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Cute community sim Garden Story has a free demo this weekend

“Where is it?!” I holler, rooting through game tags searching for any mention of Garden Story on RPS. “It must be here somewhere!” Alas, it is not. So I shall break the ice. Garden Story, currently in development, will be one of the current crop of very sweet town-sim type games following in the wake that Stardew Valley has cleared on PC. It’s being shown off at PAX East but you can load up a free demo from home all weekend.

You’re a grape named Concord, the new village guardian here to help your neighbors, do some gardening, and revitalise the island. Everyone else also appears to either be produce or a frog. There’s a mysterious rot that’s brought low the little Autumn Town and Concord’s got to prune it back.

I popped the demo in for a quick snack and found just what I was looking for off the bat. There’s cute pixel-style little fruit people with gurgle-y text effects on their dialogue. The soundtrack’s full of little pan flutes, acoustic guitars, and that instrument I can never put a finger on like an accordion but more…pastoral? Maybe it’s just an accordion.

Anyhoo, the first few minutes of the demo have me as Concord taking a lift up to the next town over that’s been overrun with rot. My frog friend Rana and I are off to slap some rot slimes in the sewers. Later on, there’s promise that I’ll spend time collecting books in a library for Fuji (an apple, of course) and planting little garden plots like the ones near a friend whose name is some bastardization of “Broccoli” that I can’t reproduce from memory.

It’s a bit more whacking things with a stick (rot slimes and rocky resource nodes) than I had expected right off the cuff but it’s plenty cute in any case. You can try the demo out yourself for free over on Steam this weekend while it’s on show at PAX East.

Garden Story is planned for release sometime in the spring this year, but doesn’t appear to have a specific date chosen just yet.

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Lauren Morton

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