Whether you’re an MMORPG fan or a simulator fan who enjoys resource hunting or crafting, the thought of being able to build your own empire with the richest crops or healthiest livestock flits across your thoughts at some point. So as soon as I heard about this game I couldn’t help but wonder – does Farming Simulator 20 come anywhere close to fulfilling that farming fantasy? Here is what we discovered plowing into our Nintendo Switch Review.
Before we go any further I must share a disclaimer – I am no farming simulator guru although I can claim that I thoroughly enjoy resource gathering, economy shuffling and any game that has me collecting cosmetics of any sweet kind. I have played all kinds of building or management simulator games but admit that I have only been drawn to log into one farming simulator consistently and that is Farm Together, a charming little cartoon-style sim that has me currently logged in at 300 hours on the dot. Harvest, plant, fish, tend to animals, decorate, produce, upgrade and collect – rinse, repeat.
Simple sim stuff that strips back needing to know anything except how many fields can you plow at once before your gas runs out and need to refill?
There is something jovial and satisfying when you can oversee everything you are orchestrating on your virtual empire but unfortunately, Farm Together is everything that Farming Simulator 20 is not. From the very beginning, it is obvious that the realistic design is the drawcard for this simulator. Having also recently reviewed Construction Simulator 2 I had a fair idea of what I was in for hoping my driving experience in Farming Simulator 20 would be more manageable on a Nintendo Switch.
Indeed it is as you begin the tutorial on a tractor then learn all about helpers changing to your next vehicle so they can take over where you left off. However, even though driving in this simulator is a lot simpler it took me a good few hours and countless distractions to remotely warm to this game – it just lacks any fun. Farming Simulator 20 is an educational tool without a doubt, brilliant at giving players a realistic look at what you would need and how you MIGHT juggle the workload on the farm especially if you have a small army to help you. As entertainment, though I struggled to immerse in my fields, even the animals didn’t tug on my heartstrings in any way which is very unusual. Being able to ride horses in the game was a pleasant surprise but it took many hours for me to get to that highlight so I am unsure this game is being aimed toward new players to GIANTS Software games like myself.
After the initial tutorial I touched on earlier there really aren’t many guidelines on what to do, why you should bother doing some things and where to go. Yes there are hints available but altogether I felt like I was guessing – so guessing on top of trying to remember what to do next or what was being done, then navigating between fields (etc) became real work – real fast. Nobody enjoys it when a simulator feels like a chore for very long, if at all. What added more negativity to this experience is I cannot speed up time and no weather system was evidently affecting any of my choices which just seems odd in a game that is designed to look and play realistically.
It feels impertinent to point out that this review is a new player to the Farming Simulator series point of view and only as a handheld so back to driving or the port to Nintendo Switch all together. Farming Simulator 20 is meant to be an upgrade of Farming Simulator 19 (which I have started playing on Stadia) but I am not sure any of the few updates make sense if the fundamental basics of enjoying a management sim aren’t there. Something that also bothered me (if we think of the brilliant realistic design of the game) is I cannot get out of my vehicle and walk around. There is no customization in this game, no collecting cowboy hats or boots to change into or cool vanity additions to my vehicles. Heck, I don’t even know whose helping me which just feels plain old weird out here on my Farming Simulator 20 virtual farm!
Time is also a really important factor in making a simulator title enjoyable, along with varying tasks that do not exist beyond a hand full. In the end, I just felt like I was checking in on invisible helpers without any desire to coordinate any quality productivity matching how great the game looks. It is a real shame that Farming Simulator 20 wasn’t given extra consideration in the enjoyment segment leaving this gamer feeling a little let down that this isn’t the game that even remotely fulfills my farming fantasy.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Nintendo Switch with a code provided by PR.