Funky Barn preview
I’ll be honest, I never thought that I would personally be enamoured by Funky Barn. Yet an hour in, and it’s proved a struggle to detach myself from the game’s seemingly never ending addictive lure.
Placed in control of your own farm, Funky Barn serves up a sandbox simulation experience that tasks you with attending to the continual needs of your livestock and crops. Ensuring that your animals are content rewards you with produce, be it eggs from chickens or wool from sheep, which can then be sold to increase your increasingly important bank balance.
As can be expected, food and water prove their basic requirements, with the player needing to keep a watchful eye to ensure that troughs are refilled when necessary. Similarly, animals will appreciate their own barn to take shelter in, and decorations to brighten up their pen.
Individual pens for your animals are especially necessary, as chickens really don’t like being near sheep as we learned. It’s easy to keep them apart though, by placing fences, as well as enabling you to make sure that they don’t go strutting off randomly across the map.
So, shelter, sustenance, and pens. It sounds relatively easy, right? Well, it becomes more complicated as you progress.
Not addressing any of these basic needs will see your critters become unhappy, providing you with less produce as a result and perhaps seeing them leave your farm altogether in a huff if they’re feeling ignored. It may be that you are unable to address the problem due to lack of funds, especially early on, but fret not. You are able to select the problematic animal and give them some loving attention through the Wii U GamePad’s touch screen to make them feel valued, stroking them to prove affection.
Tantalus Media have also been sure to sprinkle humour into the mix through the random appearance of magical mushrooms, which, if munched by any of your animals, sees them either tripping out or suffer from another side effect. You can either crush these once you spot them, or leave them to see what happens.
Your overriding goal is to create a fully automated farm, gadgetry such as egg collectors wandering around pens and selling them to cause you one less worry. Similar methods can be purchased for wool and milk, yet they are costly and will take time for you to implement. Sporadic requests from other farmers can provide additional income, asking you to sell three eggs within a specified time limit for instance.
Expansion comes at the risk of over stretching yourself in how much of your farm you can keep an eye on. Once you’ve gotten your farm underway, you will steadily find everything put in harms way. Wolves will target your chickens, UFOs will attempt to beam up your cows, and Tornadoes run rampant across your farm threatening to suck up your animals. Each can be countered in their own individual way, with guard dogs able to keep wolves at bay, for example.
In terms of the Wii U GamePad’s implementation, it mainly finds itself used as an overview tool. The player able to select individual elements of their farm to directly interact with them, through use of radial wheels. It’s simple and intuitive, easing the player experience.
It also provides access to the Farmer’s Market to purchase items and machinery, and to monitor your current objectives – fulfilling which allows more to become available to you.
Funky Barn provides an entertaining and accessible farm simulation experience that may very well prove a surprise amidst the Wii U launch line-up.