By Eric Pankoke on Thu, 07/09/2009
Last time I talked about Tic-Tac-Bacon, an odd variant of a classic children's game. Today's piece is on a game called GardenGrow. According to the developer's blog, this game was inspired by his girlfriend. Makes sense, I suppose, because I couldn't see too many guys designing a simple gardening game on their own accord. After all, we like to kill things with big guns, right? Anyway, I do have to give this game credit for one thing: it's better than Tic-Tac-Bacon. Sadly, not by much. The game starts off with a similar loading time to TTB, though I think it's a bit faster. Once the game's ready you get a splash screen explaining that you are to use music to make the plants grow, and there's a nice big Begin button in the middle of the screen. Press start and you're off... to a screen with grass and some colored buttons at the bottom. It turns out that if you press those buttons, they make music!
Unfortunately, what you don't know is that you have to press and hold the buttons to get the flowers to actually grow. Or, if you get lucky, the button might get "stuck" and the flower will grow on its own. Then again, sometimes the buttons don't react at all. Whatever the case may be, the whole process gets kind of tedious after a couple of minutes. I would have found it much more enjoyable had I needed to press a certain combination of colors in order to get a particular flower to grow. That would have given me something interesting to do, at least. Graphically, the game looks like it was drawn by a little kid using Microsoft Paint (or the Mac equivalent). There are no noises in the game other than the music that the buttons produces. A little background music might have been nice, especially since the noises that the buttons produce are really more like tones than real music.
The first time I "played" GardenGrow I was all set to give it a C-. At least it was - and still is - more interesting than Tic-Tac-Bacon. After spending a little more time with it, however, I don't think I can go that high. There's no instructions (even a simple "press and hold the buttons to grow some flowers" dialog the first time you play would suffice), the controls are spotty in terms of reacting to your press, and after you've grown a couple of flowers, there's nothing left to do. I realize it costs 3 times as much, but when I think of the world of difference in quality between this and Flower Garden, which I'd consider its closest competitor, I'd gladly pay the extra price. As a result I'm going to have to give GardenGrow a D+.
Coming Up Next: Pegburner
Day One: Tic-Tac-Bacon