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Garden Life: A Cosy Simulator – Review

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While I might have spent dozens of hours mowing in Lawnmowing Simulator and plenty of time fixing up gardens in the house Flipper DLC, I’ve not really had the opportunity to just take my time and develop a garden, but that’s exactly what Garden Life: A Cosy Simulator promises as you take control of a local community garden.
The previous keeper Robin sadly passed away, and you step up with your green fingers to take over the now abandoned lot to produce a garden the locals can be proud of.

At the start it’s pretty straight forward and you’ll have to remove a few weeds before planting some basic seeds such as roses, daffodils and tulips. Piece by piece you’ll start to develop your garden, keeping it free of weeds and bugs and unlocking new content to use further down the line.
Each day gives you a chance to tackle tasks as you wish, and while people will drop by with well voiced pop-up chat dialogues, you’re still free to take as much time as you want.

Soon enough, you’ll be using the workbench in the shed to turn rocks and boulders into a bench to attract a local tradeswoman who will help you set up your own stall for selling flowers you’ve picked and developed into bouquets. This source of income allows you to purchase new decorative items and most importantly new seeds to expand the contents of your garden.

As each day passes, you’ll have to tackle the menial jobs, such as making sure your plants are watered, using bug spray to get rid of any little pests and pruning untidy branches to keep your garden cosmetically pleasing.
Whether your watering plants, pruning hedges or throwing leaves in the compost bin, or collecting seeds to find new colour variants of your favourite planets, controls are consistently well explained and easy to handle.

Thankfully, while there’s plenty of little tasks and challenges, you’re constantly free to tackle things at your own pace, as long as you head home before it gets too dark. The main target though, is to work through Robin’s check-list which will rebuild the bridge to open up the second part of the garden and then work on the newly unlocked greenhouse as well as assisting your friend Jasmine with the pavilion to add that final major touch to your garden.

For anyone unsure about following tasks and challenges in a “Cosy Simulator”, thankfully there’s also creative mode, a completely separate mode which opens up the entire garden and greenhouse from the start, as well as giving you plenty of all available seeds and making upgrades from the village square shop, free so you can get working on a more advanced garden instantly.

Having the chance to jump in creative mode is a double-edged sword opening everything up from the start, and while it’s great having the destination at your fingertips, tackling the entire garden, having perks such as the greenhouse, sprinklers and Bug hotel from the start, it also means the journey is lots, which means it’s not as progressive or rewarding as slowly working on it day-by-day.
The caveat is, using creative mode disabled achievements, so while I highly recommend checking it out, maybe see which plants you prefer the look of, or find out what tools are the most useful, I’d definitely stick with the main story mode for long-term play, which feels far more rewarding.

Graphically, Garden Life: A Cosy Simulator finds itself stuck in the middle of the garden, it’s somewhere between cartoon and realism and never really sticks too close to either post, which can sometimes leave the details looking a little muddled, and no matter how much time you spend in your garden, that greenhouse will always look like it hasn’t been washed in 20 years.

Thankfully though, while those rose bushes won’t look as good as your local garden centre, I love the level of detail in shaping your garden, that push can be pruned branch by branch so for a photograph you can shape your garden as you wish, but the downside is, these soon grow out and for that perfect garden, you’ll need bug hotels and sprinklers everywhere because you’ll literally be spending all day precisely pruning to keep them looking absolutely perfect.

This means that there are no pristine lawns like Lawnmowing Sim, and no real end-game profits like Garden Flipper (House Flipper DLC) – both of which are arguably better-looking games, but there’s certainly still plenty of options to explore, even if they don’t look quite as appealing as the Chelsea flower show.

Sound is one area that does get higher marks, with subtle and accurate sound effects, peaceful music and ambiance with some very good voice acting. It’s not perfect, and I could prune a few thorns here and there, but we also have to take into account the value, which at £34.99 isn’t bad at all.

There definitely hours and hours of gameplay to ignore, even if you do go for the creative route. And while some decorations could have done with some time to grow outside of paid DLC packs, there’s definitely still plenty of content to explore.

While there are a few thorns, with a reasonable price of entry, this garden is well worth visiting for anyone looking for a relaxing game to enjoy.



While there are a few thorns, with a reasonable price of entry, this garden is well worth visiting for anyone looking for a relaxing game to enjoy.


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