Animal Valley is a farming game with a focus on efficiency
Some early farming games did not offer all the same activities as modern games. You woke up, tended your crops, sold your harvest, and perhaps had some rather superficial relationships. Bit Orchard: Animal Valley recalls the days when your farm and calendar min-max mattered the most. They are bare bones. You have freedom and goals. Yet, everything is there to encourage you to focus on a task.
Things started off as they do in many farming games. Your character abandons a city life for a life on the farm. Specifically, they bought an orchard. You start with a small plot with an apple tree, a workbench, a house, a wayward 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 in the top 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. When it comes to crops, all you have to worry about are apples, big apples, and golden apples.
This means that initially all you focus on is getting more apples. You start with some seed money, which is best used for seeds. Because some of your first tasks are to plant 20 trees and harvest 20 apples. (Big Apples and Golden Apples don’t count. Both seem to appear randomly, once you’ve planted trees.) Harvesting is as simple as walking past a tree. However, when the apples are on the trees, chances are the crows are too. If you take too long to get there or don’t have a scarecrow nearby, the bird may eat it before you get there. Also, while you’re running, you might be able to corner the bunny by a sapling or tree so you can pet it and befriend it.
Little by little, things open up more. Your priorities change to be more effective. Grow more trees without sacrificing crops and productivity. You get enough money to invest in Sprinkler Parts, so you can craft Sprinklers. This means that you don’t waste time, which passes quickly. to watering. Perhaps fell and then replace trees to ensure that the largest area is covered by sprinklers and potential scarecrows. The latter is a necessity, otherwise you’ll never get those sweet, sugary apples before the crows. However, unlike sprinklers, you don’t see a sphere of influence when placing scarecrows. Which means you have to guess which trees will be protected.
Certainly, you can eventually start to relax. Maybe after reaching the third land expansion and building a bridge. At this point, you probably have more than enough money to invest in extras like cosmetics. It means you can start interacting more with those around you. It’s like a reward. You did well. You figured out how to earn enough. Now you can dress up and meet people.
Then yes, Bit Orchard: Animal Valley is one of those farming games that teases you with expansion after expansion. After a week of playing, you’ll know how to get the most out of your initial storyline. Probably before the end of a month, you will own two fields. If luck is with you and you grow a golden apple, you might have access to a larger area for a month. Keep doing well and who knows how far you can go?