Of the innumerable walk-a-explore-o-awe games I’ve played, few have entranced me as much as Gardenarium [official site]. Hand-drawn flowers and trees grow, unfurl, sway, swirl, and dance as you explore cloud lands. They’re full of strange characters too, teachers, hitch hikers, and other hand-drawn lovelies with weird things to say.
The Wild Rumpus gang showed Gardenarium in our Mild Rumpus chill-out zone at the Game Developers Conference this year. I sat watching it from within a big metal leaf for a whole day, still cussing in wonder at the animation by the day’s end. Now you too can coo, aah, and cuss at Gardenarium, as it came out yesterday on Windows, Mac, and Linux at $4.99 (£3.30-ish).
As you roam around atop clouds, picking up discarded pop cans causes plants to grow as you move. They’re beautiful to watch grow, sprouting and spreading, and quite hypnotic. My favourites might be the trees which look like gushing fountains of ice cream. Eventually, you can pilot the cloud, visiting new lands and people. It’s awfully pleasant.
Gardenarium’s made by artist Paloma Dawkins and Kyler Kelly with music by YlangYlang financial help from Gnog and Facerift developers Ko-op Mode. This is the first game they’ve supported, and they plan to do more. Paloma was also behind the free and colourful Egg Boss, I’d forgotten.
I was going to make a little video showing you around a few clouds but no, you should go see for yourself. Instead, have a gander at this short trailer:
[Disclosure: I met Paloma because, y’know, we were showing her game. She crashed round ours one night and was declared an honorary Rumpus House pledge.]