Funky Barn is currently the butt of many a joke on Miiverse, luckily for everyone you can actually see who’s played the game – we’re one of them.
Funky Barn has a weird name sure, but the game at its core isn’t that weird. It’s a bit like SimFarm used to be: build a farm and an economy to support it.
You start off with a basic and barren plot of land with a limited selection of animals and tools. Everything has to be done manually at the start, collect chicken eggs and sheep’s wool for money and build a better farm. Eventually, you’ll get robots that do this all for you and more but you’ll need a lot of money to get there.
However, there are a few farm oddities which impede you. Pens can be built anywhere, but animals will only go where there is water. The robots who service the pens can only go on roads but can’t go anywhere near the animals or they’ll complain. These animals complain a lot too, you have to feed them, give them shelter. What, is this a charity? You can give animals a bit of a pet on the touch screen whenever you like to keep them happy but once you have enough of each animal you probably won’t ever want to do this again as you’ll be at max capacity.
Funky Barn works on a level system. On level one, you can only create and cater for sheep and chickens. Every so often, one of these animals (of your choice) will be delivered via a stork. Chickens are the easiest to keep happy and will churn out eggs all throughout the year and sheep are profitable but only work some parts of the year, as we imagine they like to stay warm during the winter. Cows also produce more expensive milk but are slower, pigs find truffles and you can even get into crop creation.
Once you get enough money you’ll be able to nearly automate your farm. Collectors will collect wool, eggs, milk and truffles. Crops will be harvested and collected as well, all that’s left to do is feed the animals. There are random ‘disasters’ that show up every so often but you can buy buildings that make these things a non-event. By the time you reach this level though that’s about it, your farm will be full and there isn’t much to do after that in the main game. It’s taken me about 7 hours to do in total, repeated attempts would be even quicker once you learn what works and doesn’t. Setting up your farm in the most cost effective way is the real game, it’s something anyone but small children will be able to pick up quickly.
Once you’ve seen the main game, there are some challenge farms to try out and rescue in a time limit but there’s only three of them – just three. It will only keep you distracted for a little while.
The game controls well with the dual screens however it’s the first game I’ve had on the Wii U where I didn’t know where to look. The top screen contains all the action, the touch screen contains only an overview of the farm. Animals and structures are block colours and you tap on these to upgrade, move or destroy everything on the farm. I did have problems placing roads and fences, but once you figure out how they intended it to work then you’re alright. The interface is also sometimes on the touch screen, sometimes on the top screen.
The games artwork and graphical style is cute but very basic, there’s nothing being used here of the Wii U’s power and there is even slowdown when you have a full farm. The game was released on the Nintendo 3DS previously and it doesn’t look too much better than that, apart from the fact that it’s in HD. The interface is big and bubbly for the touch screens but looks cheap overall, even just a better font here would have helped.
Funky Barn isn’t a bad game, it’s functional with a few little quirks you have to learn to avoid being frustrated. It doesn’t look terrific though, but it never stops you from having fun.
You’ll get a kick out of Funky Barn, like myself if you enjoy Sim games. It’s a basic simulation game but I still find myself wanting to get my farm working perfect, sadly there isn’t much more to it after that.
If you can find Funky Barn cheap then pick it up, but at its full retail price it’s hard to recommend.