Developer: Dramatic Iceberg
Release Date: 26 January, 2023
Platform: Windows, Switch, Linux
By Chris Picone, 22 January 2023
I loved the idea of Garden In! - relaxing sandbox game, just plant a few plants, watch them grow, try to breed new varieties, bit of decorating in between. And while the game does allow you to do all of those things, I found it to be more of an idler than I expected, and I'm not sure I've got the patience for it. That's not to say it's a bad game though.
The graphics are low poly enough to make the game feel nice and simple while being high enough poly that it doesn't look clunky and the plants and flowers really pop in the room. As one would expect from a relaxing game about growing flowers and decorating, it's vibrant and colourful. There are five rooms in total. I only managed to unlock the first two; a bedroom/study and a little balcony, but it's enough to get the impression there's going to be decent variety.
Very very simple: You place a pot wherever you like it, fill it with some sort of soil, then plant some seeds. There are three categories of plants; soil-based, hydroponic, and air plants, and each comes with their own set of bowls, fill, and seeds - you can't mix and match (or get it wrong). Then, you wait - and I'm talking hours - for your plants to grow. There is a function to fast-forward time but it has a very length cooldown on it so you can't use it very often. Now the game does continue playing even when it's closed but I can guarantee if you actually do leave it for any length of time your plants will be dry as a bone and riddled with bugs. You can decorate the room while you're waiting but the initial rooms are small and there's only so much decorating you can do so this only provides a distraction for so long and then you're back to waiting. I think to really enjoy the game you need to treat it like an idler but it took me a while to work that out. The objective is to complete a set of goals for each room, which unlock new decorations and eventually new rooms.
While Garden In! probably isn't the game for me, I can appreciate it for what it is and I think it will be the perfect game for those who enjoy their idler games. It really does need to be propped up on a second monitor and just checked on from time to time between work and other games or between social media posts.