weedcraft inc logo

Weedcraft Inc. – Review

I remember back in the day, when Facebook gaming was just becoming a thing and Farmville was at its peak, there was a similar farming sim game called Pot Farm, from Brain Warp Studios*. I played Pot Farm religiously back in 2010 on my Fujitsu Siemens laptop and, while I may have been there for the obvious 4/20 jokes, I’ve not played a marijuana-themed tycoon game since. For as popular as the farm/tycoon-sim genre is, the themes of drugs and marijuana farming rarely come under the cosy umbrella without relying on a constant string of Cheech & Chong references. This is where Weedcraft Inc. from Vile Monarch comes in.

a close up shot of a sad man

There are three campaign scenarios for you to get started with, each offering a different point of view on marijuana and its role in society. The basic scenario with Johnny sees him trying to start a new life with his brother after the passing of their father. His story revolves heavily around the use of medical marijuana with aims to legalise it in his state (if that’s what you decide). The two advanced scenarios follow Jerome and Celia, a black man recently released from ten years in prison after marijuana charges and a second-generation crime lord. These stories work towards showing the many injustices within American society and legal systems, while also challenging the player with more complicated relations and larger starting builds.

talking with his brother about business

Each scenario has a series of quests designed to teach you how to play the game better as there is a lot to learn. Johnny gives you the basics, Jerome likes to grow and Celia is big business. Because of this, lots of options are locked behind progression in these scenarios, which is where the custom campaigns become your friend. The custom games give you lots of options to help or hinder yourself depending on what you want to achieve. Will you become a criminal powerhouse and intimidate the police? Or will you legalise marijuana and make your business legitimate? The choice is yours.

a new strain - the true og

The story is presented in comic book-style chat bubbles with characters on either side depicting who is talking. The writing won’t have you in tears, but there were tender moments and a few laughs without being obvious. You will then be given some options to respond, but beware, the same question may not have the same answer for the same person, these appeared to change depending on other actions I made in-game, so it kept me on my toes. Even the mainline quests give you the option of how you wish to respond/achieve a goal.

Grow rooms and dealers corners will attract unwanted attention from police and other dealers. You can open up a front business, such as tea rooms, to collect points from the city map which reduces police suspicions. Or you can use your influence and/or money to assuage the authorities, your staff and your rivals. You can even get to know your staff and use that information to blackmail them into doing things for you. It’s pretty wild.

ceila talking to her mother

There is no real “home” area, but the city maps allow you an overview of your empire where you can collect cash and other boons. You have to purchase new buildings from this map and each building has some available “rooms”. Rooms in this case just means a slot for one kind of venture, so four rooms can be three grow rooms and a front business, or three dealers’ corners and a grow, depending on how you decide to organise your business.

This sounds simple at first but making mistakes with some of these things can become costly. To begin with, you need to pay for the property and then pay again to expand into the additional rooms. You then have additional costs to upgrade rooms to unlock better equipment and have to factor in the loss in profits while you rebuild your grows. I also had issues once I converted one dealer corner into a dispensary as none of the sales counted as legal and I couldn’t figure out why. Selling the property to rebuild and try again would be my general go-too, but I lost so much money in the process I struggled to rebuild. Thankfully the game auto-saves regularly and you have lots of save slots to test and try things without too much blow-back, but it did mean having to be more considerate on where and how I spent money.

Growing plants is equally more complicated than would first appear. You chose the plant, the pot and the lamp to begin with. The plants will then grow over time and pop up with the option to water or trim the leaves, speeding up the growth. This was simple but super satisfying and easy to chill out too with the game’s lo-fi/hip-hop soundtrack.

While you can get away with using a back of gravel and a regular lightbulb to get you started, upgrading your grow rooms is just the beginning of your horticulture adventure. Each strain of weed has a preferred humidity and temperature, which can be controlled by fans and humidifiers. They also have a nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium level which can be tweaked to increase the quality of your grow. Cultivation becomes easier once you get the laboratory to gain research points to unlock each plant’s requirements, but again these required two different payments for each of the plant’s five preferred conditions.

a grow room with lots of strains

If you’re looking to earn a fast buck, there are “special orders” which pop up on the city maps. The earlier ones felt more achievable but quickly became colossal undertakings. Saving up 800g of Purple Haze for a singular client can be a big undertaking on a smaller business, and you will have rent and staff to pay in the meantime. I tried to do a few of these and managed a few by simply forgetting to assign a particular strain for sale in the dealers’ corner, but I generally avoided them until I was much further on and had the cash to support me, the bonus research points were handy though early on.

Weedcraft Inc is so incredibly involved for what it appears on the surface, there’s even a character skill tree to help unlock your potential as a drug lord. Clients also have different preferences of the type of weed they want and how much they’re willing to pay for it. There’s also smuggling and more political ventures which unlock later into the game which really change things up.

smuggling menu with lots of different options

Only recently receiving its console edition for PS5, I played an unbelievable number of hours of Weedcraft Inc and got absolutely nowhere with the achievements, they’re pretty tough and will easily extend gameplay for even the most savvy of tycoons. The sheer number of things to keep an eye on stopped me from ever speeding up the game beyond x2 speed for anything more than short bursts, creating something far more engaging than the old idle game I so fondly remember.

The social cometary is interesting but not too in your face, while offering different stances on drugs and their place in society. I’m not sure if it was on purpose but certain employees also were arrested more than others, again highlighting the injustices in America.

jerome is mad at matty

If you strip away all the plot and character interaction, Weedcraft Inc is still a great farming/business sim. They really didn’t need to go as hard on the plot as they did, but the game is better for it and creates something more than your average building sim. It originally came out for PC in 2019 but is now available on console. Definitely check it out!

8.5/10 star rating

Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows, Mac operating systems, PlayStation 5
Developer: Vile Monarch
Publishers: KLABATER SA, Devolver Digital





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *