I know this is something I don’t usually review, an indie game that I usually wouldn’t play, let alone review. But the developers were offering codes for the game, and so, because I won’t avoid a free game if my life depended on it, I got a Wii U port because the console needs some love, its old age of irrelevance won’t hinder it in my house.
So keep in mind, I got a review code from the developers themselves along with a press kit so I’m taking advantage of that. This review isn’t sponsored and they’re not paying me to review it, it was my choice and since I review games, might as well spread the word. In fact, they’re fine with me monetising it…hmm!
Plantera, developed and published by Ratalaika Games and was released in 2016. I have the Wii U copy, which was released in 2017 and I got the game the same day it was released.
The game is a Strategy Simulation. You start the game and there is a blue blob with a face. This is a Helper, and it’s your task to grow fruit and vegetables in the garden of your dreams. You start with a small amount of money but enough to grow one crop of carrots. For every crop you produce, you get coins, the more coins you get, the more crops you get and the more you grow, the more you get paid. Since this game relies on collecting countless amounts of crop, you tap the screen, or in this case, the Wii U touchpad, to collect the crops, the Helper can pick up the crops but it’s much quicker to do it yourself.
But growing produce isn’t the only thing that will let you get cash as you can buy animals, each one having advantages for your garden. Chickens can lay eggs and that will make you money. And Pigs will dig out various items, some worth more than others. Do you want more money? There’s Lucky Charms, which don’t involve a sugary insult to Ireland, but includes glowing butterflies, ladybugs and moles. And here I was thinking that the moles were also enemies buy hey-ho.
So what do you do once you collected enough money? You use it to buy more crops, more plants, more trees and animals and other items too, buying what will make you enough money, so if you want to save up for that apple tree or that scarecrow or a dog to scare off critters, then you got to grow, pick up and earn.
Speaking of critters…The Critters, these are the enemies of the game…well they’re not threatening, but they can be a nuisance when trying to create your perfect garden. There are four Critters in this game: Magpies steal fruit…hold on, where did my diamond watch go? It was literally on my wrist! Anyway, Rabbits will eat your plants, Foxes and Wolves will scare your animals, and I assumed the foxes would eat the chickens because the food chain don’t change for nobody. All you need to do is tap them to make them run away
For every crop you collect and make money, the level bar will fill up. The level bar increases every time you sell your produce. Each time the level bar fills up, you unlock something, examples include another Helper, and even Garden Expansions, which will stretch out the garden so you can grow more produce.
What’s great about the game is that once you leave the game, the Helpers will still continue to grow and pick up crops to sell, so you’re not there repetitively tapping everything. At this point this started to remind me of something, where the game continues to play even when you’re off. So I did some research and hey presto, it was released on mobile…well it was released on Steam first, then mobile, then Wii U/3DS, because it does have a mobile element to it, but at least there’s no microtransactions…unless you are playing the mobile port.
Now what do I think about it after playing hourly sessions? It’s OK, it does what it sets out to do and there’s nothing I don’t hate about the game, it’s just that this kind of game isn’t for me, tapping on stuff to pick up can be a bore overtime, I want some action, something exciting, this isn’t my cup of tea but it’s something to try out, something new and something out of my norm.
But you know what, that’s OK, there are people who will love games like Plantera and the developers did a great job making a game that will interest those who like retro graphics, which do look very nice with it’s vibrant colours and simple game world, and the simplest of gameplay with a hint of complexity with stats on produce, I wish there were some more music since whilst what we have is decent, it gets tiresome after a while.
Overall, Plantera is a very simple game for simple people…what can I say, you tap stuff and make money and buy things to make more money, isn’t capitalism lovely? It’s a well polished game for what it is and the game design is rather appealing. But if you’re not a fan of mobile-style games that just makes you tap constantly, this may not be for you, but if you’re a player of Candy Crush Saga or still somehow play Angry Birds, you might enjoy this one.
You can get it on Steam, iOS, Android, Wii U and Nintendo 3DS.