Weed Firm – getting high on reviews

It was funny popping on the app store to find that a game called Weed Firm was number one on the charts, sporting a big old marijuana leaf. It’s not the sort of thing you expect to see on the app store. The App store is a place to artsy games or games that appease causal gamers that like to farm pigs and corn, right? Well apparently there was a demand for it and the fact it stood out in the charts meant that it is not about an image but about what the people want, right? Well apparently not, as Apple pulled it from the store … right. While the game developer Manitoba vowed to be back, I wouldn’t be surprised if we continue to see games like this pulled from the app store as well as many other games and app that Apple view as ‘unsavoury’. But what of the game itself … 

Well I downloaded this games to see what all the fuss was about, and yes, the fact that a game about weed being in number one was very, very interesting to me, I had to see what all the fuss was about. As it turns out, we have been here before. Now I don’t mean selling weed, but Weed Firm does what many simulator games do and that is, suck you into your own little world.

There is very little plot to this game and while there is a nice little comic that shows a guy down on his luck that starts selling weed, we don’t need a story. The aim of the game is to make as much money as possible and for this, you are going to need to grow and sell weed. You will start of with one pot that will need to be watered regularly, but as you progress you can buy better and more pots, buy better seeds that produce more and buy floor and wallpaper that will increase the frequency of visits. There are a few extras, such as a record player, the tapes for which you can buy to increase XP, but largely you will be focused with the watering, pots and seeds. This is a simple formulae that works well. The plants take real time to grow, allowing yourself to do something else and come back, the same way you can do with many sims available. There is no magic object to instantly grow a plant and while fertiliser can be brought to make it faster, the lack of a magic ‘grow it now button’ means that the opportunity to add micro transactions are not there. While you can pay money for in game currency, there is no real need to, making this a game that can be played successfully by anyone.

The best part about this game is the people that buy the weed. There are 12 different characters that come to the door and you get to know each one. There is the unemployed guy that only ever buys your cheapest product and the party animal that will eat through your supply. Each one had a quirky attitude and while the simple speech repeats, it doesn’t get old quickly. You can also choose to smoke a joint and, later on, a bong with each character either causing them to leave or buy even more. This creates a nice little scenario where you are guessing who will take it and who you should just cut your losses and sell quickly. This makes you genuinely feel like a drug lord and it’s pretty funny when you step back and realise what you are actually playing.

Beyond that, there are some gangsters that will try to take your money unless you hide it or pay them a protection fee, but after you get a safe they will no longer be a hassle, and there are police that will effectively do the same thing, but they will also destroy your plants. Different mini games such as getting a stripper to dance for you can be an interesting distraction from the game, but the main mechanic is what keeps you playing. Overall, its not a game that you will be playing for months, but it had me entertained for a week. FYI, Apple, I don’t want t be a drug dealer after playing Weed Firm, so maybe you can lighten up.