Garden In is a relaxing sandbox game devoted to growing fantastical plants, and it lives up to all of its promises. If you’re looking for a stress-free evening of gardening joy, this is the title for you.
Garden In opens with a single room in which you have the option of placing a vase to which you’ll then add soil and a seed. Each vase has a particular soil type that corresponds to it, and the seeds you have will require a specific vase with a specific soil, not unlike actual plants. You plant your seed, and then you’re off to the races.
As you progress through the game, you’ll unlock different seeds, a new soil type, larger room spaces, and different decorating options. You’ve even got a trophy nook that reminds you of the research achievements you’ll need to complete if you’re after a full trophy case.
I’m a fan of plants, as long-time readers know, so I was pretty much sold from the premise. However, what I wasn’t anticipating was just how charming this title actually is.
The plants themselves are fantastical, so while I adore a good orchid, these are clearly not plants confined to earthly restrictions. The range of colors, shapes, and blooms is enough to keep the pickiest of breeders returning, and speaking of breeders, you have the option of hybridizing your plants. You’ll need special pots for hybridization, but the game does reward your scientific efforts with seed currency and a trophy. However, as in real life, not all plants are compatible, so you’ll need to look for the hearts when selecting plants for this process.
You’ll also need to water, feed, and care for your plants, and the game does track your progress. If you’ve left things too long, you’ll find yourself returning to wilted plants that possibly have pests. However, there’s an important thing to keep in mind here. The game does not allow your plants to die, so with a few clicks, your leafy garden will return to its previous lush state. Garden In really leans into the idea of developing a stress-free game, and frankly, I think it’s great.
Visually, the game offers lovely dynamic backgrounds, so there’s always something interesting going on in those spaces. The music is instrumental, designed to be lovely and peaceful. Both the visuals and the background music contribute to its tranquil experience beautifully. The game also provides menus and instructions on-screen, so you don’t even have to remember how to perform different tasks in-game.
If Garden In has a drawback, it’s that growing time occurs in real-time, so do be aware that some patience will be required. As a result, Garden In is a great game to play while you’re doing something else or to have running in the background while you work or cruise social media. I would have also liked to have greater control over personalizing my space. You don’t have much control over colors, and left-clicking an item to change it, changes it entirely rather than offering you the option of selecting the color, for example. However, neither of these quibbles really took away from the game experience. In some ways, having fewer choices and less control was refreshingly nice after a day of making decisions.
Garden In is an impressively relaxing game that’s perfect for using to wind down while accomplishing another task. It offers just the exact correct balance between keeping the title stress free and allowing you some decision-making control, and the plants are just precious.
Garden In retails for $9.99 on the Steam platform.
Stray Thoughts From Behind the Keyboard
- This title really is one that you should get about anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes of play in each evening. Love it.
- I enjoyed decorating the rooms more than I thought I would. Admittedly, I’m doing home renovation at the moment, so getting to do it for fun without any of the issues involved in actual renovations was nice.
- Let me tell you, plant pests are not as easy to get rid of in real life.