Platform: Nintendo Switch
Also on: PC, Xbox One
I keep going back and forth on how much I like Bit Orchard: Animal Valley. I’ll start playing it and get hooked on its gameplay loop for a little while, only to get sick of being stuck doing the same tasks over and over and over, at which point I’ll quit – only to eventually start missing the simplicity of its gameplay loop, at which point I’ll pick it up again and start the cycle anew.
Given that Bit Orchard is basically a farming game, that shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. I had the same kind of feelings towards the Farming Simulator series: they’re a very zen kind of fun, right up until the point they’re not. That’s this game in a nutshell – though Bit Orchard is more simplistic than the Farming Simulator game, which means the fun-not fun cycle probably goes a little faster.
Of course, that simplicity is by design. Bit Orchard is meant to evoke the GameBoy in all its 8-bit glory, so it probably would’ve seemed a bit odd for them to make the game overly complicated. As such, the game doesn’t ask you to do too much other than plant trees, water them, and then harvest and sell the apples. It’s an easy loop to get into, as you can imagine.
Admittedly, there are more things to do here than just becoming a titan of the apple industry. You also need to build scarecrows, buy seeds and supplies, hack away at weeds and, most importantly, befriend bunnies and catch frogs. All those things help ensure that the game has a little bit of variety to it, rather than it just being an endless loop of sow-water-harvest-sell.
It’s still not a complex game, obviously. And you’re still likely to eventually get bored by its relative simplicity. But it’s a mark of how enjoyable Bit Orchard is that you’ll almost inevitably find yourself getting sucked right back in.
RedDeerGames provided us with a Bit Orchard: Animal Valley Switch code for review purposes.