This week, my time has been spent churning butter, sowing seed, tending to livestock and selling produce to the occasional neighbor, and local kindergarten — all from the comfort of my living room couch. How so? Hay Day, Supercell’s latest offering.
Following in the footsteps of the ever so popular FarmVille, Hay Day is a farming simulation game in which you must manage time and resources to successfully run a failing farm. Let’s take a closer look.
In a Nutshell
A letter arrives in the post informing you that your uncle is retiring and would like you to take over his farm. I use the word “farm” lightly, as the land itself comprises nothing more than a rundown house, barn and silo, along with an incredibly large amount of trees and boulders.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to restore the farm to its former glory, with a little help from its resident scarecrow along the way. This involves building processing facilities, purchasing livestock, chopping down trees and more, all while trying to meet specific goals and make money.
Show Me the Money
There are two different types of currency available in Hay Day: coins and diamonds. Coins build up relatively quickly and are aquired by selling produce throughout the game. Diamonds, on the other hand, are a different matter entirely and take a lot longer to collect, attainable mostly through completing achievements.
Coins are used to purchase livestock and equipment, while diamonds are generally used to speed up certain aspects within Hay Day, such as the amount of time it takes for a cow to produce milk or to buy timber, and hardware in order to upgrade the size of your barn or silo, rather than searching for the missing pieces.
If you are running low on funds, it is possible to buy coins and diamonds via an in-app purchase for as little as $1.99, something I found myself doing fairly often.
Sowing and Growing
As you’ll soon discover, sowing seed and harvesting crops is an integral part of playing the game, and probably the fastest way to make money. Seed may only be sown in a designated area — a patch of dirt, which can be purchased from the shop for a grand total of one coin. While this may sound like a bargain, there is a strict limit on the amount of patches available, with more up for grabs over time.
Each crop can be transformed into something more desirable with the use of processing facilities. For example, wheat and corn may be turned into chicken feed, milk into cheese, and sugar canes into syrup.
Channel Your Inner Doctor Doolittle
There are many different types of farmyard animal available for purchase in Hay Day, each contributing their services to the running of the farm. Chickens lay eggs, which need to be frequently collected in a basket, cows produce milk, sheep produce wool, and so forth.
Animals will only perform their daily duties if they are fed regularly, and even then the results are most certainly not instant. Let’s take sheep, for example. From the time a sheep is fed to the point when it can be sheared, there is a 6-hour waiting time. This can be speeded up with diamonds … if you have any, that is!
Processing facilities, such as a sugar mill, popcorn pot and dairy, are available to purchase as the game progresses. These facilities require a specific amount of ingredients to make a single item, and can take quite a while to process each one.
As with most features within the game, building a new processing facility takes time — usually around 8 hours, requiring even more diamonds to hurry things up.
Selling Your Wares
A delivery truck lies in wait on the dirt track in front of your house, ready to distribute produce between your loyal customers. Current orders can be found on the notice board to the left of the truck, and are updated frequently as more and more orders are fulfilled. A certain amount of coins are awarded for each successful delivery, with the amount varying from order to order. Each order is different, and may comprise one or several items.
Goods may also be sold in the roadside shop, situated at the front of your property, allowing other players of Hay Day and friends connected via Facebook to purchase your wares for their own use. Customers will often visit the farm too, offering money for eggs, wheat and whatever else tickles their fancy.
Items can be advertised in the newspaper for a quick sale, drawing in more customers to view the other items you have on offer. Again, time is a problem, and you’ll often find yourself having to wait a certain amount of minutes until you can list the next item.
Hay Day is an accessible game which will appeal to both adults and children alike. Its freemium revenue model allows one to begin virtual farming without the need to spend any money. However, you can only go so far without running into the need to purchase diamonds in order to progress through the game at a reasonable pace.
Though an Internet connection is required to sell produce to friends and players around the world, it’s still an annoyance to not be able to play Hay Day offline, and this detracts somewhat from the overall gaming experience. Still, when an Internet connection is available, Hay Day is an addictive and enticing game that somehow manages to draw you in, time after time.