Chillingo, along with developer Riverman Media have teamed up to bring the popular casual game Cash Cow to the iPhone platform. Cash Cow is in essence a match-3 (or more) style game, with cute graphics, humourous puns, and addictive gameplay that is fun for people of all ages.
Your goal is to help Buck the Cow and his barnyard friends save Buck’s family farm from some evil bankers (never trust a pig with a mustache). To do this, you must count the loose change that Buck earned from “Cow Tipping”. Combine small coins to make bigger coins, and big coins to make dollar bills. Successfully complete a level, by reaching a target money goal. This money can then be used to purchase items to customize and fix up your farm. There are a pile of other items that will appear to vary gameplay and shake things up, including counterfeit money, ladybugs, gold nuggets, glowing coins, piggy banks and powerups.
Though the game had been previously released on other platforms, Riverman Media insists that the game is not just a port and was actually built from the ground up, specifically for the iPhone and iPod Touch platforms. We definitely didn’t feel like this was a cheap port of any kind, the game is smooth and the controls are simple, responsive and very intuitive.
Cash Cow has 5 different game modes, Arcade, Relaxed, Endless, Practice and Bonus. The Arcade and Relaxed modes of the game are identical save for a per-move timer in the Arcade mode to try to force players to make matches more quickly. The Endless mode is just that, you keep making matches, earning as much money as you can until you fail to beat the per-move timer. The Practice mode allows players to get used to the game’s mechanics without any consequences. Finally, the Bonus mode is a collection of tilt-motion controlled mini games where you attempt to roll coins down crazy contraptions and into buckets as quickly as you can.
We found Cash Cow to be a fun little casual game that you could just pick up and play in small stints, resuming where you left off whenever the opportunity arises. There are excellent instructions and tutorials throughout the game which explain any new game elements as they are introduced for the first time. Our favorite gameplay mode is certainly the Arcade mode, but the speed of the timer in this mode was just a bit too slow for our tastes. We would have really liked for this to run down a lot faster, providing a greater challenge for the less casual gamer.
The graphics are charming and appealing. The backdrop almost looks like a painting and Buck and his friend’s are really cute. Cash Cow’s soundtrack is made up of some authentic “down on the farm” sounding tunes that work well to get you into the spirit of the game. If you are one of those people who generally play games with the sound off, we recommend turning it on for at least the initial cut scenes where you get to hear the animals talking to one another, it’s hilarious.
Not only is Cash Cow fun to play, but we could easily see this being used by parents as an educational tool for their kids on multiple levels. First, the game teaches children basic counting and coin money exchange skills. Second, the game’s farm customization section can be used as a means for children to express themselves artistically. They can choose where to put the new farm items, their size and even their color. So if you want Buck’s barn to be blue, it can be. Finally, children will need to use reasoning skills when deciding what to buy for their farm with their limited funds. Compromises will need to be made as kids explore the trade-offs between saving up money to purchase a larger item (such as an apple tree) or a smaller item (like some daisies).
Cash Cow is a well polished, fun and inviting puzzler that forces players to think both analytically and artistically. If you want a game that will both entertain and enlighten both you and your kids, Cash Cow is a great choice. It is available on the App Store now for $2.99, or there is a free lite version if you want to try before you buy.