Farming Simulator 16 on mobile is a surprisingly full simulator that allows you to experience all the fun of harvesting your fields and managing your farm's finances. And there is far less sarcasm in that last statement than you might imagine.
Reap just what you sow
Let get one thing out of the way, I've not played previous Farming Simulators. I can’t comment on how thing have changed since Farming Simulator 15, or how it differs from the PC version. What I can talk about is how surprised I am by the quality and depth Farming Simulator 16.
When I describe the game, I struggle to believe how good it is. You have to drive slow moving farm machinery to plow, sow, or harvest a field. After that, you drive, slowly, across the open-world to sell it. Then it’s time to check market prices to select a profitable crop so you can repeat the whole process. And all of this is in order to afford better equipment and more fields to further increase your income.
But while this all sounds like hard work, it’s actually a lot of fun. This is in part down to Farming Simulator 16’s controls. You drive your tractor with either a slider or the gyroscope, both of which responded perfectly to my inputs – though, admittedly, a large part of this is due to the game’s deliberate pace.
Despite the volume of options and information, the game is light on tutorials. This prevents you getting bogged down by lengthy instructions, getting you straight into the meat of the game. As you complete specific task, the game may prod you in the right direction, but for the most part it’s up to you to work things out (though there is a 23 page instruction manual just two taps away if you need it).
I've got a brand new combine harvester
The manual isn’t the only easily accessible option, all of the games various controls are just a convenient tap away. These range from the simple pleasures (like honking your horn), right through to hiring farmhands, cycling through crops, and checking market prices.
Given the goal of the game is to maximize your profits often this last options is the most important. More money allows you to expand your farm and purchase new tools from the 50 licensed machines on offer. From Bailers to Windrowers, each is recreated in brilliant detail. By increasing your production and efficiency, you can earn even more cash to speed up you agricultural empires development – creating a satisfying feedback loop. If you are really impatient you can chose to speed this up through in-app purchases, though this seemed completely unnecessary to me.
Another way to speed things up is to invite a friend to play. With Bluetooth and Wi-Fi turned on you can quickly call another local player into your game. They can then help you with jobs around the farm – or not, as my friend and I started playing combine harvester hide-and-seek around the town.
What I really enjoyed about the experience was the game's balance of resource micro-management and slow paced hands-on farming. Stuffed with options and features, it is surprisingly easy to pick up, and even easier to get sucked in.
You don't need to be a farming fanatic
It came as a huge surprise to me when I found myself enjoying Farming Simulator 16. While action fans may bemoan the lack of physics preventing you crashing into cars in the open-world, or the slow pace of play, the depth of management and sim elements more than compensate. No, it isn’t for everyone, but the tranquil, paced, and multi-faceted experience the game offers make it worth a close look.