There is a beauty in experiencing different types of food and drinks, and see what diversity this world has to offer. Even if a consumption does not become a favourite of mine, I have always enjoyed discovering something new and interesting. This mindset holds especially true to me when it comes to varied types of whiskey, cheese, and red wine. The last one being continuously my go-to alcohol when I just want a relaxing time with friends and chat. As a fan of resource management games as well, I had to check out today’s title. Hundred Days is a fascinating game that I ended up loving, despite being far from perfect.
You play as Emma, a woman working at a stale and miserable office until one day when she gets a letter from Bepe. She has invited you to take over her winemaking business, which you gladly do despite having no prior experiences with vineyards besides drinking wine. At this point, I am still questioning who sends paper letters these days about something this important. There are some characters you will meet throughout this story, including a snarky old man who passive aggressively helps you out, a jolly and supportive worker who wants to see you succeed, and even a grumpy rival who does not like you at all. It is all cliche, and feels like a tiresome romantic comedy from the 90s.
This is a forced setup that I cannot get behind, due to how everybody comes with one-note personalities, your main character is without any, and all the events are easy to predict and forgettable. I could have overlooked this if the story was not dragging on with plenty of exposition or took itself too seriously, but it sadly does both. It really is one of those shallow novels that have nothing to offer than poor jokes, empty dialogues, and indulging a romanticised fantasy. By trying to create something grand out of something small, Hundred Days‘s story suffers greatly. You are better off skipping the conversations.
Story Score: 2/10
Hundred Days is probably one of the more unique takes on a resource management game, as it focuses heavily on how you spend each day trying to make your diverse selection of quality wines. The concept goes like this; you have a format divided into squares that starts out in three by three. Here, you decide on how to spend your time through the cards that you are given at the bottom of the screen. These are generally provided through clear events, such bottling for readied wine or weeding when spring arrives, with a few coming from minor unforeseen events like removing bugs. There is no heavy focus on RNG, only believable setups that are enough to keep you on your toes.
Each card has a couple of descriptions on them, such as its size and shape, how many turns it will require to be fulfilled, if it has to be placed during sunlight, and if it costs anything to be used. Elements like fixing a broken machinery will require money and harvesting can only occur when the sun is up, just to name a few examples. With very little space and having the ability to flip these shapes around, it becomes addictive to see if your pieces will fit perfectly by rearranging them or if you have to hold on to them until you have more space. However, if you go to the next turn, which represents the movement of time, your shapes will be stuck until they are finished.
So, what do you need to do in order to make delicious wine? A lot, actually. You will have to weed your garden, crop thinning, harvest, and then you have so many alternatives for how to affect your crops after crushing them. Fermentation, how you will press them, and maybe you would like to age your wine before bottling? There are many steps to take and all of them need to be planned accordingly, since you will go through the seasons and this might affect your end results if you are not careful enough.
Furthermore, making wine is not just about the procedures alone, but also how you treat your products. Stats like body, sweetness, tannin, acidity, and typicity, are all important to take into consideration for making the best wines, due to how each type responds differently to how high or low the stats should be. Luckily, a guidebook is on standby to see what you have tried, and even colour codes your attempts with darker shapes that showcase if you are closer to the perfect wine and vise versa, letting you compare your discoveries. I love this, as you are given all the tools you need in order to make your company grow, but you will have to pay attention.
After you have made a set of bottled wine, you can decide on who to sell your products to and even here there are aspects to consider. Will you sell more at a big discount, less for a higher price or maybe wait for a better deal? It is always up to you, but you need to pay rent for your establishments, and other payments that can occur such as fixing up your equipment. There are even special orders that you can take on that have specific requirements, like what type of grape being used, stats, and even quality. These will not only pay you much more than the general costumers, but also increase your fame that will attract more picky buyers, as well as letting you use more tools and upgrades.
Your extra money can go to equipment, levelling up your technologies, and upgrade units. Basically, you have four areas to keep in mind; the format for managing your time, the winery, the tool shed, and your warehouse. Each of the three latter can have tools placed inside them that affect your work. For example, the warehouse can store more wine with more shelves, the tool shed can hold repair units and tractors, and the winery can get caskets for ageing your products. Each of these houses can be levelled up in order to provide more space and the ability to use more tools and technologies, but they will require space on your board to be upgraded and will cost more money to maintain.
Including this, you will also have to unlock technologies through a skill tree before buying them, which also cost money. This seems a bit excessive, as you will by this point have to upgrade the establishment, increase your fame, purchase the correct skill in order to use the one new equipment, and then buy it. This is far from difficult to accomplish, but it takes time and feels more like a way to halt the player than anything else. At least, upgrading your time management field is simply done by upgrading its skill tree and nothing else. I will also say that the tutorial is tedious, due to the amount of story overshadowing the tutorial with too much flavour text. It was actually better to read the instructions instead of relying on the NPCs.
There is a lot to take in and this is outside of other minor aspects, like cleaning the machines, being able to plant new crops or increasing the amount of sales you can make. However, all of the details you need to take in, are presented in a relaxing environment. You are always explained clearly what is going on and what you need to know progressively, with enough variety introduced to keep you on the edge. Not to mention, every turn is up to you when to take, providing you all the breathing room you need, yet this title still expects you to stay sharp. Even if you have more time on your board than before, that just means more tasks to take on.
With so many wonderful details being sprinkled everywhere, Hundred Days becomes severely addictive, as you will be skimming through your notebook constantly and make sure you can manage your time properly. There are even notifications popping up to keep you aware of what is going on, which is very helpful. While I still question some aspects of the upgrading system, it does not change the fact that I cared about every move that I made. Even as one who does not like white wine, I have never been happier from a quality chardonnay than the one I made in this game.
Gameplay Score: 9/10
Strong, yet simple
Going for a minimalistic style, Hundred Days looks outstanding with how every single colour pops out. Everything is easy to decipher and visually pleasing, adding a ton of charm to the small cards and the fields you overlook. Speaking of, this beautiful style is further enhanced by the tiles representing varied events occurring that have small animations to them, which are all endearing and intriguing. I even love simply seeing the animation for harvesting, despite how simple it is with grapes jumping out of the bushes.
Everything is clean and comes with small details everywhere, such as cars driving by or a duck swimming in the pond. With shadows being well implemented and the changes of seasons coming with solid weather effects, it is really hard to fault the graphics overall. I do wish the 3D grapes looked nicer as their textures are poor, but it is still a neat way to actually inspect your products. Even better, you can customise your bottles with different shapes, caps, logos, and even name them, giving you a lot of options for making your selection of wines. There are even some cute assets for designing your company’s logo!
The lovely details go even further, with your notebook being filled with charming drawings and handwriting, and important events being accompanied by representative pictures. While the menus are far from as flashy, they are still clean and easy to digest. The only part I find hard to appreciate, are the characters’ designs. They too come with a simplistic style, but lack any depth or animation. It is almost like they are stickers placed awkwardly on the screen, and are as forgettable as poor flash projects. They have different facial expressions and fit the game’s style, but that is the nicest thing I can say about them.
Then we have the audio, which is gorgeous. Every action has a satisfying sound to them, be it the clinks from bottles being sold, cards making a shuffling noise or even the tiles having effects depending on what you are placing down. Details like these add so much to the atmosphere, and they are everywhere, with even ambient sounds of animals, tractors, and the wind itself complementing this peaceful gameplay. I will also say that while I am not fond of the NPCs’ designs, I do like the different sound effects they make as a way to represent each character’s voice, with them all being easy on the ears and never intrusive.
The music comes forth every once in a while to break up the ambient audio gently, and it adds to the setting just as much. There is a heavy focus on the acoustic guitar, with it being used alongside different instruments, like a lighthearted flute in the wintertime or a relaxing harmonica in the summers. All the melodies provide different forms of a calm atmosphere, fitting each season perfectly. This entire soundtrack is varied, has good rhythms, and is perfect for study sessions. Again, adding to this admirable and peaceful world.
Presentation Score: 8/10
Familiar, but nice
While there are not many playstyles to tackle outside of the story mode, there are enough to keep you engaged. Challenge mode will have a couple of missions to take on, where you are given a goal to reach within a limited amount of turns and will definitely test your capabilities as a winemaker. All are fun to tackle, but my favourite part is the endless mode as it goes on forever and you will have your hands full when you go further in-depth. It is basically the story mode without the story, which makes it a solid win to me. I do wish there were more variety in terms of extra content, but what is here are strong enough reasons to keep you coming back.
Extra Score: 7/10
This is truly a satisfying game to play, but it has some noticeable shortcomings that I cannot expect everybody to overlook. Like drinking wine for the first time, it might be confusing and you can easily get annoyed by your company, but then you are more likely to enjoy the taste and then wonder how it is already the next morning. Should this sound like your thing, there is enough content here to keep you hooked as well. I certainly was, and will return multiple times. Just do so responsibly.
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