Plantera Garden Life DX Edition review 

Animal Crossing wasn’t the first, but is perhaps the most relevant example of a title redefining the very question of what constitutes an actual videogame and in doing so; it removes many conventional elements usually attributed towards gaming. Rainy Frog continue this movement with Plantera Garden Life DX Edition for Nintendo Switch.

Plantera takes place in a garden with you in the Tomodachi Collection ‘God’ role of overseeing your subjects via mostly the touchscreen (the game only allows for handheld mode play). Beginning with a small garden and minimal plants, your task is to get your subjects to pick the plants that grow there and which are then automatically sold on.

With the money earned you can then expand your garden, grow more plants and employ more animals to do the picking. Plantera doesn’t quite dispel all conventional videogame elements however and indeed obstacles do appear in the form of Birds, Bunnies, Moles, Foxes and Wolves which can be scared away with a simple touch or with the (purchasable) dogs.

If from this brief description, it all sounds a little repetitious; this is the entire point, and in doing so Plantera achieves some form of videogame zen and works nicely in-between 150cc Rainbow Road races or being mauled by Master Mummy, and adds some kind of calming balance to your game catalogue. This isn’t to say Plantera is without faults however.

Earning money is the key to success in Plantera and you’ll soon go from struggling for your first thousand to returning from Sainsbury’s with several million in the bank. The game’s shop resembles that of The Battle Cats where you can purchase items to make your life easier: from vegetable patches, bushes or fruit trees, to workers and an Alarm Clock, Manure, Dog and Scarecrow.

The problem lies here-in: whilst the achievements may take a reasonable amount of time to reach; the time it takes to unlock all the shop items is relatively modest in comparison. Even with the edition of the Horse (plus an expanded map), the DX in the title doesn’t feel quite as deluxe as one would have hoped and the Nintendo Switch version feels an almost wasted opportunity.

If from this review Plantera sounds like it isn’t for you, then it won’t be. For everyone else, ¥500 is a small price to pay to experience a form of videogame zen -albeit in a limited form. Over which is the most superior version: the Switch version adds a horse and a larger map, the Wii U version makes use of the Game Pad’s stylus whilst the 3DS version benefits from dual screen support so it’s your choice!

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