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Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is Farming Game That Stresses Efficiency

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Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is Farming Game That Stresses Efficiency

Some of the earliest farming games didn’t offer all the same activities as modern ones. You woke up, tended your crops, sold your harvest, and maybe had rather perfunctory relationships. Bit Orchard: Animal Valley calls back to the days when min-maxing your farm and schedule mattered most. It is bare bones. You have freedom and goals. However, everything comes together to encourage you to focus on a task.

Things began as they do in many farming games. Your character abandons a city life for one on a farm. Specifically, they bought an orchard. You start with a small plot of land with one apple tree, a work bench, a home, a skittish rabbit, and a flock of crows. Controls? You have a bar at the bottom with a handful of actions. You can plant seeds, use a scythe on weeds to collect fibers, water trees with a bottomless watering can, and use your hand to pet animals or interact with things. A small to-do list appears at the upper right with a handful of actions that can take days or weeks, depending on your pace. You can check your inventory, but it’s small. As for crops, all you need to worry about are apples, big apples, and golden apples.

Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is Farming Game That Stresses Efficiency

This means initially, all you focus on is getting more apples. You start with a bit of seed money, which is best put toward seeds. Because some of your first tasks involve planting 20 trees and harvesting 20 apples. (Big apples and golden apples don’t count. Both seem to come up randomly, once you have trees planted.) Harvesting is as simple as walking past a tree. However, when apples are on trees, there is a very good chance crows will be too. If you take too long to get there or don’t have a scarecrow nearby, the bird can eat it before you get there. Also, as you run about, you might be able to corner the rabbit by a sapling or tree so you can pet and befriend it.

Gradually, things open up more. Your priorities change to be more efficient. To grow more trees without sacrificing crops and productivity. You get enough money to invest in sprinkler parts, so you can craft sprinklers. That means you don’t waste time, which passes swiftly. on watering. Perhaps you cut down, then replace, trees to ensure the greatest area is covered by the sprinklers and eventual scarecrows. The latter of which is a necessity, as otherwise you’ll never get those sweet, sweet apples before the crows do. However, unlike the sprinklers, you don’t see a sphere of influence when placing scarecrows. Which means you have to guess at which trees will be protected.

Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is Farming Game That Stresses Efficiency

Granted, you can eventually start to relax. Maybe after you reach the third land expansion and build a bridge. At that point, you probably have more than enough money to invest in extras like cosmetics. That means you can start interacting more with those around you. It’s like a reward. You did good. You figured out how to earn enough. Now you can dress up and meet folks.

So yes, Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is one of those farming games that teases you with expansion after expansion. After an in-game week, you’ll know how to make the most of your initial plot. Likely before a month is done, you’ll own two fields. If luck is with you and you grow a golden apple, you could gain access to a wider area by a month. Keep doing well, and who knows how far you can go?

Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is available on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Bit Orchard is also available on PCs.

Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.