Game: Garden Simulator
Genre: Simulation, Strategy
System: Nintendo Switch (Also on Steam, GOG (Windows), Xbox One, X & S & PS4,5)
Developer | Publisher: PRODUKTIVKELLER Studios | SunDust (Toplitz Productions)
Age Rating: US E | EU 3+
Price: US $26.99 | UK £22.99 | EU € 24,99
Release Date: May 10th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Toplitz Productions.
Too wet to garden outside? You won’t have that problem with Garden Simulator! A pleasant simulation game that challenges you to unlock all the decorations and plants before letting your imagination run wild, creating the garden of your dreams.
Will I uncover hidden horticultural talents? Or will I just dig myself into a hole?
How Does My Garden Grow?
The game starts with a charming introduction, setting the scene before placing you in your inherited garden. There’s a subtle hint to look for the mailbox and find out about your first task.
Which is to buy a shovel, a watering can and some seeds. As you can’t leave the garden, you order all necessary items from the online store.
Once the items have been delivered, your next task is to plant and harvest the eggplants. Using the shovel and watering can is straightforward. You can ‘enable grid’ if you want to plant in rows, but you can also plant freely – the choice is yours.
With limited starting funds, it’s difficult to buy too many plants to cultivate. However, always be on the lookout for garbage, as you do get a few coins for correctly disposing of it. And you might even dig up some gold!
As you complete a task, you get a reward (coins and experience) and a new task. However, you are not constrained by these tasks; they are simply there to encourage you to unlock and use different items.
Shopping and Storing
There are lots of items to buy, but most are initially unavailable. This is part of the strategy of Garden Simulator; read the criteria and then plan and plant accordingly.
There are paths, pots, decking, hedges – all manner of things to enhance your garden. It took about 16 hours (60 in-game days) to unlock all the items in the shop. I had misread some of the criteria conditions, so it probably took slightly longer than needed.
You only have seven pocket slots but a whole shed of space to store items. For equipment, there are special storage slots within the shop – it’s a really clever design.
Gardening Skill Points
There are seven different skills which you can improve, including increasing the selling price (Trader). You gain experience as you harvest, mow or even throw away garbage and weeds. You gain a skill point for each level you complete.
The Best in Show
One of the most endearing aspects of Garden Simulator is the ability to pet the cat. However, just like in real life, the cat does get in the way; I accidentally watered it and then got a message from the animal welfare group!
It is great to watch your parcels arrive. The items are really well packed, as I didn’t encounter any breakages or damaged plants! You can unlock a package landing zone – this controls where the boxes land, but they are still thrown in.
The Thorn in the Side
For me, the biggest downfall of Garden Simulator is the text size. It is too small for comfortable handheld play and slightly small even when docked (although this depends on the size of the screen and the distance you sit from it).
Other frustrations include the time it takes for some of the plants to grow and the difficulty in finding some of the garbage.
The controls work well and are visible on-screen. Within the options menu, it’s possible to alter the field of view and the speed of horizontal and vertical movement.
There is no touchscreen functionality, but the game autosaves, and you can have three separate game instances.
There are some great quality-of-life functions, for example, being able to end the day from the pause menu rather than returning to the house, being able to see if the plant is watered via on-screen tick circles, and having the weeds highlighted making them easier to find. However, as mentioned above, the text size is generally too small for comfortable play.
Garden Simulator is a great gardening game, balancing the strategy of unlocking all the items with the simple pleasure of creative design. Unfortunately, the size of the text reduced my overall enjoyment.
Final Verdict: I Like it
Thanks for the review Lynne! Too bad with the text size. I actually find a lot of games that seem to have questionable font choices.
Thanks for reading John. So true about questionable font choices – it’s something developers need to think more about!
This game is amazing but has a glitch.
Glad you like the game, Kim. Hope the glitch gets resolved.