Forbidden Garden (also known simply as Evil Game) is a Facebook game from Russian developer RedSpell and published by 6waves. It’s the follow-up to the company’s previous title Astro Garden (also known as both Nano Farm and The Big Farm Theory), which we reviewed here. It’s available now for anyone to play on the social network, and is currently featured on the front page of the App Center.
Forbidden Garden is essentially the same game as Astro Garden, but with an “evil” twist. Players take on the role of a generic villain or villainess and must gradually build up their evil base to assert their dominance across the land while attempting to bring various evil schemes to fruition. This is achieved in largely the same way as in every other isometric-perspective building-centric social game out there — harvesting resources, constructing buildings to provide income, clearing garbage and gradually expanding across the land.
The core gameplay is not all that original or interesting, then, but like its predecessor, Forbidden Garden adds a few interesting twists to the mix. Once certain buildings have been constructed, for example, tedious tasks like harvesting resources can be automated, freeing up the player to go and do more exciting things. Other buildings open up new gameplay features — for example, constructing a library allows the player to research new technologies on a Civilization-style “tech tree” to improve their capabilities and capacity to do more things at once. Certain quests also advance the game’s unfolding story, which centers around the player character’s attempts to become a universally feared evil overlord.
Forbidden Garden is a competent if unremarkable title in gameplay terms, but there are a number of significant issues with its presentation in particular that spoil the experience somewhat. For starters, there appears to be no sound or music whatsoever, and bringing up the game’s settings menu only features visual options with no mention of sound. It’s somewhat jarring to see screen-filling magical effects and not be able to hear them. There are a few problems on the visual front, too; in certain non-interactive story scenes, the screen “shakes” to depict an earthquake, volcanic eruption or something similar, but this effect is not applied to the whole screen, creating an unattractive “tearing” effect on the far left of the screen. Alongside these issues, the English text is riddled with spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors, and an annoying quirk of the interface causes the game to switch out of full screen mode every time the player levels up, which is quite frequently in the early stages of the game.
On the whole, despite its unoriginality, Forbidden Garden has the potential to be a fun game. The “evil” twist is mildly amusing and the unfolding storyline gives more of an incentive to progress than most games of this type. However, before it’s truly worthy of recommendation, the various bugs and presentation issues really need to be ironed out, because at present it just feels like a rather sloppily put together, unfinished title which should have had a month or two more in active development before being released to the public. Given that the game has been showing activity since January of this year, it’s all the more surprising that RedSpell hasn’t made more of an effort to fix these issues — to still be without music and sound four months after release isn’t really acceptable, and it makes it look as if the game is not a particularly pressing concern for the developer, which is unlikely to fill players with confidence in the long term.
Forbidden Garden currently occupies the 500,000+ MAU tier with a rank of 581 and the 50,000+ DAU tier with a rank of 633. Follow its progress with AppData, our tracking service for social games and developers.
There’s potential for a good (if rather uninspiring) game here, but there are too many flaws and missing features at present.