If You thought all the most ridiculous ideas for strategy games had been exhausted then you thought wrong. Forget Mall Tycoon, Ski Resort Manager or Zoo Tycoon, Far West has the curious honour of being the first RTS based on running a cattle ranch. And yes, it is as dull as it sounds.
Got The Horn
To be fair, Far West does start promisingly. The tutorial leads you gently into the intricacies of breeding longhorns (that's cows to you and me), and the novelty value of the concept keeps you hooked as you attempt to build up a successful cattle business. Hiring and managing the cowboys who work on your ranch also presents an interesting initial challenge. Ensuring they are all sufficiently stocked up on beans, coffee and whisky is a tricky proposition, especially when funds are at a premium.
It doesn't take long to realise that there is virtually no depth at all to the game. Your ranch consists of very few buildings and expanding it is simply case of buying new pastures in order to more livestock. It would also have been nice to have more of a SimCity element to the gameplay in the local town. Alas, the full extent of interacting with the town boils down to buying hotels to provide your ranch with extra income, and selling your longhorns to the cattle dealers.
Controlling cowboys is another sore point. You can only allocate a task to a cowboy if he is stationed on a pasture, corral or in the cowboy's quarters. So, cowboys riding between these three places cannot be controlled at all, which is a total pain if you want to change their orders.
Graphically, Far West is inconsistent. The cowboys and the cattle are well animated and detailed, but the surrounding landscape and buildings are bland by comparison. Stagecoaches and cowboys also have an unnerving habit of passing straight through each other. Collision detection is something the developers clearly have no interest in. The game is exceedingly slow, too. For some reason, everything from the branding of cattle through to the delivery of food takes an absolute age.
Far West is about as shallow a piece of software as you are likely to find for the PC. More to the point, it's very difficult to imagine anyone but livestock fanners wanting to play it. But even they would eventually concede that getting up at three in the morning to milk a cow is probably a lot more fun.
Download Far West
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP