Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator | PS5 Review.

Friday 23 February 2024


Publisher: Nacon
Developer: Stillalive Studios
PS5 Review

*Disclaimer: I was sent the code for this game in return for a review, all opinions are mine and mine alone.

Winter is coming to an end and Spring is around the corner, why am i mentioning this? Well we can start planting seeds! I had a look what plants of mine survived the winter and was happy to see most of them have, my hydrangeas are still young and kept in plant pots, I managed to stop them getting killed off by the frost and I'm happy to report that they are blooming. Many plant lovers like myself will obsess over anything plant related, some of us don't have space to grow everything we want and live through video games based around plants. This is exactly why I want to tell you all about the latest cozy game find I have been lucky enough to play and review, what game is that Elle? Why it's Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator from the developers at Stillalive Studios. They saw the opportunity and took it, they knew what kind of cozy vibes we needed and delivered it!

Before we go any further with this post, I won't lie, this game has been my life, I'm obsessed with it and that's not just me saying this because I was given a review code. I genuinely mean it, I've needed a distraction lately, the weather has been so depressing so throwing myself into a game I know that ticks all the boxes for me has helped my mental health immensely.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is a typical Sim game, you're in control of performing the tasks set for you where you can go at your own pace, the main task you're given is to bring an abandoned garden plot life, it's in a bit of a mess but won't take much to turn things around. I was in awe at just how beautifully colourful the game was and weirdly it reminded me of Enchanto, it felt like my own magical space I would escape to. I made sure to read every interaction I came across to make my garden a success. The first order of business was learning how to use the tools, it didn't rake much to realise how easy they were, there is no pressure in making jobs harder than they need to be.

Getting to grips with each task is no problem, I spent the majority of my time going back and forth checking that each plant was growing sufficiently, when I realised some plants won't grow back unless I prune them in order to help with their growth. For those who don't know why pruning is beneficial here are some facts, Pruning can promote bigger harvests, encourages flowering, controls growth and much more. This is why you see people cutting back plants even when the plant is flowering, it's the best time to do so. I'm glad they added this feature, it's something gardening enthusiasts will definitely appreciate.
In terms of being repetitive I guess you could say there is a lot of this, with gardening that's the reality, this doesn't mean it makes the game boring or annoying to play, it actually put me into a routine, the more I unlocked the bigger the area I had filled with plants to take care. Making sure they had enough water, killing off any pests attacking them, harvesting seeds and digging up any plants I accidentally let die (there were a few). There are a few mundane tasks that you may find yourself huffing and puffing over, it's all for your benefit though, tasks will unlock the next step in the story, up your money and reward with things such as a new pair of shearers. Cat lovers like myself will be pleased to know there are cats in this game, you can pet them and they meow back with little hearts appearing around them, when you get close to them you can hear them purr, it's the sweetest thing.

Within your garden is a pretty little shed, inside there is a seed cabinet, tool bench, seed calendar, deco cabinet, tool cabinet and a to do list but most importantly a plant book. Within this book is ALL you need to know, from plants, to the lovely characters you meet throughout the game, this book was a massive help, I would go back to it constantly to see how many variety of plants I had left to collect, they're a lot but it is worth  it for the trophy. Collecting seeds is one of the longest tasks, if you don't have the right variety of flowers/plants you won't progress for a while, this was one of the main things that took the majority of my time, I would boost the plants i needed a new variety of using a special fertilizer in the hopes that i would see a pretty pink swirl that indicated I had discovered a new variety. Whilst waiting it gave me the opportunity to get my garden in order, sell what I no longer needed and grew to up my income for any future unlockables. 

Players are able to visit town and visit Leslie's store to either choose the free tools available or buy the tools they want/need. To grow your money you're limited when you first play, perform tasks for the community and they will reward you with florins, Once my garden started to produce seeds from the little plants I had I started to stockpile them, I soon found out that when my bag storage was full they would automatically go into the seed cabinet along with any plants and flowers I could no longer hold, the same goes for when you have too much deco it will go straight into the deco cabinet. Once I checked off another task on my to do list i unlocked a stall in town, it made it very easy to grow my money.

Hours fly by fast, Before I knew it i went from summer to winter in no time at all, I was sucked into the gardening life due to this being far from any other gardening game, if I wasn't in my garden I was in Town with the use of my trusty bike, and if I needed time to go by faster I would simply sit on my bench and wait. It's clear the developers knew exactly how to captivate it's players, they have given a plant lover like me everything I could have hoped for in a game. On top of that the loading times are so fast, I would press a button to head to the town and I was there within seconds.

There are accessibility options for those who are colour blind in the menu, this is a great added feature especially with the vibrant colours that some may find hard to see. I did have 5 crashes whilst playing which set me back an hour, I knew I should have saved as I went along and learnt my lesson when it happened the first time. There was one really cool feature that I loved, when you go into Leslie's store, look to your left and look at all the polaroids on the wall, my guess its the team that worked on the game, such a great touch! As far as cosy games go, this is one of my favourites right now, it's relaxing and educational all at the same time. I hope it inspires people to look into gardening and plants, the world needs more green fingers. 

Have a cosy day


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