Playrix have a bit of a reputation for releasing accessible games that have slightly more depth than your average puzzler. Recently, we gave away their classic three-in-a-row game Fishdom, which involves solving puzzles as you build up your own aquarium. Today, we’ve got a similar formula in the form of Gardenscapes.
Gardenscapes is of course an entirely different game, and instead of three-in-a-row this one involves finding things. On paper, this might not sound like the most interesting concept, but Gardenscapes might actually be one of the most fun casual games I’ve yet played.
What’s more, we’re giving the Windows version of this hidden item puzzler away, so for your chance to win one of 25 copies worth $19.95 each, check out the full review.
Gardenscapes is available from Playrix at just $19.95 for either the PC or Mac version (at the time of writing, it’s being offered at $13.95). The trial version allows you to play for an hour without so much as a nag, so there’s no reason you shouldn’t give it a try. Download it here.
Much like Fishdom, there are two very unique separate parts to Gardenscapes – the puzzles and the game progression. On launching the game, you’ll discover that there is in fact a story, albeit a loose one designed to gel the two elements of the game together: your rich grandfather has died and left you his mansion, complete with a large and once-beautiful garden. It is up to you to restore the dilapidated garden to its former glory but for this you’ll need cash.
The garden restoration aspect is the persistent world where you spend your cash and choose different fences, flowers and benches to go in your garden. The progression is largely linear, and you can’t just choose which bits to restore straight away. Instead you’ll need to complete levels to unlock more things to do, and ultimately earn cash in order to restore your garden.
Levels consist of rooms (15 in total) within the mansion, all of which are jam-packed with items of worth, amongst all the junk. Your deceased grandfather’s butler reckons you’ll make a pretty penny for finding these items, and before long you’ve got a list of sought-after items which you’ll need to find in order to finish the level and earn cash.
When you start the game for the first time you’ll be asked whether you want to choose between competitive (against the clock) and relaxed (no time constraints) mode. This has little effect on how the game is played aside from adding a ticking-clock in order to make you sweat a little more. Personally I prefer relaxed mode as I feel it fits the game’s casual nature a little better, but I definitely appreciated the choice.
The way the levels are executed is actually rather good in that you have a shortlist of items to find, but only five can be found at once. This essentially stops you being overwhelmed by things to look for and furiously clicking all over the screen in order to complete the task. The anti-cheat implementation actually means you can’t click all over the screen in the hope of hitting something, and if you’re detected as doing so you won’t be able to click anything for a few seconds (I did this for testing purposes, honest).
There’s something very satisfying about finding a well-hidden object (and believe me, they can be very well-hidden in some instances) and being duly rewarded. I say this as an adult, but for parents thinking about whether Gardenscapes is good for their children then yes, this is definitely a game your kids will love. Small events like the attention of a newspaper photographer in the story mode and constant ramblings of your butler make it feel a little more alive and three-dimensional that a simple spot the object game, and finding objects really is quite fun.
Your garden can be set as a screensaver with variable weather and different sounds which only serves as a reminder to play more Gardenscapes. That’s not a bad thing, it’s a very fun game and even if you’re stuck the hints help you out (but not too much). Remember that you can play the full version of Gardenscapes for up to an hour using this trial, or for your chance to win a copy check out the instructions below.
How do I win a copy of Gardenscapes?
Step 1: Fill in the giveaway form
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This giveaway begins now and ends Friday, Oct 12th. The winners will be selected at random and informed via email.
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