Review: My Exotic Farm (DSiWare)

Cleaning up animal excrement just got a whole lot more exotic

If My Exotic Farm teaches us anything, it's that picking up animal poop isn't any more fun in Africa than it is in America. And yet, it isn't any less fun either. So while it may simply be My Farm with a new lick of paint, My Exotic Farm still may be worth a look for those who missed out on its predecessor.

For the uninitiated, the My Farm games are strategic little farm simulators in the same vein as Farmville and We Farm. Your uncle Bob, in a shocking twist, has had a rare stroke of Double Death — he died in the first game, and he's somehow gone and died again in this one — and you luckily gain his inheritance. To follow in his footsteps you use his last few coppers to run and maintain your own farm.

Of course this is easier said than done, and it takes a bit of level-headed thinking if you're going to make any money off of it. At first you'll have to spend the bulk of your cash on buying animals (the assortment of which now includes more exotic creatures like lions and hippopotami) and, subsequently, buying food to keep them alive. It won't be long, though, before your investments start paying off. Parrots, for example, produce feathers which you can trade for cash, and you can sell back your fattened-up animals for more than you paid. It's a smart but simple system that essentially divides your animals into two groups: keepers and sellers. It takes a bit of time, but with a little patience you'll have an expansive farm with a steady cash flow.

In addition to preventing your animals from starving to death, you'll also have to make them happy. Other than feeding them, the main way to do this is by keeping the little guys and their environments clean, whether by using the broom to sweep up steaming piles of animal dung (if only if it was really that simple) or by giving them a good scrub now and then, both of which are done with the touch screen.

Although the selection of animals is expectedly more exotic, the drab, African desert setting makes it less visually interesting than its predecessor. This unfortunate dreariness comes from a rather limited colour palette and the poor use of its psuedo-3D pre-rendered animals. The creatures had potential to be cute and expressive, but instead they look like odd little plastic figurines who occasionally blink and wince when they poop. The sound doesn't fare much better, consisting of one song and several immediately irritating and endlessly looping animals noises.

One of the nicer aspects of the game is the ability to quickly and easily trade animals and produce with friends via local wireless, and that thankfully includes owners of the original My Farm. This is actually a rather neat feature, as it means you'll be able to potentially obtain animals that you couldn't otherwise have, like pigs, cows and chickens. It's a shame that this is limited to local wireless, because online trading without friend codes would have quickly turned this from a good game to a great one.

Conclusion

There's not much to say about My Exotic Farm that hasn't been said in our review of the original, because really, it's the same game — but, exotic. If you missed out on the first My Farm, then you might want to take a look at this simple-yet-satisfying sim. Since this is really nothing more than a new paint job, though, fans of the first game have little incentive to re-invest.