Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review
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Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

There’s no shortage of cosy games on the market at the moment. Everyone is trying to capture that Animal Crossing magic and while some come close, others try a little bit too hard. It seems that copying Animal Cross one-to-one isn’t the way to go. Instead, building a refreshing gardening game with a gorgeous art style and a strong emphasis on community is. Enter Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator plays just as well as it looks. The game explores the joys of planting your own garden, decorating it with adorable items and slowly growing it into the envy of the entire neighbourhood.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

A big draw to this game for me was its story mode. I think it is important that these cosy games include story modes to not only act as a tutorial for the sandbox mode but it also gives players a little bit of direction. There’s nothing worse than jumping into these cosy/simulator games without a goal.

The story mode in Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator followed my green thumb journey as I found myself on a dilapidated property with the ambitious goal of turning it into a functional garden destination. The story mode slowly settled me into the game by introducing me to the mechanics, providing me with free plants and tools and introduced some of the wonderful villagers that I would serve as my garden turned into a shop.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

There’s also a little joy to be had in the story mode. Characters are all tied to a recently deceased friend who once owned the property. This friend is now a ghost who aids you throughout the early parts of the campaign.

While Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator does lean heavily on this cast of characters, the gameplay is about growing plants, maintaining them and essentially making bank from doing so. This means on a daily basis, orders would come in for a number of flowers and I had to quickly chop them and send them off.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

Certain items can also be crafted from flowers such as bouquets. So again, I would have to focus on planting a large number of seeds, wait for the flowers to grow, chop a few dozen from their stems, run to the crafting table to make the item and send it off for money. A

The more I did this, the more the story unfolded, the more items became available, the larger my garden got and the sheer undertaking of this garden became a daily task. What makes Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator so approachable is the growing times on these plants aren’t real-time. So you can plant a flower in the morning and the next day, you’ll have full plants blossoming with flowers. It takes the game out of the simulator genre and if anything, makes it more enjoyable.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

I also need to praise the game’s finer details when it comes to gardening. Planting seeds might be a simple task of just putting down a bunch of sand but cultivating the plant saw me hovering the cursor over a stem and chopping leaves and flowers depending on the angle and position of my blade.

Unlike most farming games where you just pull out the entire flower, in Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator, if you need on rose, you can carefully chop that single flower from the plant without taking the entire plant down. It also means shaping plants is possible as you can carefully choose which leaves and stems to chop off.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

I have never experienced this depth in a gardening game before. Well, not that I know of and it added a layer of quality to the usual yanking of plants you see in other games.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator also gave me the freedom to plant whatever I wanted wherever I wanted. There are no grids to restrict you into boxes or lanes. There is an overall restriction to the number of plants you can grow in the garden but this is more from a technical perspective. I did reach this limit fairly quickly so I wish this was a bit more forgiving. Especially considering the decoration limit is so much higher than the plant limit.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

The same thing goes for the general decorations. You can literally place whatever you purchase and craft anywhere. It is a much-needed level of freedom that you often don’t find in the genre. Of course, there are some realistic guides to planting. For example, creeper vine plants and flowers should be placed down next to trellises or walls. But you can really put them anywhere. They just won’t grow as well.

Dozens of hours into Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator, I found myself at peace planting flowers and maintaining my garden. The gentle music that plays adds to this cosy theme and I absolutely loved rainy days where I could just walk around and listen to the rain falling. It also meant I didn’t have to water the garden so win-win!

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

When I wasn’t in my garden, I was in the town buying new goodies and seeds. The town is an adorable little village that has been crafted with the utmost attention to detail. I would totally live there if I could. No worries in the world – just gardening.

This love has been poured into almost every aspect of Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator. The game is oozing with personality and the water paint art style compliments every asset, flower and location. The visual aesthetic alone makes Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator worth a playthrough.

I don’t have a lot to complain about when it comes to the bad. I do feel as if the game’s tasks can get a little ridiculous. The crafting aspect especially goes overboard with the number of items needed to please a villager. Sometimes it would take days to plant and grow enough flowers to make the items. This also happens quite early into the game so you feel a bit overwhelmed and end up planting a messy garden just to get these tasks done.

I also had a few performance issues. When my garden got busy, the PS5 version of the game would stutter while going through the area. It makes planting and cutting quite annoying. But I am sure a patch can fix that right up.

In the end, Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator did exactly what I wanted it to. It was a peaceful and enjoyable gardening game that didn’t feel like a chore to play. I won’t say it is an incredibly deep experience but I don’t think it needs to be. The sandbox mode is where you’ll spend most of your time and the sheer amount of freedom and creativity truly shines here. If you love gardening or just need a cosy game, I would highly recommend Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator.

This Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator review is based on a code sent to us by Nacon. The game is now available on PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and PC. Find out more by visiting the official site here

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator

Summary

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is a charming gardening game with a gorgeous art style. The game’s well-thought-of gardening mechanics will also see you planting and chopping away well into the night.

Overall
8/10
8/10
Marco is the owner and founder of GLITCHED. South Africa’s largest gaming and pop culture website. GLITCHED quickly established itself with tech and gaming enthusiasts with on-point opinions, quick coverage of breaking events and unbiased reviews across its website, social platforms, and YouTube channel.

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