Peacefully sat inside a tractor, it’s hard not to come to appreciate the somewhat slower pace of life in Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition. After banishing Calamity Ganon to save Hyrule once more in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, rescuing Princess Peach from Bowser’s wedding plans in Super Mario Odyssey, or simply inking turf in Splatoon 2, meticulously spreading manure across fields to fertilise them can soon prove to be an unexpectedly serene experience.
For those that may be perpetually worried that they won’t know where to start, developer Giants Software presents the player with the chance to partake in optional tutorials that will teach them the basics. Whether that’s learning how to effectively work your farmland, how to fertilise your fields to get the maximum yield, how to make and transport bales, how to purchase pigs and feed them properly, how to optimise your cows’ milk production, or how to (safely) cut a tree with a chainsaw to then sell the logs, these are an early indication as to how you will spend your time in Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition.
With wood shavings flying everywhere, ravenous pigs that demand that you keep them well-fed with a balanced diet, and the chance to buy even more animals at the local Emmerson’s Livestock Market to care for, it’s certainly a busy workload that awaits. Sadly, the daily grind isn’t always entertaining nor engaging, and, as I’m sure those that have carved out a career as a farmer can attest to, it’s hard not to feel like the tasks that you are left to handle regularly find the experience teetering on monotony.
It’s a simulation game though, and that’s arguably to be expected. The chance to drive more than 250 farming vehicles and equipment from over 75 manufacturers, including brands such as Challenger, Fendt, Massey Ferguson and Valtra has been plastered all over the game’s promotion, and that authenticity can be seen as a strength. But, it’s hard to see how Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition will find appeal with those outside of the farming aficionados that have long been the reliable fanbase that it readily attracts.
The carefully considered realism to the whole experience is commendable, but I’m sure that many will soon tire at how they have to clumsily attach weights and trailers to their tractor in order to perform any task – whether that be feeding your livestock, sowing seeds, or transporting goods to be sold. We can give thanks, then, that you can rely on being able to delegate tasks to computer-controlled workers – easing the arduous burden of it all. I can admit to not having as much experience with the series as most, but I was surprised at how intricately complex even the most basic chores were.
It falls to four radio stations to lighten the mood in Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition, with players free to tune in to Country Radio FM, Electro Radio FM, Pop Radio FM, or Rock Radio FM. While there were no songs that were immediately recognisable, these prove an enjoyable distraction away from the hum of the tractor’s engines. But, you can also choose to simply listen to the wildlife that surrounds you, if you prefer.
There are no complaints to be found with the game’s performance on Nintendo Switch at least, and a clear attraction can be seen in the chance to tend to your farm in short stints in Handheld mode. The only real caveat from the porting process from PC to console – which Nintendo Switch is not alone with – is that performing the many different actions requires numerous button combinations, which is something that I’m not sure how else the developer could have gotten around.
There can be no question that those who are willing to dedicate their time to Farming Simulator: Nintendo Switch Edition will find it an endlessly rewarding farming and management sim, reaping their own success to soon see their outdoor business flourish. Whereas those that aren’t prepared to stick it out long enough to truly grasp the game’s many intricacies may struggle to ever see their farmland thrive.