LifeisXbox’s AgriLife review | Ready to be in the shoes of a farmer? Well, I wasn’t either but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow. This time, the flow was a game called AgriLife, developed and published by the Belgian AgriLife Team. Now I don’t know that much about farming. I actually don’t know anything about the world of farming, so diving into this game wasn’t only fun, it was also educational in a way. Anyway, AgriLife is about feeding a population that is growing fast. Very fast. And a population needs to be fed, so that is where you come in: you are the farmer in charge of keeping the provisions stable. I can already tell you that a population that would rely on me, would be dead in no time. But maybe you would make a better farmer? Don’t know if it’s your cup of tea yet? Maybe you will after reading this review, let’s go!
Put your boots on, we’re heading to the fields! Your job: managing farm plots to feed a village that grows surprisingly fast. Plow, seed, and harvest your crops, but be careful: all your actions have a real impact on the soil. You’re going to need some patience and ingenuity to contend with the weather and seasons. Learn to master this interconnected and ever-changing environment in a colorful and fantasy world.
Most Memorable Moment
My most memorable moment was my first run. For some reason, I decided that the game couldn’t possibly be that difficult so I read through the instructions rather quickly. My population ended up without provisions in no time and I had absolutely no idea what I was doing. It only then occurred to me how much depth and detail AgriLife actually has. While it may look like a rather simple and basic game, it truly has some much going for it. It definitely woke me up and made me start over entirely.
ℹ️ Reviewed on PC | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion of the writer.
What we Liked!
- Trial and error gameplay | In AgriLife, you have to feed the (growing) population of an unknown town. To do so, you must grow and harvest plants and sell your production. You get a few plots on which you can plant various types of plants. Some are edible, some are not. Either way, all can be harvested and sold. The plants themselves all have different needs. Keeping them healthy is crucial if you want your population to survive. You get an array of tools at your disposal, helping you keep your plants healthy and happy until they are ready to be harvested. While it may sound quite easy to take care of your crops, it really isn’t. You get a set amount of action points every week (and you can choose yourself when you want to move on to the next week) and have to keep up your money. Figuring out which plants to save and which to destroy was a lot harder than I expected. Luckily, the game tells you at the start that AgriLife is a game where mistakes are allowed. Progress is achieved through said mistakes and is even recommended. It’s a real trial and error kind of gameplay where not being able to feed the population results in having to start over entirely. Luckily, you get to keep everything you’ve unlocked and basically start with the initial population and a bunch of new plots to work with. AgriLife manages to give the player a certain desire to want to improve time after time.
- Pleasing art style and soothing soundtrack | The graphical aspect is often what first draws me to a game and this was the case for AgriLife as well. You get a rather basic piece of land filled with plots but it looks inviting. The different plants, in their different stages, all look quite cute and help you immerse yourself into the life of a farmer. Besides this, there are the different seasons and weather conditions that were implemented very well. Sound-wise, we are treated with some comforting sounds that adapt to the season, weather, and even the time of day! The versatile soundtrack really enhances the game in more than one way.
- Encyclopedia | AgriLife introduces the encyclopedia as your best friend in the game, and I can tell you that this is certainly true. I had to consult the encyclopedia every few seconds because it gives you all the information you need about the plants. It tells you about the name and family it belongs to, the value, the growing time, how and when to harvest it, etc. The encyclopedia also grants you information on the needs of the various plants. Like how much water and sunlight it needs, and how much NPK (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) is required for good growth. Besides giving you information on the plants, the encyclopedia also gives information about the import, export, and tillage tools you’re using as well as the fertilizers. As an extra help, there is also a tab called ‘Tips’ where helpful content is provided about the overall gameplay, for example about growing plants, the families and nutrients, and the weather impact. Trust me, you’ll be spending a ton of time with this very handy encyclopedia.
- Great balance | What amazes me most about AgriLife is the attention to depth and detail that was put into this game. Yet it still finds a way to be perceived as relaxing. Allow me to explain this a little more. Taking care of your crops, and thus keeping your provisions in order, isn’t that easy. You have to carefully think about what you’re going to do and how you’re going to ensure that you have enough money to buy nutrients, reparations for your tools, etc. The game really requires a lot of strategic thinking. But at the same time, you don’t feel pressured in the slightest about all this. It’s like you casually farming in a relaxed way, without having to stress too much. The balance that AgriLife creates between relaxation and challenge is what makes this game so great.
- Turn-based | As I mentioned, you can decide for yourself when it’s time to move on the next week (meaning plants grow or die and your action points are renewed). By introducing a turn-based management element, you really give the player a sense of control. There is no time pressure to figure out your next steps and you can really go over the possibilities in your mind before actually doing something. Since I do believe it’s the developer’s desire to make this feel like a more relaxing game, the turn-based time really helps achieve this.
- Steep learning curve | I’ve mentioned it before a couple of times but AgriLife is a difficult game. It has a steep learning curve, and that’s okay. Making a lot of mistakes is okay. Trying different strategies every run is okay. I just think that players who want to try out AgriLife have to be aware of this. I’m not really one who usually goes for these types of games, because I don’t have a lot of patience. But if you do have patience, then I envy you. But more important: then you can have a great time with this game.
- Micromanaging and detail | Micromanaging is key in AgriLife. Every week, you have to carefully look at every plot to see what it requires. You can make it easier on yourself and toggle on the needs so you get big yellow triangles with exclamation marks hovering over every plot that needs attention. Then, when you zoom in, it will be shown you in detail what the plot requires: water, more light, a certain nutrient, etc. Or you can toggle needs off and create a real challenge and find out yourself if every plot is okay or not. I definitely recommend the first option to make your farming life a lot easier. Either way, you have to carefully watch and soil your plots every week. This takes some time and isn’t for everyone, I’m sure. Even I got a little sick of having to look after every plot. But to be honest, that’s because I absolutely sucked at this game and could simply not keep my population alive. Good thing I did not become a farmer in real life.
What we Disliked
- Nothing comes to mind, isn’t that great?!
How long to beat the story | There is no real story.
How long to achieve 1000G | AgriLife doesn’t have any achievements.
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Head of PC team. PC, Switch, and Xbox game reviewer. Also a marketeer, concert and animal lover, and photographer in training 🙂