On hiatus for a few years, the latest installment in the popular Farming Simulator series has finally arrived on the Nintendo Switch. It invites players to “let the good times grow!”, despite games of this nature being paradigms of acquired-taste. But, to sow some seeds of generalization, most can appreciate farm life, even if it isn’t for them. This digital iteration eliminates the early morning hours, hard labor, financial risks, and smells, making for a more welcoming take on the niche genre. Let’s dig into what this title’s about.

I should note that although I’ve played other simulations, including farming ones, this is my first experience with this particular series. Hence, comparisons to previous versions will be skipped by necessity. However, it’s worth mentioning that while Farming Simulator 23 has a price consistent with the previous entry, the initial launch version was priced at only $19.99. Therefore, it’s important to individually assess whether the content is worth more than twice the price.

Like many titles in this genre, the learning curve is considerable. It’s highly recommended to take advantage of the fine tutorial and make ample use of the help feature, especially during the initial couple of hours. Tutorial enhancements are forthcoming via a patch, and game tips are also available throughout your playtime. Fortunately, your animals won’t perish due to neglect; they will simply stop producing. However, boosting your diverse crop yield requires both patience and time—there’s no way around it. But if this game “cultivates” with you, don’t be surprised if a few single-digit hours quickly turn into double-digit ones.

Speaking of time, you have the flexibility to adjust the in-game clock in various ways. Real-time will not be suitable for everyone, but with eight speed settings (ranging from normal to as fast as 90x), you can customize the title to a pace that’s perfect for you. As promised, “there is always time to relax and stroll through your expansive arable land, experiencing the visual changes that unfold with the atmospheric seasons.” I’m certainly looking forward to seeing some autumn foliage as well as the challenges that a snowy winter brings. Strolling is also an ideal way to get acquainted with the various points of interest scattered throughout the sizable game worlds.

For those who prefer not to saunter with their virtual legs, there are plenty of vehicles to invest in. While it will take time before you can afford even a fraction of them, the satisfaction of watching your collection grow is undeniably rewarding. You can easily cycle between vehicles and assign AI workers to operate them as you desire. From tractors of various sizes and forestry machines to seeders, the list goes on. There are even “Technology” vehicles designed specifically for certain crops, which I found particularly noteworthy, especially as someone whose knowledge of farming machinery doesn’t extend beyond John Deere.

Whether or not you find such things intriguing might depend, in part, on your familiarity with other sims. Even with helpful features for “noobs,” Farming Simulator 23 appears to be primarily designed to appeal to existing series fans, for better or worse. It leaves you free to your own devices, without a campaign or specific scenario options. However, even those whose thumbs are more calloused from a controller than green from farming can appreciate the immersive first-person view of each vehicle and the occasional joyride off the beaten path. Well, everyone except my wife, who grew tired of watching my tractor tumble down hills and into someone’s backyard.

You have the convenience of saving at any time, and auto-saving also kicks in periodically. Additionally, there are camera and control settings, a colorblind mode, and other appreciated touches that enhance the overall experience. It’s a real shame that Farming Simulator 23 offers no in-game radio like other sims, as it could have provided some advantageous variety, especially considering the potential repetitiveness of the game. However, earning achievements is always a welcome sight and adds an extra layer of satisfaction, even in the relative silence of atmospheric effects.

Farming Simulator 23 is a well-executed title for what it is, and it even offers touch screen support for handheld players. However, it’s the type of game that’s best appreciated when you’re in the right mood. If and when that moment strikes, it can serve as a good, if somewhat repetitive way to unwind. The game provides plenty of incentives to keep you engaged, including two distinct environments. And even more improvements are on the way via a patch. If you’re a fan of this genre, Farming Simulator 23 can be a satisfactory choice, despite the shortage of music.