FarmVille meets Cafe World in Gourmet Ranch on Facebook

Gourmet Ranch in action
If you're a frequent reader, you already know that FarmVille and Cafe World are two of the most popular games on Facebook. But when you think about it, the two are more connected thematically than you might first think. Developer Playdemic seems to have noticed it before any of us and decided to make a game surrounding just that premise. You see, where would your dishes in Cafe World be without the efforts of your farmer in FarmVille? While it suffers from stretching itself too thin, Gourmet Ranch for Facebook explores that very idea in one of sharpest simulator social games I've played in a long time.

Find the rest of our impressions of Gourmet Ranch behind the cut.
Farming and Serving
At first sight, Gourmet Ranch can appear daunting with its several modes of play, but it turns out to create somewhat of an organic play experience. A detailed tutorial will guide you through what could soon become your daily routine: Harvest and plant various crops in the farm among livestock and fruit trees for ingredients with which to cook meals for your country restaurant. While keeping track of it can be a challenge, the actual process is simple.

First of all, your list of recipes will always inform you of what ingredients you need and there is even a tab to display only the recipes you can cook immediately. Cooking recipes is far simpler than in Cafe World, requiring a single click and wait rather than several clicks that don't affect the quality of the dish in any way. Planting crops is the same way, however players will need to fence off designated squares for livestock. If space is a concern, players will be able to expand both their cafe and their farmland as they progress.

Of course, nearly every action such as buying new items, tress and livestock costs coins, but if dishes are constantly on the table that shouldn't be a problem. However, ingredients cost a special currency known as Keys. Gained as you level up or purchased through several payment methods supported by Social Gold like credit card and PayPal, some keys and a sum of coins will unlock one recipe. That also goes to show that Mastery doesn't exist in Gourmet Ranch.

The Market
Though where Playdemic omitted staples like Mastery and Goals, the developer introduced one unique feature to the genre. Every player is given a Larder, or a building used to store ingredients and not-so-livestock. From here, players can easily see what they have available to cook, but are also given the option to trade it. This Trade function is conducted through each players' Trade Store. Here, you can put up extra ingredients for sale to their friends. As soon you put new items into the trade store you can inform your friends through a News Feed message. When your friends post items for sale, you can visit their ranch and make a purchase. Think of it as a miniature farmers market between friends.

Admittedly, there is one thing about Gourmet Ranch that could become a headache later on--make that a lot of things, so to speak. With several crops, livestock, trees and dishes all ticking on separate timers simultaneously, keeping track of what's going to be ready for harvesting or serving next could become a nightmare. Players could easily be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of things to objects to maintain. Despite that, Gourmet Ranch is a refreshing take on two slightly different genres by bringing them together into one smoothly animated and gorgeous Facebook game. And considering a game this polished is Playdemic's first social game, RockYou had good reason to pick them up when it did.

Click here to play Gourmet Ranch on Facebook Now>

Have you tried Gourmet Ranch yet? What are your thoughts on merging the ideas behind two extremely successful games into one? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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