Back in the pre-internet days, parents were faced with hard decisions when it came to purchasing video games for their kids. There was nothing that really spoke to the quality of the games that were for sale so I feel like I often gave my parents a hard time when they purchased a game that sounded cool but ended up being a dud.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago and I’m trying to get a game that I think my kid will enjoy. He was really into trucks so I thought he might enjoy one of those farming simulator games that are released every year. I look it up and see they have decent reviews so I figure it would be a slam dunk.
I go to the game store and sure enough, they don’t have it. But, they do have another farm title: Professional Farmer: American Dream. Never heard of this one, but it’s cheap. I do a quick Google search, nothing. Guessing not many people have played it.
It’s cheap and looks to have a lot of farming trucks so I purchase it… I’m officially now one of those parents that doesn’t do much research on a game and purchases it based on the description on the back of the box. I’ve become what I always made fun of. Ironic.
Professional Farmer: American Dream was developed and published by UIG Entertainment a.k.a. United Independent Entertainment. They’re mostly famous for making simulator-type games. They’re also famous for releasing unfinished games and then discontinuing their support for them shortly after people purchase their game. They aren’t the most reputable.
You’re a farmer…
Farming is your life. You live and breathe farming. You seek to be the only farmer in the local area. It’s your dream to purchase all the available land and farm. You have no family, besides a loyal dog that will follow you around your farm and the animals you buy.
Farming is all you know. To not farm, is not an option. Our ambitious protagonist must farm. It is destiny. Farm and expand. Expand and grow.
There’s a lengthy tutorial that shows you how to take care of your crops and animals on the farm. Controlling the vehicles is a bit cumbersome at times, especially when the farming equipment is attached to it.
When there’s an attachment on your vehicle, you move slower. Makes sense, but when I say you move slowly I mean you move as slow as an exaggerated sloth in children’s cartoons. It makes tending the fields a hassle as it’s nearly impossible to get everything done in a reasonable time… which takes away from the overall enjoyment of the game as that’s the main thing you’re supposed to be doing.
Honestly, if you’re interested in growing crops, the best way to farm in this game is to hire help. The help will take care of everything and you don’t have to lift a finger. It’s great for the player but I’m sure the protagonist is sad.
Remember, farming is his life. But, to be fair, the farm is still running. It’s like you’re the boss of a business at that point. So given that the developers thought to add the hired help feature, they knew that their game was a broken boring mess and people would lose interest quickly.
You’ll eventually discover that there are other areas surrounding your farm. Most are there to provide you with more farm land but there are places to sell your goods. There is plenty to look at with random buildings and NPCs walking around but they don’t add anything to the overall experience. You’ll also discover the only town in the entire world, aptly named “Town.” Here you can purchase animals for your farm, purchase equipment/vehicles, and stores where you can sell items.
That’s really it for the gameplay. So how does one succeed at Professional Farmer: American Dream if it takes forever to farm everything yourself? Here’s Hyp3rblue’s patented guide for becoming a farming millionaire*:
Step 1: Ignore the fields and go straight to the animal store.
Step 2: Purchase a variety of animals. About half of the max will do.
Step 3: Hire a helper to care for the animals.
Step 4: Skip ahead 2-3 weeks.
Step 5: Go to the Butcher located in Town.
Step 6: Sell half of the animals you own.
Step 7: Repeat steps 4-6 until you have as much money as you want.
Step 8: Drive around and purchase all of the available farmlands.
Step 9: Hire help to manage your farm.
Step 10: Skip ahead 1-2 weeks and select the next event for your farmland (grubbing, tending, etc.)
Step 11: Repeat Step 10 until you plant seeds.
Step 12: Skip 1-3 weeks and harvest your crops.
*Note: You will only become a millionaire within the game: Professional Farmer – American Dream. I have not tried this in real life, so I cannot guarantee any success there.
This method will unlock all of the animal achievements and the money earned achievements. You can repeat this method as much as you want until you’re happy and the farmer in the game is satisfied. Mind you, I don’t think the game actually ends, so I doubt that the farmer ever truly becomes happy. After all, he lives to farm.
There is no beginning or ending to this game. The sole purpose of the game is to farm. The crops take a long time to grow, but you can mostly ignore them assuming you have hired help. The farming aspects are pretty fun (depending on your definition of fun) but, as I said before, it’s tedious. As I mentioned earlier, the controls for driving around with farm equipment is too cumbersome. You drive very slowly and it’s very hard to maneuver around the field. Hiring help to farm for you is the best way to go. It increases your productivity and ensures your crops won’t die. Same can be said for the animal helper. Speaking of animals, you can own a variety of animals, up to the triple digits, on your farm. However, it doesn’t matter how many animals you truly own, the farm will only show a set amount.
This game is a buggy mess, especially when it comes to the trophies. There are 18 trophies in all and I’ve only unlocked 11 although I’ve completed the requirements for most of them. This seems to be an issue with the steam version as well.
When you get bored with the farming aspect of the game, you’ll probably find yourself wanting to explore the world. There is a lovely pickup truck that you’re able to customize (i.e. paint different colors) and drive all over. While driving, you soon find out you’re able to drive through most objects, like thetrees, speed limit signs, and bushes for example. But if you run into something you’re not supposed to then you come to a dead stop. This ain’t GTA, THIS IS FARMTOWN! Laws of physics have no place here. You T-Bone a car and both stop in place until you back up. You run into a side rail and you basically freeze in place. It’s amazing. Town also features a lot of bad humor parodies. For example, you may notice signs for knockoff Pepsi, Century 21, etc.
The game does have nice graphics although I would contend that they’re PS2 graphics and not PS4. They’re nice nonetheless, just not breathtaking. The music also has no business being in this game and I mean that in a good way. I think the music is very good… which leads me to believe that the developers probably stole it.
This game was released by a known bad publisher – avoid them at all costs. They just popped this out for a cheap buck. There is a patch but I have no idea what it fixes. They abandoned the game shortly after they released it.
I’ve also never seen a game try so hard to keep people from playing it. The farming aspect is time consuming and very slow, like real farming I guess. Your field will probably never look professional because of how you drove over them. Working on 1 small size field takes 30 minutes to an hour to just complete 1 task. I can only imagine how long the larger fields take. Luckily you can hire help to farm for you. The game is able to play itself which allows you to explore the world.
In addition to playing itself, the game eventually kept me from playing my main profile. Every time I would attempt to load my rich farmer profile, it would bump me back to the title screen. The game was kind enough to let me start a new game though. Funnily, the game wouldn’t allow me to progress very far in the new Playthrough either. I was skipping some weeks to progress my crops and the screen faded to black and never came back. To top it all off… the game doesn’t autosave. So, I lost a lot of progress when the screen blacked out. Thanks UIG Entertainment. I can safely say I’m not entertained by these shenanigans at all.
That being said, is there some goodness in this bad game? Honestly, yes, but not much. As I said before, the music is nice and the scenery is pretty decent. Other than that you’re just a farmer living in purgatory. You can only farm and do farming-related things. There are recreational areas but you may only stop to look at them, you may not partake. It’s kind of sad when you think about it.
Given the amount of game-breaking bugs that renders the game unplayable, I give Professional Farmer American Dream .5 terrible joke signs out of 5. More importantly though, if you see a game produced/published by UIG Entertainment, avoid purchasing it. Your money will be better spent on something else.