Review – Weedcraft Inc
Devolver Digital is one of my favorite publishers of all time. After a fantastic outing in 2018, I was excited to see what the company had in stock for 2019. It started off pretty well with the port of Downwell for the Switch and the release of the spectacular Ape Out, one of my favorite games of 2019 so far. Their follow-up? A game about selling weed. Only you Devolver, only you…
Weedcraft Inc is certainly a unique idea. In a world where the mere sight of a cigarette or a breast in a video game sparks an unnecessary amount of controversy, Weedcraft Inc flips the bird and provides an entire gaming experience revolved around growing and selling weed, as well as the consequences behind this “career”.
I think I need to clarify that I’m not a smoker, but I also don’t advocate against its legalization. I was actually curious to see what the developers were going to do with this taboo subject in gaming. I was expecting a game about creating a cannabis empire, and to be fair, I did accomplish that. I was also expecting to fight the law every now and then, and I did experience this as well.
I was also expecting a funny story. Something in the likes of the best stoner movies out there, like Pineapple Express or any movie starring Cheech and Chong. The fact that Weedcraft tries to pull off a joke by telling you that your real life is a lot more boring than playing the game, made me hopeful that I was going to play a stoner comedy in game form. The last thing I expected from a game like this was a grim and borderline depressing storyline. That’s what I got from Weedcraft Inc.
Picture this: the game starts off at your father’s funeral. You decide to make a living out of selling weed after being convinced by your brother to sell the joints your father used to smoke to ease the side effects of chemotherapy. Yikes. That’s a sucker punch if I ever saw one. From that moment on, it’s your typical “from rags to riches” plotline with some extra doses of decision making, politics, and choosing between being a legit licensed cannabis retailer or a kingpin. You need to choose between strengthening ties with other dealers or creating a rival cartel, or just deciding to use politics in your favor.
Sadly, in order to actually experience any of those depressing, but potentially interesting storylines, you need to endure the worst part of Weedcraft: playing the damn thing. This is, above anything else, a very shallow business simulator. Buy products, sell them at a profit, use said money to buy better equipment, new vending points, and so on. The only difference is that you’re dealing with ganja and not farm crops. To be fair, while people make fun of games like Farming Simulator, I doubt they are as boring as the gameplay that Weedcraft has to offer.
Have you ever heard of the expression “watching paint dry”? Well, Weedcraft has something a bit similar. You need to grow weed in order to sell it, and the game does a good job at showing the little seeds you grow turn into a plant big enough for you to harvest. Maybe too well, honestly. Your plants take a long time to become big enough to be harvested and there are moments in which you will literally be forced to wait for them to grow, all while doing some unnecessary quick-time events in order to improve their quality. Even though you can leave them be and focus on selling whatever weed you have at another screen, you’ll quickly run out of stock, especially in the first few hours of the game.
The act of selling your weed isn’t very fun either. Your stores will attract a certain type of clients, they will ask for a specific strain of weed, and all you need to do is set a price, click on their icon, hold it for a couple of seconds and ba da bing ba da boom, transaction complete. The game automatically sells the appropriate strain to the client, so you don’t even need to do the bare minimum of thinking for a second. That’s all, folks.
Being a game about cannabis and its culture, I was expecting Weedcraft Inc to feature decent graphics and a chill soundtrack, but that’s not what I got. The visuals are mostly comprised of (granted, well-made) static images of people, cannabis plants growing, and the blandest skyline of the blandest city I’ve ever seen in a game. There isn’t anything in here that’s terrible, but nothing that Weedcraft‘s graphical department provides is impressive in any way. The game’s soundtrack might actually be its worst aspect. Instead of mellow reggae or some psychedelic music, all you’re hear throughout the entire game is a collection of really obnoxious hip-hop samples. I don’t know how high you need to be to actually enjoy that.
There isn’t a better word to describe Weedcraft Inc other than disappointing. This could have been an entertaining and taboo-defying game in today’s day and age, but all it ended up being was a poorly paced business simulator that forces you to endure a ton of filler before anything interesting actually happens. Hard pass on this one.
The art style is certainly unique, but the overall visuals are too static, as the game is mostly comprised of still images of people and the uninteresting landscape of a city.
The business management elements are very shallow. The vast majority of the gameplay can be summarized as literally watching weed grow and then selling it to clients. There are some QTE sections as well, because why not.
The soundtrack is comprised of obnoxious hip-hop sample loops. You need to be stoned as a statue of Cheech Marin in order to enjoy it.
Fun Factor: 3.5
Weedcraft Inc could have been a fantastic and thought-provoking game game about cannabis culture, but it ended up being a boring business simulator with an unnecessarily grim story.
Final Verdict: 4.0
Weedcraft Inc is available now on PC.
Reviewed on PC.
A copy of Weedcraft Inc was provided by the publisher.