Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review – A Promising Garden That Needs Time To Blossom

You run an abandoned community garden in Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator. Unlike other cultivation games, which focus on growing crops and farming, Garden Life focuses on a smaller, more beautiful scale. Cultivating wonderful flowers and creating a beautiful space for the community to enjoy. Beauty is certainly an operating word in this game, but where the game excels in presentation, it struggles in other places.

To begin, I have to say that my favorite aspect of Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is how the game presents itself.

The game looks absolutely phenomenal. The game maintains a consistent, highly stylized look across every plant, building, and blade of gross. I don’t know exactly what you would call the style of art used for the game, but it gives me a storybook feeling. More specifically, it reminds me of something you might find in an English textbook when I was in school. It gives an almost dreamy feeling, remaining grounded in reality but feeling whimsical nonetheless.

Mossy stones, old paint-chipped gazebos, and the small, bustling town all look absolutely amazing. The colors are vibrant without being obstructive to the eye, and everything certainly sells the cozy vibe the developers were clearly going for.

The cultivation aspects of the game are also a big highlight. If you’ve played this game genre before, you might know what to expect from planting something in a video game: Put seeds in the ground, water them, and harvest them later. However, the way Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator handles things is a bit different, helping it to stand out from the competition in the genre.

Garden Life A Cozy Simulator Garden
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

For starters, you can plant your seeds anywhere in the garden. And I mean literally anywhere. If there’s dirt, you can stick seeds in it, with no grid or designated planting areas like many other games might have. Except for a designated amount of space each plant needs to grow (a very realistic restriction), there are no rules for where or how you need to plant something.

This freedom also extends to the many decorations and other placable objects you can buy or otherwise dislike. Just put things wherever you’d like. It’s your garden; it’s up to you how to decorate it, and that’s a level of freedom I really appreciate.

It’s not only that but how plants are grown and harvested separates this game from other cultivation sims. Each plant has its own growth cycle and method of harvesting. I love the way the game allows you to nip the buds off of flowers without outright killing the plant. Seeds aren’t just planted and then harvested but are grown and cultivated somewhat realistically, giving the game an immersive feeling.

There aren’t very many places to go in the game, but that’s alright because you’ll want to spend most of your time in the garden anyway. When not there, you’ll be in town, which is gorgeous, buying new seeds or tools or decorations or getting up to other activities.

Garden Life A Cozy Simulator Town
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

The game isn’t all sunshine and roses, pun intended, however. While playing, I experienced some issues that stemmed from a lack of developer polish, which I hope to see cleaned up soon after the game launches.

For starters, the game has terrible optimization, with issues I can’t even totally fathom. I’ll explain. I faced constant crashes when I booted my copy of Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator up on my main PC (which meets the game’s system requirements). Even though the framerate was great, the game would crash to the desktop whenever I tried to play story mode and consistently during sandbox mode each time I wiped my save file.

Garden Life A Cozy Simulator Oops
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

On top of that, the developers unfortunately missed a few strange bugs. For example, in town, when trying to explore down the street, I was consistently able to clip through an invisible barrier and get stuck behind the town, being able to see the unfinished insides of the buildings the developers clearly never wanted me to find. From then on, I could not walk back into town and reload my last save.

I was also able, at times, to bring up what seemed to be a developer console. This was mostly in sandbox mode, so maybe it was an intended feature, but the UI didn’t match anything else on screen, so I had a feeling I wasn’t supposed to see it.

Garden Life A Cozy Simulator Dev Console
Screenshot: Try Hard Guides

“Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator” holds a lot of promise as a beautiful and tranquil cultivating sim, but it needs a bit more time in the oven. The game already has a lot of content to work with, so by prioritizing polish and addressing bugs, the developers can make something special: a virtual haven for players seeking a serene escape into the gardening world.

The Final Word

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator offers a visually enchanting experience with its beautiful and highly stylized graphics, evoking a storybook charm that seamlessly blends reality with whimsy. The game provides players with a ton of freedom and the relaxing fantasy of cultivating a community garden. However, some bugs, optimization problems, and developer oversights underscore the need for additional polish. With a little work, the game has the potential to blossom into something truly special.


7

Try Hard Guides was provided with a PC review copy of this game. Find more detailed looks at popular and upcoming titles in the Game Reviews section of our website! Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is available on Steam, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, and PlayStation.

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