want players exploiting this method to stock up on hearts and money. They want YOUR money after all.
So here’s what the farm looks like. (The image sizes are actually reduced here. Click on them to see their full size!):
In terms of mastery, I only have the sheep, brown sheep, chicken, and brown chicken maxed out. The black sheep and black chicken are at 3rd and 2nd Mastery level respectively. I have completed the collection of those animal types though. ^o^
I currently have a ranger out looking for an alpaca but he won’t be back until Wednesday since …
I’ve completed all the farm and animal objectives up to the “Breed 2 pigs” and “Buy 1 firewood”. I don’t particularly care for these silly “missions” since the rewards are hardly worth it.
- There are level restrictions for anything that will generate money, hearts, or experience. For example, if you want to increase your fields, you have to wait until level X to buy another patch. However, you can use bells to instantly buy one. Of course, bells are “special currency” which can only be obtained in-game through special conditions, offers from Tapjoy, or via a credit card purchase.
- The Tapjoy offers are mostly laughable since a good number of them only give you 1 or 2 bells in return. 1 or 2 bells are great for instantly growing crops or animals but if you actually want to buy useful stuff like fields or animal certifications, you would need to pretty much take up every single free app offer. Ambitious folks could make use of signing up for subscription-based services like Netflix to get more bells though.
- More than 95% of the purchasable items are simply decorations to make your farm “look more like a farm” and therefore pretty damn useless.
- A good chunk of the purchasable aesthestics can only be bought with bells.
All in all, I think I’ll stick with Tiny Farm until it gets way too damn expensive to buy animal certification — i.e. increase population amount by 1. It costs me 24,250 coins right now which is manageable. I’m pretty sure it’ll increase to at least 50,000 coins for the next one though. Of course, I may even get bored of the game before I manage to obtain enough funds to get the next few animal certifications. :E