Facebook Farm Games: Which One Should I Play?

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Maybe all this technology is making us yearn for the simpler days -- Facebook has recently seen a boom of farm-themed social games. Part time-management, part strategy, these addicting games have us planting and harvesting crops week after week. Who knew we had such a green thumb?

Here's the quick and dirty on five of the most popular farm games on Facebook, along with our recommendations for which ones you should invest your time in.

Farmville

Features:
- 2D 'farmer' avatar that you can customize.
- You can trees or livestock to your friends as gifts.
- Earn money to buy fences, hay, barns to customize your farm. *Most of the games we listed have this feature
- Each crop takes a different number of hours/days to ripen, but if you wait too long to harvest, the crop will die.
- Wide variety of animals, each produces its own product (milk from cows, wool from sheep, etc).
- Friends leaderboard so you can compare your progress. *All of the games have this feature.

Recommended: Yes! We play this one a ton at Games.com offices. The customization options means we can design our farms just the way we want them, and the addition of farm livestock is charming (and let's face it, realistic!). Some of the wait times for certain crops are a bit long (4 days is about the upper limit), and you'll have to re-plow fallow land after harvesting, so the 'quicker' crops end up turning a smaller profit. But overall Farmville is cute, addictive and well-made.

Hit the jump for four more farm games on Facebook >

Country Story

Features:
- 3D anime-style avatar
- Limited amount of 'stamina' per day to complete actions (you can gain more by consuming food).
- Can buy seeds and fertilizer from shop to use on plots of land.
- 'Village' section has various quest sections, which require you to gather resources, visit friends, etc.
- Cute livestock, but costs more to purchase.
- Friends leaderboard to compare progress in the game.

Recommended: Yes! Country Story has less of an emphasis on purely farming -- the quests really encourage you to explore the different games within the game. Like Farmville, you'll have to expend energy to plant, harvest and re-plow your land, but there are a lot of mini-goals along the way like visiting friends' farms (where you can both help them grow crops AND even steal some for yourself) and exploring the village. It also has some of the best-made and cutest graphics of the farming games we've seen.


Happy Farm

Features:
- Grow crops on a small grid of land (upgradable) by watering, de-weeding and de-pesting.
- Crops include fruits, veggies and flowers.
- Earning enough money also lets you purchase pets.
- Friends leaderboard included, too.
- Shows time left until crop is ready to harvest.

Recommended: Yes! It's not as robust as Country Story or Farmville, and you don't get a customizable avatar, but the game has cute grpahics and will be more accessible to those who haven't played many strategy games before. The countdown clock is a nice feature - it'll help you time when to return to harvest if you don't remember when you first planted the seed (and who actually remembers?)


Fantasy Farm

Features:
- Grow crops on a small grid of land (upgradable) by watering, de-weeding and de-pesting.
- Crops include fruits, veggies and flowers.
- Friends leaderboard available (but hidden by default).
- Can also purchase fences, decorations and barns (and animals).

Recommended: No. It's not a horrible game, but it's not great either. It feels like a clone of Happy Farm, down to the timers on crops and the selection of seeds. Again, no avatars, but this time the graphics don't quite make up for it (they're pretty subpar).


Farm Town

Features:
- Customizable 2D avatar.
- Plant and harvest crops to earn money.
- Purchase ponds, barns, etc to customize the land.
- Friends leaderboard lets you compare progress.

Recommended: No. This is difficult one to call, simply because Farm Town was actually created before Farmville. The game, from the selection of items to the menu screens and icons, is almost identical. It's unfortunate that Farm Town is still so buggy, but Farmville's implementation of this game is far better, even if it is technically a clone of the original.
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