There is something to be said about games that allow players to design important elements of the game. Facebook games like myFarm, Restraunt City, or Citypixel do a great job letting users create avatars, rooms, houses, cities, and so on.
Now, Mob Science, creators of Willy’s Sweet Shop and Sea Garden, has released a new, more polished game by the name of Gardenhood. As the name might suggest, you create and care for your own virtual garden.
Players start of with a large plot of land and enough coin to plant a handful of flowers. Each day, the flowers must be watered (and as a social game your friends can help you out with this), which earns you a some extra income. Other actions such as planting or harvesting also win you more cash, as well as experience towards new levels. The higher level you acquire, the more items you have access too.
As it stands, however, there are currently less than 20 purchasable items for your garden – the majority of which are limited by level. There just isn’t enough to create anything significantly aesthetic.
In addition the game has a virtual gifting element, but some users are complaining that their flower gifts are being being removed and replaced with bulky trees and tacky garden gnomes. But why use any default gifts at all in a gardening game? Would growing flowers not be a prime opportunity to allow players to grow and send their own flower bouquets as gifts (a la Flower Garden on the iPhone)? That alone would not only add a personal touch to the social depth, but also make “harvesting” your flowers more fun.
Gardening is something meant to be soothing and rewarding, and Gardenhood could improve on both. However, that doesn’t mean there is no hope. There will always be new iterations coming out. Socially, there is less work to be done as it is merely the gifting that has everyone in a tizzy. Visually, however, the game really needs a complete overhaul. If one is to spend time creating a garden (especially in such a slow paced game), then the aesthetic reward needs to be astounding. An isometric view, better looking flowers, and soothing music and sounds would go miles towards that end.