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Gardenarium Hits Steam, Is Still Strange And Beautiful

Gardenarium [official site] is now out on Steam so I’ve used that as a reason to stick my beak in and see what it’s like to play. Alice has told me many good things about plant growth and colours since Gardenarium first came out, you see.

[GIFS AHEAD]

I think I’m stuck? Is that possible? It’s a beautiful game whose cartoony style reminds me of the mid-nineties and more experimental late night animation shows. As you move around you pick up cans which trigger all manner of lovely plant growth. You’re a groundskeeper of sorts, although it’s not really work, more just movement to which the environment responds.

In one lovely sequence plants were sprouting and unfurling as I walked which made me think of Meryl Streep in Death Becomes Her. Her character walks down a staircase on stage during a musical number and the stairs light up as she does so. This was the gardening animation equivalent.

It’s beautiful and I loved it. Then it does something else. I won’t put actual spoilers here – or at least not specific ones but, as far as I can tell it changes into a kind of goal-oriented thing. I wasn’t very good at it and it felt like the game itself had changed at that point. I’ve ended up restarting a few times just to wander through and watch the plants grow again and again. Maybe I will progress further after a while and absorb that next bit of the game into the experience but at the moment I’m too absorbed by watching the garden grow.

Gardenarium is £3.99 on Steam although there’s an offer for 25% off at the moment. It’s for Windows, Mac, and Linux. You can also still find it on Itch.io if that’s your preferred platform.

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Philippa Warr

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