The Elite Institute’s ‘impressions’ series are not full reviews of titles. As we pride ourselves on providing in-depth reviews for games that we have beaten or completed, our ‘impressions’ instead focus on providing you with details on the game along with our general thoughts on the title, to help shape your opinion. This means that there will be no score, but we can hopefully give you an idea of the quality.
The reasons for doing an ‘impressions’ rather than a full review vary: perhaps it’s a genre that we don’t feel comfortable reviewing due to gaming tastes, maybe it’s too hard or too bad that we are unable to make it through, or maybe even it’s a game that just doesn’t really have an end goal.
Many thanks to RedDeerGames for the game code.
Whilst I’m a big fan on management sims, I’ve never really delved into the world of farming simulation. Back on the GameCube, I played a lot of the original Animal Crossing, but that’s the closest I’ve ever gotten to it.
Bit Orchard reminds me of my time with Animal Crossing, except simplified to such an extent that it seems like a title that would be right at home on the Game Boy. It certainly captured my attention based on its aesthetics alone, but will it be enough to win me over?
As this is a title that doesn’t really have any kind of end to it, it’s getting the special Impressions treatment. I’ve played the game for a few hours now and have experienced a decent chunk of what the game has to offer; but I can see fans of the genre spending more time with it, of course.
(Orchard) Just A Little Bit
Rather than offering much of a story, the game is more of a simulator. Tired of your city life, you go to the country in order to start your own orchard. You’ll only have a small plot of land to work with initially, but after getting your orchard up and running, you’ll gradually earn enough money to expand.
The setup is all rather simple, with you only having a small number of tools at your disposal. You can distribute seeds, hack away at weeds (granting you fibre that can be used to make certain things), water your trees, and then the hand tool allows you to pick up and move certain objects. Aside from an inventory to store certain objects, that will be your main toolkit. It’s all pretty minimal, as you’d expect from a game imitating something from the Game Boy era, but that minimalism really helps streamline things quite a lot.
You’re not left completely on your own to figure things out either, as the game does offer you a short list of tasks for you to achieve that will help you make progress. Most tasks are rather simple and involve planting trees or selling apples, but it also prompts you to do more helpful things too like building a scarecrow to protect your trees or catching a frog. The tasks are a nice way to keep you going as it means that you’re never really left in the dark with no idea what to do towards the start. The tasks do end, but at that point you’ll have found lots more stuff to be going on with.
Starting out, things can feel a bit repetitive and grindy. There’s not a lot of space at first, meaning that you’ll be planting your trees and then watering them daily until they grow – at which point you continue to water them daily until they produce apples. Watering the trees will take seconds, meaning that you’re left to cut never-ending weeds, or just go to bed to bring on the next day after achieving very little. It’s honestly quite tedious at first since there’s nothing much to do during this starting period.
Things get better once you expand your property and speak to your neighbour, who will help you gain access to the huge area of land outside. With more land at your disposal, you’ll find that you’ll have more trees you can plant meaning that you’ll gain more apples to sell and get more money to buy stuff. The further you get into the game, the more stuff you’ll have to do – which eventually opens up into decorating your house, fishing, and helping nearby townsfolk. There’s so much other stuff to do that you’ll start installing sprinklers just so you have time to focus on other stuff instead. It’s a charming little game once you get over that initial grind, and works well as a nice little timewaster – especially for the budget price.
It took a while for the game to click with me due to the slow start, but I found myself getting hooked the further I got into it. It’s charming visuals and catchy chiptunes all help make it a rather pleasant experience.
Check out my gameplay video below to get an idea of what to expect. Unlike my other videos that show the opening part of the game, this is a little bit later once things start getting a bit more interesting! It will also help give you a better idea of the game and whether or not it’s something for you! For the cheap price though, I’d say that fans of the genre will have a fun time with it.
We had the same take! It’s crazy how close your thoughts mirrored my own
Yeah, it’s a neat little timewaster that thankfully is on a deep sale very often!