If I declare 2015 to be The Year Of The Garden Game, perhaps I can seed that thought in the soil of a few developers’ heads. Biome‘s on its way, I’m hopeful we might see more of Starboretum one day, and this year we already have Earthtongue – three’s enough to call it, right? Earthtongue is a “vivarium sim” letting us futz with an alien ecosystem, playing with fungus and invertebrates to shape the world. It costs $4 (£2.60) but, if you’re feeling creative, you can pay with fan art instead.
It’s a quiet game about watching life unfold, then sticking your oar in if you want. Players can pick up and move around fungus and wildlife, seeing what happens when different species interact in different situations. Creator Eric Hornby says:
“Player given goals are limited, aside from maximizing the health of your ecosystem. You may choose to try to create a fungal garden to your liking. You may try your best to breed as many beetles as you can. You might use those beetles instead as food stock for the mantises. You might instead just peacefully watch the story of Earthtongue unfold on its own.”
This sounds like a game I would like to poke at. I shall poke at it.