In many cases indie games are a refreshing break from the repetitive trends in AAA gaming. Small intimate teams have legitimate chances to create passionate projects that push the boundaries of conventional game design and deliver something truly unique. Unfortunately Space Farmers from Bumpkin Brothers isn’t one such example.
Space Farmers is a co-op only game in which two players must utilize a variety of team focused weapons and items to make their way through an alien space station. The initial premise and first few moments of the game are sure to be exciting for a couple friends, but you will quickly realize just how shallow the experience truly is.
Players will immediately notice the rough and unimaginative graphic design. Characters and enemies are primarily constructed of large cubes with various appendages protruding from the side. In many cases the primary distinction between enemies is simply a palette swap. The only difference between a pig and a common robot is a set of ears and the color pink. Environments are incredibly bare bones and much of the background is nothing more than empty space or gray walls. For the first 20 minutes this isn’t really an issue, but all stages soon blend together and your excitement for the world and its inhabitants quickly fades.
While their may not be anything technically wrong with the way the game controls, there is something very uninteresting and primitive about moving your character throughout the ship. Anyone familiar with top-down shooters will be able to figure out controls in a matter of moments, but chances are you will be disappointed by how stiff and limited player movement feels. Aiming weapons feels like guiding a tank’s cannon, while traversing the environments feels like gliding over an ice rink. For what it’s worth, I never felt as though these controls inhibited my ability to progress in the game, but I would absolutely love to see them tightened and adjusted.
The soundtrack. What can I say about the soundtrack? Well, it’s quite possible the worst I’ve ever heard in a game. Horrific pre-programmed drum samples are accompanied by terrible synth banjo to create a sensory hell storm for your ears. After hearing these painful pieces of music a few times I simply had to mute the game. I just couldn’t physically handle it.
Despite many graphical and technical flaws, the game’s items and weapons are absolutely worth recognizing. One of the stages equips the first player with a potato launcher and the second with the detonator. The two players must perfectly coordinate their attacks and detonations to destroy enemies, but more importantly, not blow each other to bits. These stressful and outlandish scenarios led to a few genuinely fun segments in Space Farmers.
There is also something to look forward to in terms of character customization. Players collect “space turnips” as they progress through the game and these can be used to unlock new characters and accessories. With enough dedication and willpower you could potentially earn enough turnips to play as a ninja wearing a monocle. Unfortunately the number of unlockable items is very limited and they can all easily be obtained in a single playthrough.
Space Farmers introduces a few rather interest co-op mechanics, but there is so much wrong with the game as it stands, it makes it impossible to overlook the flaws. The developers continue to add new stages and updates on a consistent basis, but right now the game can be completed in just over two hours. Unless you and a friend are really hurting for a co-op game, I don’t see any reason to make the purchase, but the $4.99 price of admission delivers one copy of the game for yourself and one gift copy to send to a friend.
Recommended for fans of: Co-op games and space farming.
Miles Dompier is the chief editor and founder of What’s Your Tag?. He is a Seattle native who recently moved to the sweltering heat of Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a composer/voice actor. When he’s not up writing until his eyes bleed, he likes to play a Prince level of instruments and listen to terrible death metal. Follow his shenanigans on Twitter and be sure to join our gaming community; TEAM XBRO.