Orchard - Learn three trades in one!
Orchard is another strategy and time-management game devoted to the theme of gardening and running your own farm. Actually, orchard this time. While the visuals might seem not of the best quality it could be (quite nice though), the game play offers some rather attractive features.
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Ivy, the heroine of Orchard, is a former office clerk who receives a mysterious letter.
Surely, the letter is from her granduncle Fred, who decided to retire and give his most precious possession (what would you think that is? - Orchard!) to his closest relative. To Ivy, of course. She comes to the place and starts her hard work immediately, trying to earn some money and make her Orchard thrive. That is essentially all I can tell you about the story. And there's nothing more to say, actually. So let's get to game play.
The basic game play is real-time strategy with some elements of time-management and simulation. At the beginning everything runs slowly, and you have to do a lot of identical actions and wait quite a while until you pass the tutorial and start playing by your own.
So, the course of actions for growing plants is quite traditional - you till soil, plant seeds and harvest the results, after which the worker automatically takes your products to the store. You don't clock every spot separately, but just drag the necessary tool over the plot you wish to perform the action on.
After the products get to the store and Aunt Ella, you can (and should) set prices for your goods taking into consideration market prices and your customers' satisfaction. You will need money for achieving your future goals, so be careful in balancing those. Later in the game you'll also need to advertise your products, as well as process them into juices, pies and jellies.
One of the main attractions of the game is the possibility and, actually, necessity of hiring additional workers. The more you progress, the more time-consuming the tasks will be, so you'll have to hire more workforce. But before you do that you'll need to build a house for each worker and chop enough wood for the construction. These two skills are developed together with farming as you fulfill corresponding tasks,and thus your work will be done faster. Each of the available workers also has one of the three specializations, and you can hire the one you need most at the moment.
On the whole the strategy part of the game is quite engaging, though the visuals and story leave much to be desired. But it's up to you to try!
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