As I used to be an avid gardener in real life, I’m forever on the lookout for games that emulate gardening. Much easier to do in a virtual world without getting my hands dirty and facing the rain. In my search for Steam games to play on my Steam Deck, Garden Galaxy caught my eye. Here are my impressions of the game based on the demo.
Making Your Own Zen Garden
Garden Galaxy is a super chill simulator game made by Anneka Tran and Rob Laro. You are presented with a square that’s pretty much a blank canvas, aside from a bubbling cauldron with a little sprite in it. Other little sprites come to your ‘garden’ and give you coins of various sorts. Put the coins in the cauldron, which spits out an item to form your garden. You get plants, pots to put them in, fences, little tables, lanterns, other furniture and more. It’s your job to arrange them any way you would like. Have an item you don’t want? Drag it back to the cauldron, and you get a coin for something new in return at a certain exchange rate.
To make your gardening life more interesting, there are several special items. New base tiles that add to the canvas of your garden. Blank ones, sloped ones and ones with grass on it. You get carton boxes to store items you don’t currently need. A piggy bank to put a certain kind of coins in and exchange them to another sort. Like putting in copper coins and getting silver ones back. Or ones that convert coins into Forest coins or into water or farm coins. There’s a wishing table of sorts, a pedestal: place an item on it, and it will appear more often out of the cauldron. And best of all, a collection plate where the visiting sprites will put their coins. It saves you from finding them all around.
Tutorial, Catalogue and Pure Freedom
There’s a little tutorial that shows you the basics you need to know, and after that, it’s all up to your own imagination. Honestly, I’m pleasantly surprised at all the demo holds. So many items to collect and make the garden of your dreams with. I can only imagine how many items you have at your disposal in the full game.
Reading up on what Garden Galaxy entails, I’ve also found that some items will change your world’s visuals. Like making it rain or creating fog. Besides the huge variety of plants available, you can also plant veggies. There’s probably more, but I haven’t been able to experience it in the demo.
Controls and Music
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve played Garden Galaxy on the Steam Deck. It’s not officially verified for it, but I have found it’s doable. You can control the game with the touch screen, but I must admit it’s easier if you connect a mouse and keyboard to the Deck by Bluetooth. There are no community layouts made (yet) and the standard templates only offer Gamepad and Keyboard/Mouse.
The background music is soothing and helps you to relax and enjoy. There are no goals, but there are 23 Steam achievements. And you could count collecting all there is to collect as a goal. There’s no preferred way of making your garden, just create one to your liking. And with several save slots, this really is a game to play if you want to relax and heal from everyday stress.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time in the demo of Garden Galaxy. The demo already features a lot of content, and from what I’ve read on the internet, the full version will feature even more.
No rules and no boundaries; relax while placing the items where you want them to be with a little thrill once you get a special item you have been waiting for. If you like your casual gaming to let the stress of your day glide away, Garden Galaxy is well worth checking into. The full version of the game costs € 9,49/ $ 9.99/ £ 7.99 and is available on Steam (Windows).