We received the product for review and all opinions are our own.
I love a good phone game and I also love wine. So when I had the opportunity to review One hundred days, a wine game from Broken Arm Games, I jumped on it. I’m also a fan of open-ended board simulation games – e.g. Crossing animals– which are relaxed but provide a creative outlet. One hundred days falls into this category. And like many of these games, it has its strengths and weaknesses.
About the game
There are three game modes: story, endless and challenge. Players must start in story mode to understand the game and also get the necessary tutorial. Endless is like a story game, but with limited information in the tutorial. The challenge is something for those who played the whole story mode; this part cannot be played without full knowledge of the game.
The story mode will guide you step by step through several years of owning and operating the vineyard. Your character, Emma, recently acquired a vineyard and winery in Italy. Emma leaves her old office life and arrives in Italy to find Anna, her friendly and talkative neighbor. Anna helps Emma establish a connection and provides her with little things along the way.
The player interacts with the game by playing cards. These cards represent the actions needed for growing grapes, making wine and selling them and are accompanied by a number of “days” to complete them. They come around at a time when they can sometimes be played, but some appear at less convenient times, such as harvesting when it rains or early winter pruning. When the player is ready, he places each card in the “vineyard”. A player may discard more than one card at a time if there is room. To perform more than one action a day requires regular upgrades to the size of the vineyard, but I found that after two upgrades I moved much better.
Of course, improving vineyards, new equipment and other useful items costs money, and the only way to really make money is to produce and sell wine. Fortunately, characters appear in story mode to help teach Emma and the players about making wine. The story mode guides the player through the process while providing interesting information on vineyard management, harvesting and wine production. Several characters will help you on this journey.
- Teo, a friendly vineyard manager, provides useful information on weeding, vacuuming, crop harvesting, pruning and harvesting.
- Gianni is an oenologist. This grumpy guy helps in many different stages and provides important information about stalking and crushing; fermentation, including duration and pumping / overpressure; and pressing.
- The local owner of the Satoshi winery helps with tasting and buying wine. He also helps connect with other characters such as journalist Carlo and buyers. To many, the owner of a Japanese wine bar in Italy finds it strange; however, this is an obvious homage to the manga drops of god.
Strengths and weaknesses
The game has certain strengths. One is the traditional ability to design that social simulation games often have and provide a creative outlet. Initially, you can create a profile that includes your name and logo. Logo design gives you options for image, background and color. When filling into bottles, you can choose the color of the bottle, the type of bottle, the seal (eg cork) and the label.
It’s also a very forgiving game. The wine produced receives a rating on a typical 100-point scale. While most are used to seeing ratings in the 80’s and 90’s, early batches will not be in this range. After four years, I started in the 60’s and got into the 70’s. It may sound bad, but Satoshi assures me that wine is good and sold.
His greatest strength is in education. The story mode provides good information about the grape growing process, wine production and sales. The game was partly designed by people in the industry, including several helpful winemakers and wineries. It provides simple information to help novice players while providing more detailed information for those with some wine experience and knowledge.
However, it has its drawbacks. This includes some missing information about different events, recurring nature and size. In fact, due to some of these shortcomings, I didn’t want to play, so at the time of writing, I have yet to complete story mode.
Winemaking lessons only work if the player knows what the different entries mean. The game has target numbers for sweetness, tannins and body. However, the areas in which the process is adapted to deal with this are not clear. Gianni states that Barbera (the first grapes grown) needs 2/10 sweetness and tannin and the wine bar has 10 stains. However, there are three different warnings when choosing the method of pressing, etc. There is a full bar, which I assumed to mention the number of 10. There were also bars with moving “drops”, which I never came up with. Then there is the bar with the star, which can be read from the context: the star is a sweet dot.
The game repeats. This is a feature of open social simulation games. The events are not particularly diverse and do not provide much choice, probably due to the platform. I quickly found myself playing cards, selling wine and expanding my vineyard and equipment.
Above all, it can be difficult to read and use on the phone screen. The text is small; Add some special colors and font options and the text can be very difficult to read. This can stop playing, similar to not knowing what certain entries mean. However, the game targets the Nintendo Switch; the normal screen is much larger, but it will also be possible to play it through the TV (for compatible switches).
One hundred days has a lot to recommend. This game will provide those who have some basic knowledge of wine and want to learn more. I gained my knowledge by learning from grape growers, winemakers and studying wine, as well as by reading drops of god helped me navigate the game and get more out of the educational part. I enjoyed being able to make decisions in the game and see the results – immediate and long-term.
However, it is not suitable for anyone looking for a simple phone game. Gaming sessions are generally best if they last 30 minutes or more (two to three times the average mobile gaming time) and require concentration that other popular titles do not require. Sometimes it can be difficult to find and difficult to read. Hopefully, some of these problems are likely to be a minor issue when heading to Switch.
Get the app One hundred days at your phone’s app store today!