Plantera
Gameplay 8
Graphics 7
Sound 6

Plantera is a very straightforward game with simple but addictive mechanics. You grow your garden, harvest crops, and sell them to repeat the cycle. It is a casual clicker title with plenty of things to click, but you can also kick back and leave it to its own devices. If you are not a fan of clicker titles, it can become repetitive, but considering its price, it is hard to fault.

Gameplay: Plantera is very straightforward to play and features more variety than typical clicker games.

Graphics: The visuals are bright, colorful, and quite charming.

Sound: The audio is nice, but could have benefited from a few more tunes

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Plantera

Developer: VaragtP | Publisher: VaragtP | Release Date: 2016 | Genre: Casual / Indie / Simulation | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

For players who feel like killing time but not enemies, Plantera might just be the thing. It is a non-violent “clicker” style game where your only goal is to build a garden and watch it grow. Helpers are on hand to assist with harvesting the crops, and as you expand your garden, you’ll also need to safeguard against critters. As you cannot really fail or even win the game, it is purely for relaxing and wasting a few minutes now and then.

Most clicker games require you to rapidly click on one spot until either your mouse or wrist breaks, but things in Plantera are a bit more sedate. Initially, you start with a small selection of plants, bushes, trees, and animals to add to your garden, and the options increase as you level up. Little blue characters, called Helpers, show up as the garden grows, and you can leave all the hard work of harvesting to them if you wish. If you do want to get your hands dirty you can click once on ripe fruit or vegetables to harvest them and a second time to sell them.

The money you earn from selling crops can then be spent expanding your garden, planting new items, or buying animals. You can add carrots, turnips, pumpkins, blueberries, eggplants, apples, cherries, lemons, and many other crops to your garden, along with chickens, pigs, sheep, and cows. However, each purchase raises the overall price of the next item of the same type, so things start very cheap and then become more expensive the more you have. You’ll also have to get rid of the critters who show up from time to time in an attempt to make off with your profits. Rabbits are attracted to carrots, magpies love apples, and wolves as well as foxes also show up to harass your farm animals. A couple of clicks are all it takes to get rid of them, but even this can be avoided by investing in defenses such as scarecrows and guard dogs.

Not all visitors to your garden are unwelcome, as The Loot Hero, a character from one of the developer’s other titles, also makes a cameo. The Hero is quite helpful as he runs across the screen, bashing all the critters with his lance, and you can also repeatedly click on him to gain extra coins. There is even a convenient popup that appears on the screen to herald his arrival, and clicking it takes you straight to his location. Apart from investing your money in plants, livestock, and defenses, you can also purchase manure and alarm clocks. The former permanently increases the coin production multiplier, while the latter increases the amount of time your helpers work while you are away from the game. That’s right; you can exit the game, and the workers will carry on earning you money, which you will receive when you return.

Visually, the game is quite basic but features some charming pixel-style graphics. Workers go about their jobs with grim-faced determination while butterflies flit about and animals roam everywhere. Even the hostile critters look cute enough that you almost feel bad for chasing them away. Everything is viewed from a side perspective, and as your garden expands beyond a single screen, you can scroll left or right to view everything. We would have liked to see a zoom feature to keep an eye on the entire garden simultaneously, but there are buttons for quickly moving between the far edges. Regarding options, you are restricted to playing the game in full-screen mode or windowed and toggling the music or sound effects on and off. The audio is nice enough but lacking in variety, so if you play for extended periods, you’ll probably end up muting it.

Plantera is, by nature, a very repetitive game, but it is also a nice stress reliever as you can just zone out and interact as much or as little as you want with your garden. It is also quite addictive, not in the sense that you’ll play for hours straight, but you’ll load it up daily to keep tabs on your garden. It would have been nice to see more varieties of plants and animals, as everything on offer is unlocked quite early in the game. The game did receive regular updates from the developer, which is always good to see.

While Plantera’s mobile roots are pretty obvious, it still offers a very cheap and cheerful way to kill a few minutes. It is a very casual title, but it is surprisingly addictive and definitely something you’ll return to every now and then. Unlocking everything doesn’t take long, but the game is fun while it lasts.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP or higher
  • Storage: 30 MB available space

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