Orchard Review - There are Some Bruises on This Apple

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Orchard is a new casual game that has you running your own orchard. You will sell fruits and jellies to raise money for your family business and buy new farms. It’s a fairly standard game for the casual genre, but it unfortunately has a number of flaws that really drag it down.

Gameplay (2 out of 5)

The actual gameplay primarily focuses on farming. You get to run your own little farm and sell your goods at the roadside stand. The best way to describe it is to just talk about what you’ll do in an average level.

You start off with your character. You will probably have them build a home and hire a lumberjack character to start collecting wood to build more structures later in the game. Your main character then prepares a patch of soil and plants a few different types of crops. You’ll unlock a sprinkler system early in the game that lets you avoid watering them all yourself. If you don’t plant by a well or sprinkler, then you’ll have to occasionally assign someone with a watering can to work the field.

Once you get the first batch planted and harvested, you start to build more homes and hire field workers. You can then plant and harvest more. You will then be able to build facilities to make jam, juice and jelly to sell for higher amounts.

There is a big problem with this. It’s all automatic. You plant and harvest whole fields by just telling them to do it. The characters act naturally to be productive. This should be a good way to avoid the clickfests that a lot of games fall into, but it just leaves it boring. You don’t have to even watch your crops. Your workers will just harvest them when it’s time as long as they are told to harvest anything in the field. You will soon figure out the perfect field sizes to keep them busy. Jams and jellies are made automatically without any help from your workers. You also just click a button to have all goods sell at the market rate. It is just really boring. You will spend most of the game just watching your little employees work and your cash growing.

Graphics (3 out of 5)

The graphics aren’t bad for a casual game. They are fairly clean and crisp. You can tell all of the buildings and crops apart easily. The characters are fairly detailed and the environments are well done. They aren’t exactly impressive though. It’s just standard for the genre.

System Requirements (3 out of 5)

The system requirements are actually a little steep for a casual game with mediocre graphics. You officially need 512 MB of RAM. There is no official statement for the video card, but you will need one from within about the last three or four years that can handle Direct X 9.0. I personally played this on my XPS which has 3 Gigs of RAM and a new video card, so I didn’t see any problems. Most Internet capable computers should meet these requirements though. There is also a free demo you can try out to see if your system can handle it.

Overall (2 out of 5)

Orchard is a standard casual game. It’s unfortunately very boring. You won’t have much of an impact on the game. You could honestly walk away for 10 minutes and just let the game run itself. I know because I did that once. It’s nice to have halfway competent employees, but the lack of interaction or development just makes it a really boring game that you’ll be done with in an hour or so.