Farm Blitz

Common Sense Media says

Managing the farm makes financial literacy fun.

Age(i)

2
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5
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9
10
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17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Responsible financial behavior is the focus of this game.

Positive role models

Kyra, the narrator (who is also your instructor on the rules of the game), offers plenty of good information and financial advice. 

Ease of play

The game combines familiar formats, and an on-screen narrator makes frequent appearances for tutorials and advice.

Violence

Dynamite sticks can be purchased to rid the farm of pesky bunnies at later stages of the game. There is no graphic violence.

Privacy & safety

Players can sign up for an optional account to post scores to a leaderboard. This requires submitting an email address, but the account isn't required to play.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Farm Blitz is about as addictive as Web-based financial-literacy games get. Developed by the Boston-based non-profit Doorways to Dreams Fund, the game joins the casual match-3 mechanics of a Bejeweled or Candy Crush Saga with the engaging simplicity of sims like FarmVille. Well-suited for early teens (and many adults), Farm Blitz bakes up a nearly perfect combination of puzzles: on one hand, a playful matching game to get the farm's vegetables in a row, and on the other, a challenge to line up solvent finances. Most players making it through one or two rounds likely will work hard to beat the game and might even come to understand compound interest as a result.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • money

Social Studies

  • the economy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • problem solving

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • making wise decisions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Match-3 games are accountable for endless screen addictions, so it's no shock that "tending" the crop can become an obsession. Luckily, matching isn't all it offers, and tinkering with farm finances won't feel as forced as you might think.

Learning Approach

Despite narrator Kyra's constant coaching, even wonky concepts like compound interest don't feel force-fed, and players are given room to fail. As in life, "aha" moments that sink in deepest come from making mistakes.

Support

Tips and tutorials play out during the start-up narrative and appear regularly as mouseovers on the money-management screens. Help is ample, but it's all text-based, so struggling readers might get frustrated.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • money

Social Studies

  • the economy

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • decision-making
  • problem solving

Responsibility & Ethics

  • fiscal responsibility
  • making wise decisions

Kids can learn a few tenets of financial literacy and experience the outcomes of their own good and bad choices without the threat of losing their allowance. Life on the farm illustrates relationships among debt, savings, and cash. Most will likely learn to fear finance charges, get interested in...interest, and have a basic but working understanding of how savings can yield even more savings by compounding. Obviously, learning the vocabulary of financial literacy is a big win, too. Farm Blitz introduces kids to principles of managing money in a way that transfers equally to personal or professional environments.

This Learning Rating review was written by Marc Lesser

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What's it about?

FARM BLITZ begins with an origin story from an animated on-screen narrator, Kyra. Players have inherited a farm (along with its preexisting debt) and are challenged to manage both its crops and its finances, building a net worth that wins \"Farm God\" status (everyone starts out as an \"Agricultural Novice\"). There are two key game spaces: a grid of crops where the mindless but addictive matching game happens, and a separate dashboard where players manage earnings and debt by moving their money around. Players who can't maintain a balance generally suffer one of two fates. The overzealous farmer buys up more seeds than he can afford, causing debt bunnies to pile up in a pen near the fields (and on their balance sheet), or the nervous Ned saves religiously and draws things out for way too long (even if he ultimately wins the game). The only way to win the farm free and clear is to pay down debt, transfer cash into assets, and use fiscal stability to stave off catastrophe (mostly weather-related) and your creditors.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Players who approach Farm Blitz with reasonable expectations for a free financial-literacy game will be thrilled to find solid graphics, an engaging narrative, and smart interplay between catchy mechanics and well-supported learning objectives. Even the game's villains are cleverly tied in. As players tend the farm, bunny rabbits slowly populate a pen next to the crop. Each one represents debt that acquires interest over time. When too many rabbits crowd the pen, they begin digging holes and gobbling up the crop. Who knew bunnies could feel so evil?

In-game supports are generally well done, mixing mouseover tips for financial terms like net worth with narrated guide-on-the-side interjections at well-timed intervals, though important information occasionally moves by at a speed that's a bit too fast to process. A few details are unclear, like why players need a loan each time they buy seeds, but any shortcuts in the narrative are made up for with clear messaging when it's most necessary.

Families can talk about...

  • Parents and children can discuss debt. How does borrowing money pose a long-term threat to a person's finances? What is responsible borrowing and what is irresponsible?

  • Talk about interest and how it applies to both savings and debt.

  • Discuss how relevant concepts in the game relate to current events.

Game details

Platforms:Mac, Windows
Price:Free
Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Not available online
Release date:June 1, 2010
Genre:Simulation

This review of Farm Blitz was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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