Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator review - Green-fingered virtual respite

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator review - Green-fingered virtual respite
Images via Stillalive Studios | Nacon

Written by 

Katey Roberts

Published 

22nd Feb 2024 11:37

In the ever-moving and competitive world of video games, where the chase of action-packed adventures is a constant focus, Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator emerges as a serene sanctuary for those seeking solace and satisfaction in the simple joys of gardening.

With its gorgeous visuals and soothing soundtrack, this cosy game invites players to don their virtual gardening gloves and cultivate a personal paradise of their own from the comfort of their chosen platform.

GGRecon Verdict

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator doesn't just simulate gardening; it simulates peace, creativity, and community. Whether you're a seasoned green thumb or someone who struggles to keep a cactus alive (of which I am guilty), this game offers a slice of paradise to escape to - with no muddy boots required

Abundantly heartwarming

Customisation board in Garden Life A Cozy Simulator
Click to enlarge

From the outset, it's clear that Garden Life isn't just a game; it's a heartwarming invitation to slow down and grow - not just gardens, but a new calm within your mind. The vibrant visuals and attention to detail in plant animations instantly catch the eye, promising an immersive, satisfying horticultural experience that it delivers in abundance.

The instructions come easily and helped me understand the basics with ease, and as I began picking my first weeds from the garden, a wave of calm set in after a stressful day at the office.

Garden Life offers a blend of classic simulation with innovative mechanics. Players can design their garden spaces with a level of freedom that feels both liberating and daunting from the sheer level of options for your garden’s layout and design.

It’s fairly easy to navigate the game, and I made the most of playing portably on my ASUS ROG Ally, which ran smoothly and easily. From visiting Leslie at the Garden Shop to finding out if your plant is ‘happy’ (as someone who tends to give inanimate objects a full backstory and personality, this was one of my favourite elements), there were layers of exciting gameplay that was introduced to keep the game captivating, but also not too overwhelming.

Flowers in Garden Life A Cozy Simulator
Click to enlarge

Customisation a-plenty

Where Garden Life truly shines, though, is in its customisation options. It’s as if the developers took every gardener's wildest dreams and digitised them into reality. Want to create a sprawling oasis next to a cosy cottage, or a Zen garden with a maze of rose bushes? Your imagination is the only limit. Well, that and whatever’s available in the Garden Shop.

But with an array of ponds, trellis arches, or pergolas to choose from, you’ll never struggle for inspiration when designing your space, with the flow of in-game tasks keeping my interest, well, flowing.

This is great as it combats the cosy-game paralysis that can sometimes come when titles of similar nature are more simplified in their overall requirements. And as a cosy game enthusiast, there isn’t much I can complain about when it comes to the overall mechanics and feel.

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Get exclusive news, content, and discounts sent directly to your inbox

You've joined our newsletter. Thank you!
Sorry, there has been an issue in subscribing to the newsletter.

It did for me exactly what it set out to do: bring peace and calm into my busy life and let me tend to a garden of my own without stress or worry. The only time I found myself wanting to throw my ROG across the room in a non-serene manner was purely down to my skill issue - as it turns out I am not the rose-pruning whiz I believed I would be.

Once I came to terms with this fact, though, there were fewer flowers accidentally nipped by my pruning sheers and more tasks completed with ease.

Image of weeds in Garden Life a Cozy Simulator
Click to enlarge

The Verdict

In a world that can often feel too fast, Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is a breath of fresh air, encouraging you to slow down and take a moment to tend to your ‘roots’.

It doesn't just simulate gardening; it simulates peace, creativity, and community. Whether you're a seasoned green thumb or someone who struggles to keep a cactus alive (of which I am guilty), this game offers a slice of paradise to escape to - with no muddy boots required.

4.5/5

Reviewed on PC. Code provided by the publisher.

 

Katey Roberts is Head of Social at GGRecon. She graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2017 with a BA in Film And Media Studies. Her previous roles include LADbible, TYLA, GameByte, SPORF, and Student Problems.