Hundred Days is a strategy winemaking simulator game, which is developed and published by Broken Arms Games. It is currently available on Windows PC and Nintendo Switch, and for the purposes of this review, I was playing the Nintendo Switch version.
Hundred Days gives you 3 game modes to choose from. Firstly, there is Story Mode which is basically the tutorial with a story which is a great way to learn the basics. Then there is Endless Mode, in which the game just keeps going so long as you have funds to remain in operation. The idea is to build up your winery as much as you can. Finally, there is Challenge Mode which gives you options to meet certain goals to win the challenges. You start off with a small vineyard, which must be managed by weeding, pruning, and thinning the vines. Then comes the harvest, and afterwards, the grapes need to be crushed and pressed, and then bottled, tasted, and finally sold to customers. All these activities take the form of playing cards which will occupy spaces on your board. Each activity performed will cost you money and will also take a predetermined number of days to complete. This means you really must think and plan ahead before committing to which cards you play on that day. Arranging these tiles on the board really felt like I was playing a game of Tetris which was an interesting game mechanic but one I quite enjoyed.
It sounds reasonably straightforward right? That’s what I thought at least, but oh, how wrong I was. It turns out that there are so many little things that affect every little characteristic of the wine you are making. The length of the fermentation process, the intensity of which you crush the grapes, the type of casks you store the wine in to name but a few. Every wine you make will be graded out of 100 and the higher the grade, the more money your wine will send for. Each variety of wine also has an ideal flavour profile which you must strive to achieve by altering the body, sweetness, tannin, acidity and typicity through different wine making processes. Weather conditions can affect which tasks can be carried out, for example, rain can delay the harvest or snow can stop the pruning or thinning process. Your vineyards can contract diseases which also influence the quality of wine produced. You can choose to carry out preventative treatment to try and stop this happening or if you are too late you will need to perform corrective treatment to cure the diseases on the vines. This again, takes time and will come at the detriment of the quality of wine you produce.
Once you have made your batches of wine, you will receive orders from customers which you can choose to fulfil and special orders which are a little harder to complete but they earn you much more money. Certain wines will become a trend at different times of the year which means that they will sell for higher prices. You then must decide if it is worth replanting your vines with the correct grape to produce the trending wine or even buy a new vineyard to start producing this type of wine. The time will come when you are ready to upgrade your winery by unlocking and purchasing new technologies and machinery. These upgrades are very expensive, and they will increase the daily running cost of your business, so you really must be careful and make sure you don’t upgrade everything too quickly and leave yourself struggling for money. Also, when you run out of wine to sell, you still must cover the operating costs of your vineyard which will mean you will start to haemorrhage money at an exponential rate. I found it very difficult to get the right balance for my vineyards to stay afloat for any great length of time. If you have a season where you have a bad or average wine, your customers will not be very forthcoming with orders, and you will lose a lot of money. Hundred Days can be very unforgiving if you do not take the time to really think about your next move.
Hundred Days looks very pleasant visually and has some charming music to boot. I did however find it really frustrating to manoeuvre the cursor to select options using the stick and D-pad. In handheld mode you can fully utilise the touch screen which makes things a bit easier to navigate the menus, but I really feel like there are some improvements that need making with the whole control scheme on the Nintendo Switch. I also encountered a few performance issues with frames dropping and some button presses not registering which definitely influenced my enjoyment of that game and became pretty annoying at times.
Hundred Days is a fantastic delve into the winemaking world which really teaches you a lot about the whole process involved in producing that perfect bottle of wine. With the addition of the Tetris-style strategy mechanic, it really adds something interesting and unique to the gameplay. Even with the small issues with performance and my gripes about the controls, it’s hard for me not to recommend this to anyone who enjoys farming-type simulator games.
PaultheBrave09’s Rating: 3.5 bottles of chardonnay out of 5.
For more information on Hundred Days please use the following links...
Many thanks to Broken Arms Games for the Review Key.