COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Funky Barn Review

Created: 12/19/2012 12:30 PM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

I know as much about farming as I do about building a submarine.  However, I was able to create and run a fully operational farm in 505 Games’s “Funky Barn” for the Wii U.

“Funky Barn is a silly animated farming game that gives you the power to strategically build and run a farm.  Your goal is to bring back to life a farm by creating crops and raising animals. You earn money by selling eggs, milk, wool, etc. at the local market. You can then use the money to upgrade your farm. 

The story of “Funky Barn” is that your uncle passes away and he leaves you his farmland, animals and crazy inventions. It is now your job to learn how to take care of the farm. While your game loads you get to see the story. There is story is told through pictures and music and it is pretty entertaining.

There are so many things to do in “Funky Barn” that you are constantly scrambling to make sure everything is running smoothly. You start out by getting chickens. You have to create food and water troughs for them and eventually you need to create a chicken coop for them.

As you play you can upgrade the troughs to make them bigger and you can make the chicken coop bigger as well. The chickens lay eggs and you can take the eggs to a selling bay and sell them to make money. 

As you play there is also a dog that will give you tips on how to play the game, so that was very helpful.

The animals are very needy and when they need something a word balloon appears above their head letting you know what they need. For example, if they need food in their trough a fork and knife appear in the word balloon, so you know you need to feed them.

There are a bunch of different animals that you get and have to take care of. A stork will bring the animals to your farm and you can choose which animals you want it to bring. You can get chickens, cows, sheep, and ducks to just name a few. Once you have the animals you have to build fences to keep them in and they don’t like to be mixed with other animals.

You can also add machines that help you make money such as a wool machine for the sheep. If the sheep become too big you can pick them up and drop them in the wool machine and you can sell the wool for money. You can earn money one way or another with every animal.

You can also add machines that will automatically pick up the products and take them to the selling bay for you. You can buy a milk truck or a robot that will go around and collect eggs from the chickens. In order for these machines to work, you have to build roads so they can get to the animals fenced area and back to the selling bay.

You can also add trees, plants and also fruit trees. Some of the animals like trees so they will let you know when they want you to plant a tree with the balloon over their head. Mushrooms will grow around the trees and bushes. Some of them are good and some are bad. If your animal eats a bad mushroom, they get sick and you have to pick them up and set them back down and then they will be fine.

Another thing that occurs while you are playing is that you can trade with other local farmers. You will get a notification that someone wants to trade and you can choose to do it or not do it. If you choose yes, then you have to give them a certain amount of produce in a certain amount of time. 

For example, one person wanted three eggs in five minutes. In return they gave me an extra $500.  I really liked this a lot, because it was a fast and simple way to make more money for the farm.

I thought the graphics were really good. The animals looked cute and silly. While I was playing, a tornado went through my farm and destroyed a bunch of stuff. It looked really cool. You could see stuff flying around and it was very detailed. 

As you play, you go through different seasons and the winter scene looked really neat, because there was snow everywhere and the trees lost all of their leaves. 

There are a bunch of disasters that can occur such as tornadoes, lightning strikes, pests, UFO’s. 

These things destroy and damage your farm when they go through. You can repair and rebuild everything that’s destroyed. It costs money of course to fix things.

The controls are very simple and are easy to figure out. You basically control a hand. You can move it around with the analog stick and to pick up animals or move things you just push the “ZR” button. You push the button down while you are moving an object and when you want to drop it you let go of the button. 

You use the screen and stylus on the gamepad to select which items you want to buy and to look at your stats and to also start trading.

I really liked 505 Games’s “Funky Barn” a lot. I thought it was a fun and silly game to play. The controls were very easy to learn and the game is rated “E” for everyone. If you are looking for a game that you can just pick up and play, this is the game for you.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.