Title: Pure Farming 2018
Platform: PC (reviewed), PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Ice Flames
Publisher: Techland Publishing
Release date: Out now
PC: $30/£22
PS4: $40/£29
Xbox One: $40/£29
TL;DR: A hyper-realistic farming simulator with multiple maps and game modes.
Family Friendly?: Click here for more information

Pure Farming 2018 is exactly what it sounds like: a farming simulator. As a recovering Stardew Valley addict and a longtime fan of the Harvest Moon series, I was excited to pick up this game with a seemingly similar premise. You’re the sole inheritor of your grandfather’s debt-ridden farm, and you must restore it to glory while trying to turn a profit. I’ve never been much of a fan of simulation games, but I decided to give this a whirl regardless.

My first impression of the game was that it had a pretty killer soundtrack. The country guitar really got me in the mood to farm (something I never thought I’d hear myself say) and fit nicely with the theme of the game. The main character does look a little too country for my tastes, so I think it would have been nice to at least have some customizations beyond the color of your shirt available, or to play as a girl, but I digress.

The opening is a little slow, and the tutorial holds your hand for what feels like forever, but the game itself is a very accurate representation of the profession. Pure Farming 2018 stays very true to its simulation nature, and from what little I know about actual farming, it seemed like a far more realistic depiction than Stardew Valley or Harvest Moon. That being said, it’s almost a little too realistic. Harvesting and selling your crops feels tedious at best, so if you’re looking for a casual game experience this might not be the right choice for you.

I also had some issues with the HUD; the display screen felt a little cluttered and it was very easy to get lost in the map. I’m also on the fence about using a tablet and email to navigate your farm. I understand that they needed some sort of interface to deliver information to the player, but it was immersion breaking to imagine a farmer carrying around a tablet with him all day. The last thing I’d want as I toiled in the fields would be to have an expensive piece of technology sticking out of the back of my jeans.

The controls were also a little confusing, especially when it came to driving and parking vehicles. There is a very specific outline of where you can complete certain tasks, and I often times found myself trying to park and repark my trailer over and over to get it right.

There are a variety of maps to choose from, Montana, Italy, Columbia, Japan, as well as several different game modes and challenges, so gamers will certainly find replay value. The three different game modes, Free Farming, My First Farm, and Farming Challenges, offer different scenarios for you to play through.  Free Farming is the most open game mode, allowing you total control over your farm with all machines and facilities available from the get go. My First Farm is the mode that teaches the ins and outs of farming, introducing players to the mechanics and strategy behind a successful farm. Farming Challenges offer extreme situations that players will have to work through in order to accomplish agricultural goals.

The game also has an extensive post-launch map of content and updates in the works; according to Ice Flames, these updates are currently in the works for Pure Farming 2018:

  • General game improvements based on player feedback
  • Regularly selected PC mods added as free DLC for consoles
  • New DLCs including brand new machines and other content
  • Several updates to modding tools
  • Support for steering wheels, peripherals, and more

So it sounds like the developers are invested in improving and expanding Pure Farming 2018, which is definitely a good thing for the community.

Despite that, I’m still not sure I’d invest a ton of time into this game. While it’s certainly relaxing to devote my time to a simple task like farming, I was beginning to feel burnt out within the first couple of hours so. There isn’t a whole lot of story to keep things fresh, so unless you’re a die-hard farming or simulation fan, the game might seem too repetitive for you.

The Good

  • Hyper-realistic farming
  • Cool soundtrack
  • Lots of content to keep you entertained

The Bad

  • Clunky controls and a messy interface
  • A dry story and simple premise
  • Hard to get immersed in a repetitive game

Family Focus

Rated: Not yet rated; I’d say it’s safe for the whole family.

Disclaimer: This review is based on a retail copy of the game provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.