Recently, there has been a surge of mobile games that combine multiple genres in order to create something new that gamers would be willing to come back to.
Gardenscapes is one of those mobile games because it takes match-three and simulation gameplay elements, mixing them into one package which constantly encourages you to partake in a bit of both.
Combining two different types of games into one can be tricky and sometimes it works out while mostly it just feels poorly executed.
Naturally the question arises – does Gardenscapes offer anything worthwhile or is it just another mash-up you should avoid?
The gameplay is split into multiple sections.
The first thing that you are introduced to is a Sims-like game where you help the main character maintain his garden and greatly expand it. This includes listening to a lot of dialogue (which is pretty well-written and funny for the most part) and completing tasks that are provided.
Lists of tasks are split into in-game ‘days’ which only advance if you complete everything included, and doing so makes the gardener sleep and come back with more story in the morning after.
There are also funny events that play out between the days like the gardener coming out at night because of random noises.
The catch to doing all of those tasks is that you need one ‘star’ each time you wish to do anything and the stars are earned by completing the basic match-three puzzle levels. The more you complete, the more you earn, and then you can advance the overall storyline and gardening progress.
The story progression is honestly fun and there’s a good deal of customization that is left up to the player as the garden is expanded.
At random times, completing the match-three levels will also let you play random dream sequences which are the ‘remove pin’ mini-games very obviously thrown in as an afterthought, and completing them lets you win a few coins every now and then.
The match-three gameplay is pretty fun but the number of moves you are given for the specific tasks can be very unfair at times, especially due to how randomized the levels can be. For some reason, Gardenscapes is very inconsistent with its generation and you can complete the same level after playing it three times over because you would just have better circumstances the next time.
That may sound extremely annoying but it is really not, and there are a lot of boosters that you can get for free which help you out. And the game does not get too unfair until the 1000-something mark of levels, which is hours of fun for free and without any annoying ads.
Gardenscapes is one of the most relaxing and gorgeous games that I’ve played on mobile and it can be a visual treat thanks to how well everything is rendered.
The soundtrack is really good too, and it has many different tracks which is a big deal for mobile-game standards as they mostly just play the same tune on repeat.
The sound effects are also nice to listen to and there are tiny bits of voice acting here and there.
UI and polish are also top-notch and the game does not get annoying whatsoever about wanting you to spend real money.
It’s all very easy to navigate and looks professionally done, which truly adds to the experience.
There is also a social aspect where you can join clans and help each other gain bonuses, and it has quite an active community in almost every country – so that’s another way it keeps you hooked.
Gardenscapes is the best-designed mobile game of this type of gameplay that I’ve played so far, and I loved everything about it.
But while the game has been a success for a long time, updates have stagnated the gameplay to the point that rewards, difficulty, and microtransactions, have become its most undesirable aspect.