Green thumbs know how to grow a flower garden, but gamer thumbs know how to play Flower Garden. Tilling new ground with its gardening gameplay, this colourful title roots itself in a network of simple, clever features.
Nurturing seeds into sprouts and little green shoots into blooming flowers, your only goal in Flower Garden is to fill a dozen clay pots with colourful blossoms. Less a game than easy-going gardening simulation, it lets you plant seeds at your leisure. More than 20 varieties are available, ranging from pink starbursts to snow-white mountain daisies to yellow-orange striped tiger bells.
Caring for them requires daily watering. A gauge running across the top of the screen signifies whether a plant has enough water (green), become waterlogged (yellow), or is drying out (red). Holding a finger down on the water button in the upper-right corner rains down moisture.
It's a minimal amount of effort that's required to keep your plants alive. Even if you forget, your plants simply dry out; you cannot kill them. Failing to hydrate your plants has the effect of delaying their growth, so it's best to stay on top of their care. This keeps Flower Garden from becoming an obligation, the ease of maintenance encouraging you to stay engaged.
There's not much to look after when you first begin Flower Garden - only the single packet of mountain daisy seeds at your disposal. Additional seed packets become available as you successfully cultivate flowers, though the criteria for opening new varieties is unclear.
Seeds randomly unlock, the specific requirements for acquiring new packets never articulated anywhere in the game. Describing what needs to be done to unlock each type of seed on the packet itself would be helpful, instilling play with some direction.
Motivation to care for a range of flowers does come out of a desire to arrange them into bouquets and send them off to friends. Full-grown flowers can be cut, assembled for presentation, then shared via email. Though simple, it's a feature that broadens the game's appeal with a social touch.
Flower Garden assembles a bunch of simple features that add up to something much greater. Clever use of the accelerometer to make your flowers sway, for example, makes the game more interesting and interactive.
Small touches show an attention to detail that puts Flower Garden in a select league. While clearer guidelines for accessing new seeds would give this casual game greater direction, it still blossoms into a unique title worth picking.