Family Farm is an innovative tycoon game in the setting of 19th century farmsteads. It's a simulation of a farmstead experienced in stories which span a generation. Clicking cows won't earn you any cash! You control characters with RPG-like attributes, skills and needs. Keep them fed, develop their skills, upgrade house to accommodate a bigger family and grow their land in to a Family Farm!
This game is a dirty pleasure for me. I originally looked at it as a way to move some loved ones off a certain farm game on a certain 'social' web site. It turns out I like this game a lot. It's basically an RTS minus the combat. (Not that I'm a big fan of RTS either.) Instead of campaigns & scenerios you have stories and seasons. Each year has 2 seasons, the planting season and the harvesting season. You are limited on time in each season and you have a lot to do. There are per-year goals, a story goal and a trophy goal (usually the story goal but with a higher number, make more money get an even bigger house, etc.) for each story.
There are real strategies for when you hire help, what kind of meals you serve, when you use family members (who increase their skills over the years), where you put fields & animal pens and parks (people eat in parks and you loss a lot of time if they have a long walk). You have to decide when to take out credit in the planting season and make sure you at least break even at the end of the harvest.
The game is really great and the feel of the game is nice too. I know a lot of gamers will look at it as a farm game in the 1700s and run screaming (Hi Venn), but it really is good. The demo give a decent idea of what the game is, but it really doesn't get into raising animals or how developing the family's skills can matter. My only problem is that there where a few graphics issues when displaying the portraits of selected people. Not a big problem for playability, but it helps when you have to or three people with the same name.
I only played through the demo but that was enough for me. This game is by no means bad and I rather enjoyed it. However, I have been spoiled by Harvest Moon and have come to expect a lot out of farm sims. This is a nice pickup and play type game but there are too many free or cheaper alternatives that make the $15 dollar price tag a bit hard to swallow. This is simply my opinion of course and I wish the developers all the best.
This is an interesting combination of RPG, Farming Sim and Real Time Strategy. It doesn't feel as confined as most "time management" games and has some interesting features like crop quality and player skill growth. The graphics are also fairly clean and the interface makes sense for the most part.
All of that said, some things could be improved. The free mode has a year limit, there are some odd graphical glitches with character portraits and some aspects of the gameplay would be more interesting if they were dynamic (e.g. trees regrowing, more weather changes). Also, despite the reasonably good interface, some statistics could be conveyed a little more intuitively (such as the quality of soil vs. needs of crops).
In the end this is without a doubt a good game. It feels more like a sim combined with an rts than an rpg (e.g. Harvest Moon) and I hope to see the developers build on this concept in a future release.