Attention all green-fingered and single-player casual gamers! Garden Simulator is out now on PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch. Developed by PRODUKTIVKELLER Studios, who seemingly like to shout their name out loud, it is time to have some fun carrying out virtual gardening.
To Plant a Garden is to Believe in Tomorrow
While gardening in real life is seen as a fairly chilled-out affair (most of the time), I was intrigued to see how the past time would translate to the digital world. Granted there would be no sweat, dirty hands or knees as well as vicious cuts from pruning roses!
In a nutshell, the idea of Garden Simulator is to make the most of your patch of land. You have inherited a cabin with a garden in the woods. With only one area unlocked, to begin with. You must carry out maintenance chores such as cleaning and mowing while in your head designing where best to plant your flowers, fruit, and vegetables.
Garden Simulator is in first person whereby you control your character around the garden using the thumbsticks. ZR is used to pick up and put down while the other buttons are used to interact, jump, select and go back on menus.
Gardening tasks arrive through a mailbox and provide a list of quests to complete. They could range from somebody requiring certain flowers for a wedding or for you to grow a certain type and quantity of a plant.
Jobs For The Weekend
Your gameplay is measured in days. Starting at 8am, you leave the cabin and proceed to begin in the garden. As time slowly ticks by, your plants grow while you carry out your tending duties. At 6pm your day ends and you return to the cabin to sleep.
From carrying out tasks, you level up and receive a new skill point. This can be spent on categories such as Trader, Agriculture and Watering. In turn, this helps to increase things such as watering speed, yield and profitability. The more you unlock, the quicker you can carry out tasks.
Compost bins are helpful when throwing away lawn cuttings and discarded plants. They provide compost that you can then use as fertiliser to help increase the quality and yield of your plants. One bag of lawn clippings fills the composter up to 100% and is ready to be used the next day.
Once the planting has been completed it is time to care for your crops, carefully ensuring that you have watered and tended to them accordingly. At the harvesting stage, you can collect your homegrown products and then you automatically sell them.
Show Me The Money
Money that you accrue can be used to buy better tools and garden accessories via a laptop as well as new plant, fruit, and vegetable varieties. Your new purchases are lovingly thrown over the fence into your garden inside a wooden crate.
Larger watering cans are a must due to the extra capacity and better water distribution, allowing you to water the garden a lot quicker. Money is also used to unlock other areas in the garden around the cabin.
When digging in the garden you can sometimes be lucky enough to discover a gold nugget which is then thrown into the bin, providing you with XP and money.
If you mow the lawn too close to the edge of the boundary, the clipping bag falls out of the garden. Thankfully it is thrown back by a strange passerby. There is a resident cat that lives in your garden, while you can’t interact with it, you can get a reaction from it should you mow too close or get it wet!
Graphics & Audio
The graphics in Garden Simulator are a bit Sims-like. Simple but with texture. The attention to detail is good for the various plants and resembles each of the varieties well. There are no weather effects in the game, therefore there is not any gentle swaying of flowers or grass in the wind. Everything is fairly static. There are also no day or night transitions. On the Nintendo Switch, the game played smoothly without any noticeable glitches or frame rate drops.
The sound in Garden Simulator comprises a gentle melody playing in the background while birds tweet. Lawnmowers make a mowing sound and watering can make a pleasant water-flowing ambience. The only human voice heard is the call of “heads!” when a new purchase is lobbed over the fence.
Garden Simulator has a lot of skills to unlock as well as items to purchase in the shop. At day 49 I was still only 50% through. I would say that there is a mass of longevity with this game due to how long it takes to get this far as well as how much freedom you have to design your garden.
Garden Simulator is a fun, casual game to play. You are limited to one garden and cannot change the building decor, other than remove the wooden planks that bar the outside of the windows. Features such as greenhouses would be a fun addition while further interaction with the random cat would always be welcome!
Overall, designing and maintaining a garden, completing the challenges, and unlocking new skills and better tools has kept me entertained for many hours so far!
Garden Simulator gets a Thumb Culture Gold Award!
Disclaimer: A code was received in order to write this review.