I've been chastised in the past for using phrases like "Unless you grew up under a rock, you've probably heard of...", but in this case, if you haven't heard of FarmVille, you've probably never used the internet. Or you're Amish. Possibly both. At any rate, while there's nothing new about the whole land management genre, we can definitely give FarmVille a nod for making it popular on a massive scale -- and not with just gamers, either. Facepalm all you want, but when your mom tells you that she totally built out her English Countyside, you have to admit that games like this have changed the gaming landscape in a major way (although good or bad, we can't quite agree on.)

Tiny Farm [Free]  is the latest offering in this popular genre, and I'm just gonna say it right off the bat so I don't feel like I'm holding back: It looks a billion times better than FarmVille. It trades in the deformed character style that makes you feel like you've stumbled into an avatar generator for a clean cartoon look, and I admit it made me like the game ten times more right off the bat. The cute little sounds the animals make when they get all swoony over you for feeding them in pretty great, too.

As far as gameplay goes, it will be very easy for any person who has played this type of sim before. You start off simply with a small plot of land, a shop to buy things from, and a basic tutorial which will show you how to grow crops and adopt animals. You'll start off with a few sheep, learn to breed them, and soon enough you'll be a regular master, mixing breeds and so on. One mentionable here is the menus, which are just as clean as the gameplay and make it a pleasure to play Tiny Farm. Since these types of games rely so heavily on menu interface, this gives the game a little boost and makes you want to keep on playing.

So how do you make your farm bigger and better than anyone else's? Well, by doing things such as upgrading your house, breeding bigger and better animals like pigs, cows and fancy roosters, and expanding your land. To do these things, you'll need to spend time in the game -- there are some processes you can hurry along with items like Bells, which make animals instantly level up, but other things you'll simply just have to wait out. The good news is, while you wait you can fill your land with all sorts of decor, from trees to statues.  By the time you're done, you can harvest some crops and check on your animals, and you'll be well on your way to expanding your universe.

Part of the allure of these types of games is sharing your country with your friends so you can brag about how vast it is. Since Tiny Farm is Game Center enabled, people can check there to see how fast you are progressing. You can also use a message board to leave messages for other visitors to your farm, or you can also back into the world map and use it to invite friends using the game's built in system. Just like FarmVille, there will be certain quests later down the line you'll need help with, so you're best off making some pals so they can come over and water your lawn or whatever it is people do in this crazy world where people just tend farms and build things for fun. I'm kind of jealous, honestly.

Tiny Farm doesn't do a thing to break the mold here, but what it does do, it executes expertly. This is a fun game to play, and it's absolutely adorable, which means any gamer with a soft spot for cute things is going to fall in love with it instantly. It doesn't cost a penny to play, although you can spend money in-game if you want to hurry up certain processes. The game's website tells us to expect themed events as well, so expect fun stuff to come up around Halloween time. All this for the big fat price of ...free. Call me crazy, but I have a sneaking suspicion it might end up being popular…

TouchArcade Rating

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  • http://www.facebook.com/TestedAHR Tested Ahr

    when i get the new iphone i may well start playing this - the art style of Farmville is what kept me from trying it more than once. this looks really cute, which is often enough to sell me on a mobile game for at least a week or so.

  • nickmorgs

    I know it's been said time and time again but these freemium games really disappoint me.  I've tried most of them.  Enjoyed some of them up to a point but I just can't agree with the pay model.  What's wrong with having a farming game that I pay say 2.99 for and I can level up and unlock as I go along without paying through the nose ?

    I know I must be in the minority because this is the way the app store is going.  Devs wouldn't keep making freemium games if no one was paying.

    • Joker13z

      I actually completely agree with you actually. The only freemium type game I love is Tiny Tower cause there is never an instance where you feel you need to spend real money. If a harvest moon type game came out for the iOS I would gladly pay up to 10 bucks for it. But for some reason no developer wants to tackle a paid farming game like that. Which is weird because i'm sure thousands of people are in my shoes too and would like a harvest moon like experience for the iphone.

      However, with that being said, I do enjoy this game and have been playing since it came out. I like it because it seems like so far you can just play the game by yourself and not have to do stupid quests asking people for stuff. Guess we'll see.

      • nickmorgs

        I've probably spent more time with Tiny Tower than any other freemium game.  I too never felt like I had to pay although, because of that, I wanted to.  Just to support the devs and show that I appreciate the balance of their pay model.

        Hopefully other developers will take note of NimbleBits softly softly approach and follow suit.

    • BigBee

      its a fact that around 72% of appstore revenue comes from fremium games. I think people like the idea of trying a game for free. The sad fact is that lots of people cringe at paying $0.99 for a game up front.

    • BigBee

      its a fact that around 72% of appstore revenue comes from fremium games. I think people like the idea of trying a game for free. The sad fact is that lots of people cringe at paying $0.99 for a game up front.

    • BigBee

      its a fact that around 72% of appstore revenue comes from fremium games. I think people like the idea of trying a game for free. The sad fact is that lots of people cringe at paying $0.99 for a game up front.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5FLRQI2X2LU3IHMCG7HEAEFD5I Cat Astrophy

    "It doesn't cost a penny to play, although you can spend money in-game if you want to hurry up certain processes."

    DUH this is all freemium games and they all have the problem of the "processes" being obnoxiously unfun (very VERY long) once you get to the point where it really feels like you are juggling plenty of things to manage. It's an obvious business tactic to get you to buy the items and unless you have the patience of a stone gargoyle you're going to hate this game if you don't want to spend money. They are ALL the same.

  • http://twitter.com/farmfrenzygames Farm Frenzy Games

    my favorite game on the facebook, it is more better than the farmville

Tiny Farm: Season2 Reviewed by Colette Bennett on . Rating: 4