Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator - PS5 review

Garden Life A Cozy Simulator by developer Stillalive Studios and publisher NaconSony Playstation 5 review written by Jim with a copy provided by the publisher.

Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes.

Sometimes I like to play a game to relax, unwind, and to get away from more violent and long games. This is the reason I decided to give Garden Life a try. As the name implies the game is about gardening but unlike most other gardening games there are no fruits or veggies to plant, this game is all about planting flowers and other such flora.

There are two modes of play: story or creative. In creative mode, everything is unlocked and you can design the garden any way you like by planting anything and placing any decorations you want. I spent most of my time in story mode. I was the new caretaker of a garden that was meant to be for the whole town to use and enjoy. When first starting I had to clean up the place by pulling out weeds and then used a compost bin to put them in to make compost or fertilizer. After that I was given a few seeds to plant. Then I had to water them and then end the day. This was just the tutorial. The next day I was told I could prune the plants to get flowers. Flowers are used in requests at first to earn money. Later on, you can sell them, turn them into bouquets, or donate them to make flower statues. Flowers grow fast so you won't have to wait long for them. One of the things I liked was you never know how the plant would grow. Take rose bushes for example, two bushes that were alike they would grow in different ways. Once you prune or cut them they would grow back in different ways. It's neat and from what I can tell is random!

Flowers will produce seeds after a while and if you are lucky you will unlock a new color for the plant. This is needed because the requests will be for all different colors and sometimes you won't even have the one needed to complete the request. There is no way to cancel or deny a request, so this did get me a little frustrated. Even the story quests will ask for things I didn't have yet or could buy seeds for. There was a strange glitch I ran into when one of the townsfolk asked me for some seeds. When I fulfilled the request the game never took my seeds, but I still completed the request and got paid.

At first, all you have are some simple tools like a watering can that you have to refill after a bit. Luckily once the shop is unlocked you can buy new tools like a hose to water plants without having to refill anything. If you allowed a few weeds in the garden then you will also need the bug spray. It is free at the shop, so don't make the same mistake I did. You do not have to buy more than one because once it runs out you can refill it by pressing the X button a few times. You can buy a bug house to help by placing it in the garden and a certain area in a circle around that hose will not have bugs. One other helpful tool that can be bought is a weed machine that works the same way as the bug hose, but it will leave a pile of leaves to pick up to put in the compost bin. You can buy new seeds, decorations, and crafting materials. One thing I found strange is that you have to buy sticks. You can’t find them on the ground unlike rocks which you can. They can be picked up, but only the amount that you see. Once I had them all I had to buy more. They won’t respawn.

There is a little light crafting in this game where you can turn your flower cuttings into bouquets and make new decorations for the garden to make it look better. Some plants like the Ivy, like to climb so you will have to craft something for them to climb like a fence or trellis. Some requests will also have you crafting.

There isn't a lot to see in the game. There is a very small town with one shop and the flower stand you get after a bit. Other than that there is the garden that will get bigger later in the game, but it will cost money and a request must be completed first. The townspeople in the game are nice and there is even a friendly ghost! But you only really see them when there is an event and even then it's just a portrait. The voice acting is decent enough for this game as I wasn't even expecting there to be any.

There is an in-game day cycle. Once it gets too late plants will stop growing. You can prune them all to get the flowers in this time as it won't change days until you take the bus home. There is also weather in the game, so if it is rainy then you don't have to water the plants. Every thirty in-game days there will be a new season. Seasons do not impact plants though as they all grow in any season.

Graphically the game looks very pretty along with the music and sounds. It can be a cozy little game, but I ran into a large amount of crashes to the point where I just didn't want to play it anymore. I tried everything I could think of to try to fix the issue, but nothing worked and as of this writing the problem persists. I would lose a whole day of progress in the game just by a crash.

Overall I wanted to really like this game, but the crashes came way too frequently for me to get anywhere. And then some of the requests needing things I couldn't get yet made this game more stressful than cozy even if there wasn't a time limit to the request. I don't want to wait hours just to advance the story and deal with a ton of game crashes. Hopefully, they will fix the crashes and I can get farther in the game without having to start days over. Until then I have to say I didn't enjoy the game as much as I could have.

Score: 5.5 / 10



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