Farm Machines Championship 2014 puts you behind the wheel of a tractor for forty dull events. It varies in nuances of relaxing country races, to mundane and tedious beat the clock lawn mowing challenges. I will admit that the premise alone of driving a tractor through these events could be interesting, just as much as it can be comedic gold and this game strays to the latter far too often.There’s a thin like between relaxing and boring and there are plenty of times where the game feels like its more chore than fun.
The only game mode is a tournament, where you participate in forty events. Here you will enter into events for a fee and make money for placing bronze, silver or gold. With the money you can purchase new tractors and upgrade your own. You can also change the paint job to coincide with sponsors. Some sponsors will pay your entry fee and I wish the game went further for this, such as sponsors demanding no less than bronze and if you fail them three times, you’ve lost the sponsor.
The tractor skins are perhaps the most creative part of the game. Skins like a police officer, a rhino, a dragon and a hot rod. It all shows that someone put time and thought into the design, but little else into the overall game. There are a lot of ideas, but they’re all so shallow. For a game title Farm Machines Championship, I expected to drive a wider variety of farm machines than just tractors. There’s no shame in calling this Farm Tractor Championships, unless the Farm Machines Championship is a real organization.
Earning a medal in each event will unlock the next. You can even replay previous events, but once was enough for me. The grass mowing is easy enough and quick enough when you go fifty to sixty miles per hour, but its just the variations of grass mowing. You have field clearing, then bailing lines of hay with a round bailer and even tilling the ground. There is an event for following a combine to catch the wheat in your trailer. Its all the same and there’s no competition other than the clock. Its the same patterns, even if you’re doing different tasks.
As for the racing, its a high point in a low game. you drive from point A to point B next to fields and rivers, through a small town eager to watch you. It is relaxing yes to just drive down country roads with spectators watching from beyond barricades while mellow country guitars play. The graphics are serviceable, even if the textures are low quality, the game still looks fair and I’m saying that as a good thing. Object pop in is forgivable, because the game’s world feels different and unique to create a soothing vibe even if you’re in the heat of competition.
Truth be told, there is no competition. You have no rivals, most events are you on your own, although the races have other rivals, but one engine upgrade and you’ll leave them in the dust. For a championship this is hardly difficult on normal. If you veer too far away from the path, you’ll respawn back on the path. Its also odd having a mini map that marks the track blue rather than white. There are bodies of water.
Other events include a slalom that has you weaving between barrels and posts, but in reality I took out more than I went between. There’s a hay race, but I’m not sure if its to collect the most hay or make it to the finish line first. Your rival competitors seem to only go forward. No one is smart enough to push backward.
I understand having different events, because this is the Olympics of tractors, but please make them optional. I would say make a campaign for those events, but the tedium would wear thin and no one would play them other than to punish themselves. You could do them for achievements, which there are, but there are no Steam achievements and for some people, that’s why they play. There should also be a free play or quick event option that lets you setup your own event.
The game plays very casually. There are no gears or a clutch you’ll need to work, just simple throttling forward and backward. Truth be told it is a better way to play that’s easier, but in a game that’s about driving tractors, manual would be appreciated.For a tractor, these vehicles feel light and agile rather than feeling like I can crush anything if I lose control. I suppose a tractor with a wagon going fifty mph is still going fifty mph.
There are additional controls for lowering a plow, mower or straw catcher. Its also odd that several events with the mower or straw sweeper let you raise or lower the deck. There’s no punishment for having the deck down, so why give the ability to raise it? Perhaps it slows you down and I just never noticed?
One thing to note is that the game has 360 controller support, for driving and that’s about it. The pause and camera are bound to keys and the mouse. At least there are full camera controls for your mouse, but having them for the controller would be nice too. Another sin of game development is when you’re in the menus with a controller, the analog stick takes control of a very slow cursor.
But you’re reading this to hear about the errors. There’s nothing awful here. Sure the right side of your wagon is always a different shade than the other wagon and sometimes its a different color. Object pop in always happens so far away that its never an issue. We’ve discussed the controller issues. It seems like my wagon can bring a powerful tractor to a halt. Sometimes tractors will bump into the air, but never to a point of comedy. Zooming in on the wheels reveals that the tractors are hovering. The load screens are also notably long.
While I never expect much going into a budget game focused on tractor racing, i can say it did get me dreaming of what could have been and that became the disappointment.For all the bad, Perhaps next year it will be deeper.