21 June 2013

Hay Day: All Farming, All the Time

There are a few games that I continue to play out of habit. I'm not having much fun with them, but I can't bear to delete them because I've already spent time building the farm or the hotel or the neighborhood. Hay Day is one of those games. It is a rather popular farming sim  (free, iOS only) that has all the usual elements. You can grow crops, raise animals, and make items from their byproducts. That's it. There aren't any special events for the holidays or a change of scenery for the seasons. It is just all farming, all the time.

Hay Day reminds me of the wordless picture books I used to check out for my eldest daughter when she was a toddler. Most farming games have at least a flimsy story to give you a reason for why you are trying to expand your farm. Not only does Hay Day dispense with the plot, but it uses as few words as possible to get its point across. There is a bulletin board with orders for you to fill, and each order just has pictures of the food and a number for how many to grow. That is as close as the game gets to having quests. Because of this, the game quickly became repetitive to me.

Like most casual games these days, there is supposed to be a social aspect to Hay Day but to me it is limited. You can add your Facebook friends who are playing the game and visit their farms, but I couldn't find anything to do other than buy the produce my friend had on sale. There is supposed to be a way to help my friends on their farms, but the one time I found something to click on (a boat) I couldn't figure out what to do because there wasn't an explanation.

I suppose there is a meditative quality to Hay Day that keeps me coming back. The graphics are cutesy yet soothing when I am playing right before bed. The animations for the animals make me smile, as well. So far the pigs are my favorite, especially with their sauna that squeezes the bacon out of them. However, after a month of playing, I think I've gotten all I am going to get out of this game.

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