Supercell’s huge farming hit is a good game – excellent even. I’d score it a bit higher if it weren’t for the usual free2play model where micro-payments add up to ridiculous amounts. But Hayday can be played purely without the extra payments. There are some minor annoyances which would be easy to bypass with money, but they aren’t something that I’d consider deal breakers.
Hayday is casual and cute. Most of the time it is very relaxing and rewarding. Everything the player does gives out exp and/or gold, and there are no real setbacks in the game at all. I can definitely recommend Hayday for every ages. My kids have been playing it since they were around 3 years old.
When the game starts there isn’t a lot to do yet. Unless one is prepared to spend all their diamonds (the rarer currency heavily tied to micro-payments), there will be some waiting required. If someone wants an intense farming experience with play sessions lasting for hours on end, with Hayday, they’d have to pay. Every farmed plot, planted bush and processed ingredient requires a certain amount of time to become ready. So especially in the beginning, it’s recommended to play Hayday with short visits into the game now and then.
Later on the farm will start to flourish. There’s mining, fishing, boat loading and neighborhood competitions. At one point the village nearby will open up and the farmer can set up some shops there to serve visitors. After some critical point there is always something happening and it becomes possible to play the game pretty much 24/7.
Hayday relies somewhat heavily on community. It is possible to set up a small neighborhood with a couple of friends and keep competing with it – or try to find a decent community by oneself. Playing completely solo isn’t very rewarding. Mostly because ingredient trading happens pretty much only between players, and several actions in the game get bonuses from other people’s help.
The biggest hindrance in the game is not the community, it’s storage space. The items to expand one’s warehouses are rare. This is something that probably pushes a lot of people towards the micro-payments. Scrolling through other people’s wares is very random and usually all the better goods are bought immediately, leaving empty stalls to browse. It can seriously take forever to gather the right resources for warehouse updates.
If one is easily lured into micro-payments, Hayday can definitely milk them dry. The game offers very decent sales for the paid resources. I have been tempted. Overall the advertising is rather unobtrusive. I’ve learned to ignore the few notifications when I’m playing.
I’ve “quit” Hayday for a few times already. But the game is always ready to welcome one back. And it’s really easy to pick up the pace again. I personally still prefer games that can be bought fully: no payments for goods or skipping time, no lesser content for some. But Hayday is a fun, cute and pretty functional f2p mobile game. I’ve played it surprisingly long, and my kids will probably suck me in again a few times more.