Electron Dance
17Apr/160

Dabbling with… Gardenarium

The tenth episode of a short series on games I discovered at EGX Rezzed 2016.

rezzed-gardenarium

Here’s one of those titles I thought I’d have a go at one day but never ever did. I think I was the first visitor to the Leftfield Collection on Friday morning - it seemed some of the games were still being set up - so out of all the games available I plumped myself down in front of Gardenarium (Paloma Dawkins & Kyler Kelly, 2015).

I always had it on my check-it-out list but something about the drawing aesthetic and colour palette rubbed me up the wrong way and I couldn’t see myself writing a post out of it. But I didn’t strike it off. It was always there... at the back of the queue.

Turns out I played through the entire experience at Rezzed, but it was clear what kind of game it was from early on. I saw it as Proteus (Key & Kanaga, 2013) without the procedural generation. There are characters you can talk to, an important collectible element and, uh, something else I’d rather leave you to discover yourself. Perhaps it’s best understood as an exploration game where you get to grow a musical space.

Let me crowbar in a couple of negatives. As you might be able to tell, it is short but I probably rushed a little too much at Rezzed; I’d certainly want to spend more time wandering around. The other thing is some first-person jumping is required and, later on, making a mistake means have to re-do part of the ascent. First-person jumping is rarely a good idea.

Despite these caveats, it is a really lovely thing and the ending is adorable.

Gardenarium is available from itch.io and also Steam for Windows, Mac and Linux.

Interested in the other games I dabbled with? Check out the series index!

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