I contacted the developers at 3100 games and asked if they would provide a free Steam key for review and they were nice enough to provide me with one to write this article.
What is Scapeland?
Scapeland is a farming simulator game with a pretty simple concept and gameplay mechanics. Because this game was designed as a project for a group of students that were attending a university, Scapeland is rather short and it also has a few glitches.
The glitches you may encounter is getting stuck upon leaving the house, FPS stutters when the game is on high (even though graphically it doesn’t seem like it should be that demanding), and others reported random crashes, but I personally never had that issue. I finished the main story in about an hour and a half, then spent a few more minutes roaming around trying to unlock all the achievements just to see what else the game had to offer.
Gameplay and controls
I’m going to spoil things for you a little bit, the farming aspect is rather short. The game has three parts to it, so I’ll start with the farming. You start off by choosing between playing a male or female. You have a chicken pen and a single chicken that you start with, as long as it is inside the pen by the end of the day it will lay a single egg by morning, which you can collect to gain money. You also start with a few crops already planted just to get you started, which you can also pick up to gain money.
You don’t have to eat or care for your health like in Harvest Moon, so it is pretty straight forward. You use the money to walk over to a small shop that’s not far from your farm to buy seeds and supplies, which will eventually make you more money. However, I don’t think there is actually a way to purchase all the upgrades…
Scapeland uses a throwing system to throw items around, and you use that same function to throw and plant seeds, catch your chicken if it escapes the pin to throw it back, and throw rocks at birds that try to eat your planted seeds. You also have a sneak button, which you use to catch your chicken in case it gets out. That thing is evil and if it spots you it will take off running, so you have to use stealth to get behind it and quickly grab it before it notices you.
The second part of the game is when the military shows up and things get complicated. The entire game changes into a stealth puzzle game where you have to sneak past the guards to escape and gain your freedom. The guards patrol around on a set path with a vision cone in front of them similar to the older Metal Gear games, but as the game progresses it becomes more and more difficult to make it out of the enemy territory without being spotted.
Players will be able to pick up items such as broken bottles and rocks as they go along to throw them to distract the guards, which is a neat little feature that you will have to use in a variety of ways to navigate. You can also press a button to scroll the camera around to get a better look around the area before making your move, which really comes in handy when you need to dash through a complex series of enemies.
The last part to Scapeland is the running sequence. It plays out like Mobile running games and you have to run left, right, slide, and jump over a variety of obstacles to reach freedom. However, as the stages progress they become a lot more challenging to complete and have more obstacles blocking your path.
Should you buy it?
I will say that if you buy this you should REALLY be aware that it isn’t really a farm simulator, and therefore you shouldn’t treat it as one. It is telling a story without a single drop of dialogue, but I still enjoyed the game. It was a game for a school university project, so don’t expect a triple A title here. Graphically the game has a cartoonish polygon art style, but I felt it matched the narrative of the game and fit perfectly with the gameplay.
I actually really liked how the skills you learn on the farm serves as a tutorial to eventually help you out in the second part of the game. Oddly enough, all three parts tie together perfectly to tell the story about how a small farmers life changes for the worse. The only downside is that the farming aspect feels a bit lacking, and could be misleading if that is what you are looking for in this game. There doesn’t seem to be any way to actually get back to your farm to continue your progress. The way Scapeland is designed, I could easily see them porting it over to become a mobile title and it would still work just as well.
The few glitches I came across aren’t game breaking, but they can be annoying. Most of the bugs can be fixed by saving and quitting and reloading the stage (which takes a matter of seconds). The last part that is a pain is the stealth aspect, it can sometimes be a bit tedious trying to brainstorm how to get past a large group of guards without being caught using nothing but two rocks, but I personally didn’t mind the challenge.
Overall, for $3.99 this isn’t a bad little indie game and I quite enjoyed it. If you want to waste about 2 hours to see what it is about, or pay to support the devs to see what else they come up with in the future, then yes I recommend you give it a try. If you are on the fence about purchasing it just wait for a Steam sale. For more information you can visit the Steam store page for additional details.