Pocket Harvest Review

Pocket Harvest Review

Nov 15, 2013

Pocket Harvest’s premise will be familiar to anyone who’s played Harvest Moon. Players are given control of a small, struggling farm, with few staff and next to no resources. Before long though, the farm will be bustling with a huge variety of crops, animals, attractions and even tourists.

Building the farm couldn’t be easier. Fields are placed one by one depending on what kind of crop they grow. Worker houses are placed nearby and if they are close enough the worker will tend the fields, sell the crops and earn cash. Of course there are many things that affect how much money they’ll make, such as the moisture of the field, the worker’s skill at harvesting, how well cultivated the crop is and so on.

Screenshot_2013-11-11-16-25-13As the game goes on, new crops and items are unlocked on a nearly constant basis, always giving the player something new to see or build. Buying new land and expanding the farm often unlocks new items as well, including animals. Animals work much like crop fields and are a bit too static. It would be nice if they acted like real animals.

Just about everything in Pocket Harvest can be upgraded. Crops can be cultivated, this has a chance of improving their stats so they sell for more money and win competitions. Cultivating is easier to achieve with a knowledgeable staff member items can be earned that boost staff stats to make them better workers. This constant drive to improve everything makes the game very addictive. There is not a hint of microtransactions anywhere either; every bit of profit comes from good old fashioned smart gameplay.

Besides the pure farming aspect of the game, the farm can attract tourists for extra cash. After researching buildings like gift shops and photoboards, people will visit your farm by the dozen, earning even more money.

Screenshot_2013-11-11-18-25-34While the way to grow their farm is up to the player, the game rewards smart placement of buildings with a combo that boosts the building’s yields or give other bonuses, such as a Juice Shop with a lot of fruit fields around it or a Campground and a Photoboard.

Graphically, Pocket Harvest is the same as any Kairosoft game. Lots of cute pixelated people, lots of detailed, personality laden buildings. This style still looks good but is getting a bit old.

Unfortunately, Pocket Harvest is severely lacking in the sound department. Besides some forgettable music the only other sound in the game is a few different fanfares for successful cultivation and the like. There are no sound effects whatsoever. So much could have been done with the sound in a game about farming.

Pocket Harvest will likely stay on your device for a long time. The constant stream of new content and sheer fun of the game make it hard to stop playing.

Ninja Village Review

Ninja Village Review

Apr 12, 2013

I’m a sucker for retro games. There is just something charming about going into the past with today’s hardware. I get especially teary-eyed when 8-bit graphics appear.

Kairosoft’s Ninja Village is that type of tearjerker that I’m talking about. Set in ancient Japan, it it is a city simulation set during the period of feudalism. It’s craftily set as a unification adventure that involves ninja clans, so in one swoop, I was getting some awesome backstory angles to work with.

Yes, the game came with retro looks, down the pleasant (for me) shaky movements and blended color. I liked the detail the developer put into creating a fun-looking environment.

The gameplay was a potent mix of civilization simulation and domination principles. Frankly, I really enjoyed the intricate nature of this title. Its game engine was pretty cool, and a lot of thought seemed to have been put into the basic logic. I was responsible for training and upkeep of my ninja warriors. A key component of this was the ability to manage my non-infinite resources. First, I had to do stimulate basic commerce to increase my funds; villagers neededninja2 food, and food also brought valuable cash when sold to merchants. I was able to build industry like farms and also able to build infrastructure for my growing clan.

Eventually, I received info that adjoining lands were available to be raided. I selected the troops I needed for battle, and then we got down.

The battles were nicely animated, with victory and losses clearly denoted. I thought that attaching a visual piece to the battle simulations was a nice touch. Victories invariably swelled our numbers, and more funds had to be expended to develop captured lands and to house new villagers. I had to train and equip my villagers with better weapons, because the other clans started getting so much better.

Acquired land and villages were generally useful assets too. The in-game tutorial notes helped a great deal, and navigation made sense after a while. I though the control mechanism was a bit “heavy” and I could have probably done without the music, but it could be toggled and I still think everything fit well together.

All in all, it was a fascinating trip with plenty of play that can be enjoyed across generations.

Pocket League Story Review

Pocket League Story Review

Nov 7, 2011

Being a longtime FIFA Manager mode enthusiast, I’ve been looking for a similar experience on my phone for a while. While not being a perfect fit, it’s safe to say that Pocket League Story does provide enough content to tide the FIFA fan over until they get home to their consoles.

Pocket League Story puts you, a new manager, at the helm of a newly formed team as they slowly work their way up from unknown to a worldwide powerhouse. You achieve this in the predictable way of signing and developing players, building a fan base, and, of course, winning games. The game does a good job of speeding things up, the leagues generally only contain about 5 or 6 teams and you only play each team once. Finishing first will earn you a promotion to a better league, and after two or three seasons the process repeats. A good addition is the ability to play in single games during the offseason to earn some more experience and money.

While you cannot participate in games, each game is shown live for you to watch. This is the most impressive part of the app because these games are generally very entertaining and incredibly true to life in terms of positioning and decisions. It would be nice, however, to be able to skip this presentation. Every game earns or costs you fans, support, and money adding a good touch of realism.

The cartoony, manga-inspired art design might turn people off and the game is not as deep as other similar apps. There seems to be a kind of confusion about what exactly this game wants to be; it’s not deep enough to completely satisfy hardcore Manager Mode fans, but it’s too deep for casual fans. For example, training points are earned throughout the game for special practice sessions which must be carried out individually, but there is no control over how much to offer a player that you’re looking to pick up.

All that aside, this game is worth looking at for any soccer fan if you feel that the $4.99 price is worth it.