The Brilliance Displayed by a Game Called Hay Day

The arrival of one of the most anticipated titles of the past few years seems to be something akin to a gaming epiphany, so to speak. Amid rumor, bad news and confusion, SuperCell’s strange week in the videogame industry spotlight reveals nothing except that this is one company that knows games and gamers, even if everything else is up in the air.

What game are we talking about? Hay Day, of course. With its ambitious goal of taking mobile gamers to places that only PC players had been previously (online), developer Supercell has gloriously succeeded in full 3D — with vibrant, colorful textures to boot. Taking an obvious page from the premier simulators, multiplayer antics of previous series, Hay Day, in fact, more refines a formula than redefines a genre.

While countless previews have hit the web and print magazines outlining its general mechanics and gameplay, for the uninitiated, Hay Day is a farming simulation game that can either be played online.

Prepare for an overload the minute you plunge into an online room filled with Hay Day-obsessed folk speaking every language and eager to level up their characters just like you. Navigation and signing up for game is amazingly easy for first-timers, but you’ll have to contend with some strangely delayed character rendering and the annoying habit of speech “bubbles” clogging up your screen if there are tons of people in the lobby.

The structure of the game is this: to grow up a farm from scratch.But there’s a downside to every group experience, virtual or physical. Grabbing diamonds sometimes boils down to who gets to them the fastest, but this is also part of the strategy in Hay Day. Open new window for more information on Hay Day and its updated hack.

SuperCell has done a commendable job giving gamers all sorts of ways to communicate with one another, be it simple mail, cards or universal “translators.” While the universal bit doesn’t work as smoothly as we’d hoped (it makes gamers scroll through a clumsy network of preset phrases), the effort is definitely there and makes asking someone who doesn’t speak English “Where are you from?” easier than breaking out a foreign-language dictionary.

Though Sega has pulled off the unthinkable feat of placing a high-quality online farming simulation game, the project doesn’t come off without a few hitches. Yes, Hay Day does have a lot of slowdown that occurs during big farm maps with loads of elements and players running around. Yes, there is lag that will really confuse players who see their friends appearing and reappearing at odd locations on the screen. Yes, there are instances of hard crashes and soft crashes that will boot you off the server so you’ll have reconnect. Yes, the game could use more diversity in its farm designs and more brain-work in its overly simplistic “step on this switch and have a friend step on the other” puzzles

BUT (and it’s a big “but”) this is a game that’s so expertly constructed in its pick up ‘n’ play controls, mechanics, simple but well-plotted systems and painfully gorgeous graphics (SuperCell clearly gets something out of the DC that loads of other third parties can’t seem to figure out) that it’s best to keep your opinions to yourself until you’ve played it online. Then, make up your mind whether you want to trash the game (probably not) or keep playing and get your farm to level 62. For most gamers, the answer is the latter. With a high addiction factor and groundbreaking console design, this isn’t a game that any mobile owner should pass up. And it stands as a testament, flaws and all, that SuperCell, no matter what it decides to do in the future or how it’s gonna do it, is delivering the content that will dictate what most gamers will see on other systems for years to come.