Upcoming Games

‘Astro Ranch’ Hands-On Preview with Video

Tag Games is on a roll lately between the recently released B-Boy Beats [App Store] and the upcoming Astro Ranch which was submitted last week and is expected to be approved and appear on the App Store any time now. Since our last look at the game, I’ve been able to spend a considerable amount of time with the pre-release version and as a fan of both Harvest Moon and Animal Crossing games, I’m digging Astro Ranch.

The basic premise of the game involves the character you choose at the beginning crash landing in to a neighborhood filled with aliens who surprisingly enough are more than willing to get you started with a house to live in, a barn to keep all your stuff in, and a plot of land for you to raise your various crops and livestock. The interface is all touch driven, and works surprisingly well with how many different things in the game are controlled with very similar gestures.

Walking around in game is just a matter of touching where you want to go, and entering a house just involves tapping on the door. When you get down to business and need to interact with the various tools required to farm, managing your inventory is just a matter of tapping a button on the lower right corner of the screen, then from your inventory you can equip anything you can use. Using the equipped item is a matter of touching and dragging a button on the top right corner of the screen and drawing a line with your finger ending on whatever you want to interact with in the game world.

These basic controls can be seen in the following gameplay video, which is just me completing the first parts of the tutorial:

From the time I’ve been able to put in to it so far, Astro Ranch seems to be a surprisingly deep game. I have yet to master the in-game economy which seems to be completely dynamic, and my farming output is fairly pitiful right now, but appears to be progressing nicely. Mini-games and silly quests your alien neighbors send you on serve as excellent distractions for when you tire of farming, and it always feels like there’s something to do.

As mentioned previously, Astro Ranch is expected to appear on the App Store any day now. Tag Games is only waiting on Apple approval, and shortly thereafter the game will be available for download for $2.99.