Delving into some of the Wii-U’s fantastic launch line up we can see that there are some masterpieces tweaked for Nintendo’s new hardware, but what about the ones that are easy to pick up, look at and mutter to yourself, how bad it looks before putting it back down?
Such a game is that of Tantalus Interactive and 505 Games’ cheerful but Cbeebies reject-looking game Funky Barn, a light hearted farm creating and management game that may look poor going by the box art.
But give this game a chance and you will be hooked... for a small while.
Funky Barn puts you in charge of the development and maintenance of one of the wackiest farms you will ever create, that is after you endure the poor cartoony still pictures of a farmer and a few weird looking animals, and the tediously long initial loading process.
You will firstly have a harvesting machine that makes you funds, a single chick and cash to start creating and once you do, you won’t want to stop.
This game is seriously addictive thanks to its simplistic interface and easy management options and your farm will soon be running itself if you stick at it long enough.
Funky Barn has a feel of Farmville with a bit of Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 without the high octane rides and fast pace, using the Wii-U’s gamepad as a 2D blank canvas for your creations that show up on the TV in full 3D and full of life.
Weird and wonderful buildings and accessories are at your disposal, such as an Egg robot that automatically collects laid egg.
However, chicks and chickens are scared of it, so placing roads sorts this problem, a sheep shearer that is basically a mechanical hand that shears sheep whenever needed and all sorts of strange looking alternatives of regular coops and stys for your animal’s needs.
The game looks... awful for a Wii-U title, with chicks being nothing more than blobs with black spots for eyes, a generic map screen displayed on the gamepads screen, dull looking buildings and poorly illustrated artwork.
However, look past this and you will find a cheerful and amusing looking game that will entertain kids and adults alike.
Although I wasn’t impressed with the game’s visuals, children will like the complex array of colours that pollute the screen when it’s at its busiest.
The only thing is, unless your child has a gift for management skills, this game is not for them.
At its busiest, things get frantic and it’s easy to forget to do the most important tasks involved in important farming upkeep.
The game plays as a farming sim should, players use the gamepads touch screen with the RZ trigger to move items around the screen, choose where to put things and select the building options displayed at the top of the gamepads screen.
Funky Barn plays like a town simulator on a tablet; players just build and manage whilst the onscreen animals which range from chickens, pigs and cows to buffalo and Llamas, just roam around freely.
Animals’ happiness can be improved by tending to their needs as well as giving them a nice stroke which triggers a Nintendogs like interface where players can stroke them using the stylus.
The gameplay is simple and addictive, however after a short while, things get a bit tedious and boring until the next time a new animal enters the fray or you accumulate more money to build new stuff.
There are mission style tasks to complete during your farming which gives some sort of purpose, however this only allows you to build bigger and better things and building your farm up to its highest level, leaves you playing for nothing. There are three challenge farms available that asks you to clean up a messed up farm under a certain time limit but this mode offers nothing but more pressure.
Funky barn, whilst amusing with a cheery atmosphere, lacks depth and visual flair which will put a lot of people off. However, give this game a chance and you will become addicted. Simulation fans will love this as it’s basically a wacky version of Farmville created to test how management games work with the Wii-U’s gamepad and its unique control scheme. Funky Barn is not worth the high price tag as it offers little - probably best to wait until the price goes down and this will be worth your while.
Developer: Tantalus Interactive
Publisher: 505 games
Release date: 30th November 2012