I started playing Ranch Simulator a while ago when I found it on sale through Steam. It grabbed my attention with the appearance of in-depth ranching life. Something I can only aspire to reach one day myself. I’ve gone back and forth with how much time I put into the game and the reasons why I stop playing for a time but before I uninstall it (for now) I wanted to give others a chance to read about it.
There are a lot of things that Ranch Simulator does well and some that it misses that mark on.
Character creation is very limited in what you can do. While I was able to make a colored character, creating facial hair and hairstyles that I like were not possible. There is a lot of options in all the different categories (eyes, jaw, mouth, ect.) but that’s just it. Unlike a lot of modern games where you are able to really fine tune your character, there are just presets to choose from.
The house is a disaster upon first starting, That’s kinda the point though. Your goal being to constantly create a better ranch for yourself to benefit from. There are some missions that you can do while playing but for the most part this game is dependent on you being able to entertain yourself.
Game does a great job of running you through the initial mechanics and teaching you how to do things in the beginning. I know that I can jump back into this after a couple months of not playing and still be able to play easily. The only thing I usually have to look up is how to activate lights after a long Hiatus. It’s the “L” button on PC btw.
Driving is not the most comfortable experience. The mechanics for it are finicky at best but it is a lot of fun after you accept you’ll slam into a lot of things. Appears that there is no damage taken to either you or the vehicle. The best part of the driving experience is mastering the drift! Although steering generally is not great you have to drift in order to overcome that. With the large selection of vehicles to buy you’ll likely find something to suit your driving style fairly well. Just remember to keep an eye on your gas tank. Running out of gas is a massive pain depending on where you are on the map at the time.
Buying things is relatively easy. Initially the game shows you where each shop is in little “missions” but the whole town is relatively small so finding them again is easy enough. With this in mind there are shop hours that you have to be aware of. Not the end of the world but definitely a minor frustration. Also something strange is that while you’re in a shop it is not the human standing there that you actually buy from. There are terminals in each shop that you do all your buying and selling through.
Construction is very straightforward. You pick the item you want to build in the book and place its outline where you want it. After that the outline stays telling you what items you need to bring to it. Once you’ve brought everything the outline turns into the build. It’s really as simple as that. Whether you’re building a premade design or designing something from scratch yourself it’s the same process for either. The difficult part is getting the items you need.
There are numerous items that you can create on your farm and some that your only option is to purchase (like glass and cement). Depending on your play style it may or may not be worth your time to process items or just buy them. I leaned pretty heavy into having animals and making a profit from that negated having to craft my own lumber.
Finally I would suggest some sort of background noise while you play. Music or a podcast or something. The experience is rather relaxing once you get into it though. The in-game sound track is definitely lacking.
All in all I would say that I enjoyed my time playing this game. Even though there isn’t anything to drive continued playing, that might be exactly what you’re looking for. I personally find without tasks to complete I just lose interest and move on but there are those out there who play Stardew Valley just to build a great farm! This game will align with those people wonderfully.