Weedcraft Inc Review: Familiar But Robust Foray into the Weed Business Sim Genre
I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole "weed culture" thing, but it would be disingenuous to claim I'm not a part of it. Life is weird. The end.
I've been sitting on Weedcraft Inc for a while. Well, not sitting. Playing it on and off, and I've come away feeling that it's a familiar formula. Players of games like Hemp Tycoon and Hempire, as I've been through the years, will find themselves right at home with Weedcraft Inc's bud growing and selling.
If you've ever been interested in a weed-growing or weed-selling game and so far stayed away, it's surely because of hyperbolic million-years of waiting and the dishwater taste of dirty microtransactions.
That's always what chases me away, for pretty good reason: The F2P formula for these games sucks.
Weedcraft Inc is very familiar in a lot of ways, sure, but it's not because it skins the player of their hard-earned cash and even more valuable time. There are no microtransactions for upgrading your grow room (or anything), and in-game time is adjustable. You can wait for your plants to bloom into beautiful nug mini-trees or you can just crank the speed and get it done in a fraction of the time.
I mention these things first and foremost because the "weed growing" subgenre of time- and general-management games is generally so predatory. That's not the case here; it's important to make that distinction.
You pay for the game to avoid the bull.
Getting to Business
If you've played this sort of game before, does this sound familiar?
You don't have a job for whatever reason and you have a sketchy relative or friend who introduces you to growing and selling leaf because you need the money.
Yeah, it does. Luckily this game isn't a story-driven experience, so it doesn't really matter.
In the first and "basic" scenario in Weedcraft Inc, you begin your efforts from your own home in an area where marijuana is illegal. You've got to stay low and avoid getting in trouble with the police while selling your bud at one of the local spots.
At the start, these tasks are easy. The first police officer you have to regularly deal with isn't exactly hard on growers and, with a little ego-stroking and casual compliance, he'll let you off the hook more often than not. Competing dealers don't start moving in for a bit, and you only have a few strains to work with. All is well.
Things do get interesting when the other dealers start moving in, though.
Dealing with your competitors can be handled with a two-pronged approach. When you sell in a spot where there's a competing dealer, their influence on that spot diminishes. You can also take it straight to another faction's head honcho and get one of your employees to spy and dig up dirt on them. You can use this info to either befriend or blackmail them into leaving the spot or giving you a strain they have.
This system can be turned back around on you as well. Other dealers can push you out of selling spots, forcing you to reinvest in it to set up shop once more.
You can hire employees in each city you set up in to handle the day-to-day of your blooming weed dealing business. Don't like manually tending the buds? You can hire someone to do that. Would you rather spend your time tending than selling? You can hire employees to get out there and hock your wares, too.
Actually taking care of your plants should be familiar to anyone who's played a game focused around marijuana cultivation. You can trim them to increase their quality, water them to increase their growth rate, and install new equipment to alter your crops' quality and yield.
Do it right, and you may just figure out the right combination to get your strains into Rare-quality. Do it wrong, and you may make your crop barely worth the baggies its sold in while also increasing the police vigilance in the spot to a dangerous level.
You have to balance the dealing, growing, rival growth, and police awareness levels in your day-to-day. If you do it right in one city, you can leave your employees to handle it and move onto the next to do it all again in a different flavor.
Between everything, you have a lot to do during your time in Weedcraft Inc. Getting your strains just right takes a lot of trial and error, and keeping under the radar requires planning carefully.
In areas where marijuana is legal, you don't have to worry so much about the whole police thing. The sorts of people and your sales venues are a different sort of affair in legal cities, not to mention you swap front businesses for advertising.
Managing multiple cities does get to be a headache after a while, especially if you are playing the game mostly at max speed. It just feels like a lot to deal with at a certain point, which in turn may make you slow it down and play the game like its F2P brethren, though honestly, that's just less fun.
Too Similar or Just Similar Enough?
Weedcraft Inc is easily the most fleshed-out and expansive of the weed business games I've played, but it perhaps could be something a little more. Developers Vile Monarch may have set out to just make a game like Hempire and its ilk that's just not a skinner box, and in that, they've succeeded. It's basically exactly what someone who enjoys these sorts of games would want.
However, that very adherence to the norm is its biggest weakness. Weedcraft Inc doesn't try anything truly new or exciting, most of what you can find here can be found in games that cost $0. It's difficult to justify the purchase of this sort of game when you may get almost the same experience from something for free.
Weedcraft Inc certainly has an audience in those who already enjoy weed business titles and are sick of tossing money at them to continue without waiting a lifetime. I do enjoy them and find them relaxing from time to time, so I do fit into that demographic. Waiting as much as you do in most of these games, frankly, blows.
People who aren't interested in these types of games probably won't have a good time, though. Even with the dynamic speed options, it's still fairly slow as you're mostly just hold-clicking buttons to finish transactions and trimming plants. It keeps you busy, but it's not exciting busywork.
At the end of the day, Weedcraft Inc is the most expansive title of this sort. You literally will not be able to find a weed business sim with more features and freedom. That's all a huge plus, but this one won't make you suddenly love the genre if you've tried these games before and came out disappointed.
- A full weed business sim without any IAPs
- Plenty of things to keep track of and tend to as you progress
- Probably the best in its genre
- Good soundtrack
- Not a cakewalk
- Lots of ways to modify your strains and their crops
- A little close to mobile and social games of the same genre for comfort
- The scenarios are sort of free-form but you can basically play yourself into a wall and have to restart (manually save often)
- Dealing with employees, rivals, and the police is just a bit too predictable and tedious
- Having to hold to sell or perform some other actions gets tedious fast
[Note: A copy of Weedcraft Inc was provided by Vile Monarch for the purpose of this review.]