Ranch Simulator Review – The backwoods farm in test

Ranch Simulator Review
The hillbilly farm in test
Ranch Simulator Review
The hillbilly farm in test

In the review of the simulation game Ranch Simulator, we talk about animals, a little business, and a lot of rain

In the Early Access game Ranch Simulator, we build our own little farm in the middle of nowhere, and that even with multiplayer gameplay. In the Ranch Simulator review, I show you if it’s fun, what the game’s condition is like & how well it works.

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This article is available here as text, but also as a YouTube video (German voice-over, many subtitles). This way you can choose how you would like to enjoy it most.

Ranch Simulator Review Video

German Voice-Over, many subtitles

Ranch Simulator Review – Intro

Hi there, this is the Zap. In this Ranch Simulator Review, you will get a little insight into the new Farming Simulator game with some economy and hunting. I will tell you how it is played, what is in it and at the end, there will be a rating from me. But most of all I want to give you all the info so you can decide for yourself if the game could be fun for you.

The game is developed by Toxic Dog and published by Excalibur Games. So far there is only one moderately successful game from this team, Catch a Lover, and a couple of fairly popular mods for Ark Survival Evolved. I received a free trial key, my thanks for that. However, this should have no influence on my rating, as I always test all games with the thought in the back of my mind, how would I feel if I had paid full price.

Ranch Simulator Game Type

Ranch Simulator Review
Game Type
Ranch Simulator Review
Game Type

In the game Ranch Simulator, we inherit an ancient dilapidated farm somewhere in the no man’s land of the northwestern USA. Upon arrival, we repair our ancient clunker car from parts, tear down the old farmhouse, and buy some first chickens. We cut down trees, saw them apart in the still-functioning sawmill that belongs to the farm, and use the planks to build ourselves a new, simple farmhouse.

After a short tutorial, Ranch Simulator offers sandbox gameplay, where you might eventually work your way up from a tiny chicken farm to a large cattle ranch or a noble horse farm (though the horses aren’t available yet). And if you like, you can do it all with up to four players at once in multiplayer.

After that, there are a few options to choose from, because to further expand our farm, we urgently need money. The fuel for the car, which is more like a rickety golf cart, and for the saw will not be gifted to us either. In the three stores in the area, there are some cars, various animals and a selection of tools on sale. But there are also new dwelling variants and various stables that we could build. But everything costs a lot of money that we don’t have, at least not yet.

We can earn the cash we need by taking stuff to the General Store, which is far away, and selling it there. Here we can sell the eggs from our chickens, or the wood from the sawmill, but we won’t get rich quickly with that. So we can also go hunting and shoot deer or wolves with our old Colt and turn their meat into money.

With further investment, we will have pig farms and cows in addition to the chicken farm. Cattle and horse breeding, meat and cheese production, and some other farm activities are also planned for the time after the Early Access launch.

Ranch Simulator Test 
World and Scope
Ranch Simulator Test
World and Scope

Gameplay – World and Scope

The world of Ranch Simulator consists of a, roughly estimated, 2 by 2 km valley, in which, apart from our farm, there is a car dealer, a gas station, and the General Store as activities on offer. There are a few other places besides that, but they are all completely empty so far.

Speaking of empty, the world basically doesn’t look that boring, but overall there is very little to do apart from the farm. You can roam the woods, spot a few sights where nothing is happening. Sneak up on deer or get bitten in the butt by wolves, but then the attractions also run out quickly.


Ranch Simulator Multiplayer

Ranch Simulator Multiplayer
Ranch Simulator Multiplayer

Let’s get to a great strength of this game, the multiplayer mode. This is already working very well from a technical point of view. And many things that don’t look so exciting at the beginning, definitely become a bit more entertaining by playing together with friends. There are so many simulator games, but 4 player co-op gameplay is offered by only a few.

Here, Ranch Simulator can definitely rake in some points that it wouldn’t as a solo-only game. Cruising around together in the rattling car, stealing the eggs from the chickens’ nests, or circling the deer while hunting. It’s all a lot more fun as a team than working around the farm alone in the solitude of the backwoods.


Tech, Graphics, Sound

Ranch Simulator Gameplay
Tech, Graphics, Sound, Engine, SFX, GFX
Ranch Simulator Gameplay
Tech, Graphics, Sound, Engine, SFX, GFX

Ranch Simulator uses Unreal Engine 4, so there are relatively usable graphics for a simulator game, and the stability and network mode work decently as well.

The graphics are overall quite pretty, there are day and night changes, though you should urgently turn up the gamma if you don’t want to tap around completely in the black at night. There are nice sunny days and lots of rain and thunderstorms. Later on, there should probably be seasons and possibly snow, but at the moment that’s not present.

Overall, though, the visuals are really okay. The character creation allows to customize the characters extensively and also the animations are between passable to good, even if there are some outliers to the bottom.

Very special pluses are the animations and the behavior of the animals because these are really respectable. It was fun for me and my fellow testers just to watch the chickens pecking. When you eventually get cute hatchlings, and they tap around and grow into chickens, it’s a nice event, at least the first time.

The controls are okay, except for the horrible oversteering of some vehicles. But it gets better with other vehicles, and there are also some options menus that allow changes to controls, graphics, sound, and a few other settings.

There is no voice output, but halfway usable texts in English and also German. But besides a few descriptions of items, short quest texts and some tutorial screens, there is not much to read either. The soundtrack is so at the lower end of the scale, not a total failure, but also just barely off.

Ranch Simulator Screenshots InGame

Click or tap into the image for a larger view.
In the enlarged view, you can scroll right and left on the edges

Ranch Simulator Test – Opinion and Conclusion

Ranch Simulator Test
Opinion and Conclusion
Ranch Simulator Test
Opinion and Conclusion

The biggest downer right away: In the advertising screens for the game a building mode is suggested, in which one could build houses from individual parts. This was a point of interest to me, as I was thinking of Ark, Valheim, or similar games, where you can build a house from floor plates, doors, walls, and roof parts as you like.

However, this is unfortunately only the case in demolition mode. Because while you can disassemble the old farmhouse piece by piece into individual parts, the new building is completely put down as a blueprint, without you being able to influence it. After that, you only have to drag wooden planks there, and then the building is finished. So, unfortunately, these screens are quite fake and caused me a bitter disappointment. It is not possible to build freely. Who wants to play around in a construction mode, will not be satisfied here.

So far, for a ranch simulator, I also miss the cultivation and harvesting of plants. You could get a lot, lot of additional gameplay here, but so far the game focuses almost entirely on the care and propagation of animals and the sale of such products.

What still needs some tweaking is the balancing of the economic cycles. Some things are extremely expensive to buy but hardly bring in any revenue, and on the other hand hunting in the forest is a goldmine. Not everything makes sense here yet, and the overall picture of the economic simulation is very unbalanced.

Although the ideas behind some of the trading features could be really entertaining, the actual gameplay, unfortunately, consists of endless repetition far too often. With a bit of tweaking here and there and a par of convenience features, it would certainly be more fun.

Why shouldn’t you be able to sell 50 planks with one click right from the truck bed if you’ve already cut them up one by one, loaded them up, and brought them to the store? No, you have to carry each board separately to the farthest corner of the store, for a dollar a plank, yawn… And in doing so, you absolutely have to respect store hours, even if the trade is done through a computer anyway, and the clerk sits impassively at the counter playing on her cell phone, regardless of whether it is open or closed…

A big problem I see currently is the price-performance ratio. The developers set a price of 25$ or roughly 21 € at the Early Access launch and have thereby larger parts of the content still not ready. And overall, there is simply not enough game content for the money asked. The world design is still extremely patchy and very flimsy, some ideas are nice, but so far poorly implemented and many features are not available at all.

The team still has a lot of work to do with the game, in almost every menu you can see numerous other animals, stables, cars, etc. But unfortunately, so far only a small part of this is available. Here you can roughly say that at the Early Access launch you will only get about half a game or even less, but still, you will be charged at full price.

This game’s fun-per-price ratio can definitely get better after a few months, but now at the Early Access launch, I would only recommend buying it to gamers who want to play with friends in multiplayer and genuinely enjoy the ranch setting. Otherwise, Ranch Simulator could be a big disappointment at this price.

For all other interested players, I can only advise you to wait and check the patch info on Steam from time to time to see if and if so which features have really been added to the game after the EA launch. There is an extensive roadmap that covers the coming year and promises features such as meat production, more vehicles, and horse breeding until the fall.

But that doesn’t give you a guarantee that all the hinted-at animals, cars, and features will actually come. If so, the game definitely has some potential. But at the moment it’s really still very deep in its development stage and still a long way from a finished game, and there’s no guarantee that it will ever arrive at its destination.

Ranch Simulator Review Rating

Ranch Simulator Review
Rating
Ranch Simulator Review
Rating

All in all, Ranch Simulator is a nice early access game that still needs a lot of work from the developers before it will be a full game. Due to the multiplayer mode it somehow already has a legitimacy of existence, but the price of $25 or just under €21 is really steep for the meager content offered so far.

Taking the single-player gameplay so far and the current gameplay possibilities, Ranch Simulator gets a 70% base rating from me. The sometimes sloppy controls, empty landscapes in some areas, and overall just too little game content in combination with a relatively high price to play, then lead to a hefty 15% devaluation. However, the really fun and in this genre rather rare multiplayer mode gets Ranch Simulator an upgrade of 5% on the other side.

This brings me to a current final rating for Ranch Simulator at Early Access launch of 60%. Should the developers really bring all planned features into the game in the course of the next months and still optimize the balancing and the control abundantly, the game has quite the potential to rise up to 80%. But there is still some work to be done, and we have to see if that will really happen.

Ranch Simulator Review 
Rating with numbers 60 percent
Ranch Simulator Review
Rating with numbers 60 percent

Ranch Simulator

Zap from ZapZockt.de

Ranch Simulator Review Deutsch - Der Hinterwäldler Bauernhof im Test q
In the review of the simulation game Ranch Simulator, we talk about animals, a little business, and a lot of rain
In the Early Access game Ranch Simulator, we build our own little farm in the middle of nowhere, and that even with multiplayer gameplay. In the Ranch Simulator review, I show you if it’s fun, what the game’s condition is like & how well it works.
Simulation
Graphics
Sound
Economics
Scope and Game depths
Controls
Price-Performance

Summary

All in all, Ranch Simulator is a nice early access game that still needs a lot of work from the developers before it will be a full game. Due to the multiplayer mode it somehow already has a legitimacy of existence, but the price of $25 or just under €21 is really steep for the meager content offered so far.

Taking the single-player gameplay so far and the current gameplay possibilities, Ranch Simulator gets a 70% base rating from me. The sometimes sloppy controls, empty landscapes in some areas, and overall just too little game content in combination with a relatively high price to play, then lead to a hefty 15% devaluation. However, the really fun and in this genre rather rare multiplayer mode brings Ranch Simulator an upgrade of 5% on the other side.

This brings me to a current final rating for Ranch Simulator at Early Access launch of 60%. Should the developers really bring all planned features into the game in the course of the next months and still optimize the balancing and the control abundantly, the game has quite the potential to rise up to 80%. But there is still some work to be done, and we have to see if that will really happen.

3

Outro

Do you like raising chickens and deer hunting in the backwoods? Or are the Hillibillies too shallow and does the ranch life smell too severe to you? Feel free to write me your opinion in the comments or in the Community Discord

More gaming news, game reviews, and guides can be found on the YouTube channel or here at https://zapzockt.de – Thumbs up, subscribe and share with friends certainly can’t hurt, and then I wish you a great day, ciao ciao, your Zap

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Ranch Simulator Steam Page

Dev Website

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Zap

Dirk "Zap" von ZapZockt.de, 40+ Gamer, zockt seit 1980 vor allem Strategie Titel, MMOs und Rollenspiele. Schreibt Game Reviews, Gaming News und auch mal über Technik, Hardware und YouTube. Mehr Infos findest Du unter Mehr über Zap lesen ◄----------► Dirk "Zap" from ZapZockt.de, 40+ gamer, has been gaming since 1980, mainly strategy titles, MMOs and RPGs. Writes game reviews, gaming news and also sometimes about technology, hardware and YouTube. Click here, if you want to read more about Zap.

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