I’m not much of a gardener or a farmer myself. I don’t do dirt or creepy crawlies, so you wouldn’t think that Ranch Rush was really up my street. But given it’s a time management game, it caught my attention. And I’m so very glad it did.
In Ranch Rush, you take on the role of Sara. She’s employed by Jim, who owns land and makes his living off of it. However, there are some developers who are desperate to get their hands on the land and if Jim doesn’t make a certain amount of money within eight weeks, then he’s history. This is where young Sara comes in. With her wit, intelligence and hard work, she plans to turn a small plot of land into a figurative gold mine.
As with most games of this type, it starts you off slowly. Firstly, you’re taught how to create patches of soil in which to grow your plants, then how to plant your seeds. You’ll also have a barn and some crates with which to gather your produce. Later, you will be expected to use the produce along with various animals, in order to sell milk, cheese, jam, tomato ketchup, eggs, bread, and more.
You work each day of the eight weeks in order to complete the game. For the first six days of the week you will have a specific order to fulfil. For example, a shopkeeper may be looking to stock their shelves with your finest milk, cheese and tomato ketchup. So you have to plant, harvest and manufacture each item they require within a set time period to progress. This is easy to begin with, when you’re just gathering clover to give to the customers, but when it gets later in the game and you have to make jam, bread and honey, things become more difficult.
Finally, on the seventh day of every week, it’s the Farmers Market. There you have to rush around like a mad thing in order to put as many items in the barn as possible to make money.
I really enjoyed Ranch Rush. The learning curve is just about right and I only failed a handful of levels. So it wasn’t so easy that I didn’t consider it a challenge, but it wasn’t so difficult that my laptop was in danger of being thrown out of the window. It lasts long enough to make it good value for money and the graphics and sound effects were above average – no mute button necessary!
Recommended for casual gamers, in particular, time management fans.