Shotgun Farmers is unique in that its entire development process is streamed live on Twitch several days a week. Although I had never heard of this game before playing it for you guys, its close-knit fanbase revolves around sharing the development journey together. Not only are player suggestions added into the game live on-stream, but Shotgun Farmers also serves as a great example of a community-driven project. With high aspirations to stand alongside Team Fortress 2 and Overwatch as the next great multiplayer PC shooter, Shotgun Farmers needs to gain traction in the public eye to make it to the top.
Shotgun Farmers stands as a competitive multiplayer game with a small variety of maps, unlockables, and weapons. Cartoony graphics and a sense of humor make it a blast to play with friends. The game is quite similar to Team Fortress 2 if you stripped out the class-based system for more generic play, as colorful maps contain several hiding spots and buildings in order to encourage strategy without feeling too claustrophobic. Each map is open though, unlike the payload-objective maps we’ve often become accustomed to.
While the game offers your typical team deathmatch and free-for-all game modes, I especially enjoyed playing “Chicken Run”, where the goal is to hold a chicken cumulatively longer than the opposing team. Everyone can see where the chicken (or chicken-holder) is located, so both sides know where to find some action. When playing in small lobbies of 2-6 people, this mode becomes an adrenaline-fueled chase sequence. Whenever I was holding the chicken, I felt a heightened fear of getting blown to bits at any moment. Using the environment to my advantage, I tried stealthily running from building to building while my few teammates would go out and confront the hunting team. In fuller lobbies with up to 12 players, the game becomes more strategic, where the chicken-holding team often attempts to set up a stationary defense around a specific building or landmark. No matter the approach, “Chicken Run” typically plays around the chicken and serves as the centerpiece of Shotgun Farmers as a whole.
Within any game mode, Shotgun Farmers offers a strange mechanic where instead of reloading your guns, they are grown out of the ground. Shooting the ground plants a seed which quickly grows into a weapon. In fact, each gun is actually a vegetable, shaped like a gun. The longer you let one grow before harvesting, the more ammo you’ll have when you pluck it out of the ground. If this all sounds weird, let me reassure you, it definitely is. I didn’t find this feature to necessarily improve gameplay, but it didn’t really hurt either. Growing your guns is a fun twist that makes Shotgun Farmers just a little odder than other multiplayer shooters. Also, it allows for some goofy-looking vegetable weapons like the “sniperagus rifle” and “carrocket launcher”.
Currently, the number of people actively playing Shotgun Farmers is a bit disappointing. The player population is dwindling as the game tries to work its way out of early-access into the big leagues. I had trouble finding a public match at virtually any time of day and could never really get into a lobby that was more than half-full. Although I met some really nice and helpful people, Shotgun Farmers simply needs a larger player base. Without one, it is limited to being reserved for game night with friends, which is still a good time of course.
If you’d like to follow Shotgun Farmer’s development, tune in at https://www.twitch.tv/qazitv . (Note: this is not sponsored content.)