Astro Ranch iPhone/iPod Touch (Review)

Astro Ranch iPhone/iPod Touch (Review)
Review Score:

Astro Ranch, for iPhone/iPod Touch, where to begin, how about mentioning this title was originally intended to be reviewed by my fiancée, Jeanna/jc1013. Why isn’t she reviewing it then? I hogged Astro Ranch; there I said it. Jeanna likes Astro Ranch, I just want to make that clear, that is not why she is not reviewing AR, she didn’t get to play much thanks to me. Believe me, I am one of the last people interested in playing these ‘farming’ games so that makes it even more out of place for me to be writing this review.

Taking on the role of either Max or Sindy, farming twins on the hunt for new land to express their green thumb upon, as you crash land on an alien planet (don’t worry, there are locals to help-this isn’t quite Lost in Space alien). As luck would have it, the escape pod in the space ship can only hold one occupant (whichever you choose to play is the one that stays to ride the wreck out).

You are met by the Mayor of the colony when you first leave your crashed spaceship. The Mayor will guide you through a basic tutorial on getting started with farming and he will also show you around a little. The colony is a commercialized endeavor so be ready to pay for stuff like digging ground for your garden. After digging the ground up, you plant seeds and water them and guard against insects attacking your crops. After a set amount of time, which varies by the crop planted, you can choose your scythe, for —plant name— (each plant requires a different tool tool which the store will gladly sell to you- so pay attention when purchasing seeds and when purchasing color coded pesticides). When you harvest the crops you can send them up to the other colonies thanks to the handy chute that the Mayor showed you earlier and you will receive your payment in chips when you drop them off. There is one shop that sells everything you need to survive and they buy most things you can obtain in AR. The value of the crops is controlled by the market which you can check by entering your home and using the computer which give you access to other tidbits of information. Due to loading, times that accompany entering or leaving your home, I use the computer sparingly and just stockpile crops in the barn and sell when I need money.

Gameplay is squarely in the camp of those Facebook casual games but with actual gameplay and more to do than you ever could squeeze out of those online variations in this genre.

Tag Games went above and beyond the competition in the graphics department with a really smooth 3D engine that showcases the power of the platform. The art style screams classic Warner Brothers or Hannah Barbera cartoons with more graphics bits sprucing up the walls, trees and the general landscape.

The music and sounds are above average, I didn’t immediately rush to turn it down but also I wasn’t rocking out to it either. What is there is good and fitting to the environments.

If farming plants is not your cup of tea you have two other options of making money fairly fa t (shaking trees and bushes for their seeds is not a fast earner at all).

At the store you can purchase pens for various animals, feed to keep them alive and the needed tools to clean up after them. Your animals also come down with sicknesses that need to be taken care of with medicine available from your friendly local store. Animals in space do not resemble animals on Earth. Chickens are called Spickens and somewhat appear to be similar but not much. My experience so far has shown that animal raising is only slightly faster and more profitable than tending the garden.

Fishing is the fastest and most expensive to start of the available methods of making money in Astro Ranch. Expensive because the cheapest, and weakest, fishing pole is 1,500 chips. Going to be awhile before you will be doing any fishing, but it is the most entertaining method of money making. After you purchase your first rod, from the alien up by the waterfall, you will be able to cast your line in three distinct places. The pier, by the shop, is supposed to be the easiest to catch fish from but I prefer either the waterfall area or the jetty south from there but across the river from the pier. Be prepared to be disappointed if you try to manhandle the fish that bite, pay close attention to the line tension indicator.

Keeping with the social idea of these games you can help various colonists with their problems like the lighthouse owner who has lost his cannon balls or the bumbling Professor Emmet whose lab has blown up.

If you are a fan of games like Farmville and the various clones
of it in Facebook and are interested in something similar but with actual gameplay then give Astro Ranch a shot. If you have never played one of these type of games then definitely get Astro Ranch for your iPhone/iPod Touch today.

8 out of 10
Review by Carl ‘triverse’ Williams
Astro Ranch by Tag Games – website
iTunes store listing
64.1 MB
Casual Farming

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  • Kris Gavin

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  • Debby Wetzler

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