I heard about My Organic Garden while reading the Japanese Indie Games To Watch section of Jason Coskrey’s BitSummit roundup. It’s about working as an apprentice in a greenhouse where the plants produce organs instead of regular fruit.
So far I’m on chapter three and I’m armed with a kidney plant, a heart plant and a stomach plant. The kidney plant is the oldest and I’ve upgraded it enough that it can produce regular kidneys, great kidneys (which require more watering) and excellent kidneys which need you to prune away other kidneys while they grow.
Moles, butterflies, frogs and woodpeckers are also somehow making themselves useful although I’m a bit hazy on the particulars, just that I’m levelling them up by clicking them. A magical watering can is also on hand so I can keep everything well-nurtured. There is a lot of clicking involved at this point, watering plants, harvesting organs and poking confusedly at frogs. Oh, and I just removed the soul from a stomach using a pot of chemicals.
This is for story reasons. Apparently every organ we grow in the greenhouse has its own soul. Adding more than one organ with a soul to an object causes something terrible to happen. I guess the souls fight or something, hence the chemical jar. The organs are particularly in demand as they can give movement to inanimate objects or give the power of life and speech to dead creatures. For one of the mini quests I think a small child might have killed her cat, not seeming to understand the nature of the soul, in order that it could get a magic heart and talk with her. A chat with le chat. There’s also the dude who turns up at one point asking that you give an organ to his doll so she can move. Brows were raised.
There’s also a subplot involving a meat grinder and some sort of obligation towards a family of stoats.
I would like to play further through the story. Thing is, it’s just tipped over into not being fun. One of the sound effects is like wind blowing into a mobile phone speaker when you hover over fruit (ARGH) and became so unpleasant I’ve muted all the sound effects. I’ve also been stuck on chapter three for hours. The little story segments it drip-feeds you have been nice little interruptions to the clicking and fed this sense of progress. But they seem to have slowed to a crawl as I fulfill tasks demanding huge numbers of organs and mincemeat or try to grow an “excellent” heart which doesn’t seem to follow the same rules as growing an excellent kidney. It’s come to the point where the reward of progress just doesn’t balance the clicking sections and I’ve started to feel like I’m wasting my time. It’s that feeling – where you become aware of the hours you’ve spent clicking and the enjoyment it has ceased to bring – which caused me to finally stop playing Pocket Frogs. It hasn’t fully set in here and, given I do want to see a bit more of the story, I’ll probably play a little more but at this point it’s definitely more about indulging a compulsion and enjoying the artwork.