The world is full of people selling their unwanted junk. Some people dig for treasure, pull stuff from the trash, flip it and sell it. There are actual stores that harbour hordes of basic recyclable goods amongst some unknown antique gems. We’ve all wondered what the dated gear stashed in our attics holds in terms of value. Some have some real success stories of uncovering hidden goldmines that lay forgotten. Barn Finders has finally landed on Xbox after a two-year period on PC.
Developed by Duality Games and published by MD Games S.A, we have a truly unique title with this one. Experience for yourself what it’s like to run a family business starting with literally nothing. It’s an adventure in which you’ll be salvaging whatever you can in an attempt to sell it to whoever wants it.
Barn Finders starts you off in your home location, where you’ll be responsible for running your own store with the help of your Uncle Billy. I say he helps, he seems to just drive you from A to B and just stand there, to be honest. You set off with the simple task of installing a battery inside a generator at the back of your property to power the electrics. This area is essentially the hub of where you’ll be flipping items your find out and about whilst scavenging. Everywhere is a little run down and revenue must be generated to upgrade everything. Inside the store itself, you have shelving and floor space areas to display your goods for sale. Money can be spent to buy better shelves, flooring and updated interior. The computer at reception is the key to the money, providing you with daily emails, giving you opportunities to locate and search areas for loot to sell and even buy lock-ups and properties at auction.
Gameplay – “Finders Keepers”
Once you accept a job from your computer, you’ll be able to travel to set locations, providing you with enough money for gas. Barn Finders is played from a first-person perspective and surveying and searching a location can be done at your own pace. For instance, the first task is to find a specific item in a barn out in the sticks. You’ll be wanting to make as much money as humanly possible so searching for other goods to keep and sell later is a must. If you discover an item of value, the game will ask you whether you want to transport it back home. This is just a case of pressing the LB button and then that item is sent to the back of your pickup truck to take back and sell. Recycling empty bottles, cans, and rubbish strewn around anywhere in this game will give you extra dollars in your kitty, so recycle everything you see.
When you have found the item you’re looking for then your work is done for this particular location and you can choose to head back to base. There are collectables to look out for as well which mainly consist of golden toilet rolls. Finding these can be tricky and can take a little extra work to reach, such as stacking boxes and climbing out of windows to reach. I enjoyed this element though as it encouraged you to search every nook and cranny thoroughly throughout the different environments. You’ll find locked doors, and unkempt ground and secret locations that may require tools to get to. The equipment you need can be purchased as a permanent unlock when you have the cash to do so, using a vending machine. You can unlock an axe for breaking boxes and sealed-off areas, a shovel for digging, a lockpick and a torch. These items are essential to buy as soon as you possibly can.
Buying, selling and haggling – “You can purchase anything at a good price”
When you heave your load of junk back to your home base then you’ll be able to sort through it. You can transfer goods from the back of your pickup truck into storage using a machine and the click of a button. Most items can simply be put straight onto the shelves but some require work. Some items may be broken, dirty or require more parts to become sellable. This is where you’ll need to spend even more money before you start seeing a profit. A repair station needs to be built in order to fix broken items using wood, metal and string that you’ve collected on your travels. The wash station can be used to clean soiled goods before they are fit for sale. Finally, an assembly point is paramount for putting together special blueprints of expensive items such as motorbikes, computers, toys and more.
Once your shop is rammed full of second-hand goodness you can choose to open the store at any point during the day and interact with customers and potential buyers. I found the haggling process a little mundane and not very well designed to bother with, so I sold most things at face value. You can haggle with buyers to try and get a little more money out of them, this is done by pressing Y and attempting to stop a scrolling bar in the right spot. Failure to hit it right will lose you money whereas being successful will get you a few more bucks. After attempting this several times early on in the game and failing repeatedly as the bar moved super fast, I gave up with the process. Even if you do happen to make more money it was often minuscule amounts, it’s a nice feature but implemented poorly. I’d have preferred a system where it’s a conversation or a tug of war with money type thing.
Graphics & Audio
Considering the low price point and the fact that it’s a PC port, I wasn’t expecting mind-blowing visuals in Barn Finders. The graphics are extremely similar to a lot of simulation-style games that have also previously been bought across from PC. That isn’t to say that the presentation is bad in any way shape or form. It does the job and whilst there are several repetitive assets throughout, the overall package is well animated. Customers could have been a bit more varied in presentation with maybe four or five different-looking personalities. Seeing the same ones over and over made them extremely tiresome almost immediately.
The audio design is pretty well put together. Sound effects are perfectly executed for the most part with some humour thrown into the mix. For instance, when auctions are happening the auctioneer speaks incredibly fast like the ones you see on programmes like Storage Wars. There isn’t much in the way of in-game music, some of which you can hear inside the store and can be turned on or off with the click of one button.
Barn Finders consumed me almost immediately with its addictive and intriguing gameplay loop. Not only did I enjoy the managerial aspects of running my own store. I adored exploring the several locations spread across the world map and exploring and discovering everything on offer. Juggling the financial elements of the game was also fun, as it wasn’t easy to just buy everything you needed and sometimes you had to go back and find more items to sell.
There is plenty of content on offer for the cost of the game and it certainly kept me busy for a long period of time. Sadly, I think once you’ve ticked everything off in terms of collectables, unlocks and customisation options, then you’re done. To be fair, with the solid game the team have created, there isn’t much room to make it endless. Multiplayer options wouldn’t really work and unless DLC comes down the road, then it is best to take it as it is. What it is, is an end product which gives you a unique slice of goodness in a memorable way. Personally, I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would, and that’s an achievement in itself. This is one indie I highly recommend that you check out.
- Addictive and fun gameplay loop
- Building and upgrading are enjoyable
- A totally unique experience
- The game is repetitive in several areas
- Haggling is dull