“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” – Claude Monet
Cloud Gardens is a chilled out game in which players must overgrown plants in order to cover post-apocalyptic wasteland dioramas. There are a variety of play modes but the overall focus is on sandbox-style gameplay, creativity and relaxation.
Released: 1st September 2021
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
Cloud Gardens sees players plant seeds in order to decorate various dioramas. Cars, signs, beer bottles and a plethora of other miscellaneous objects can be used to further decorate the scenes but will also encourage growth on plants within a set radius of where the item was placed. Once the plants flower, these can be harvested and used to create further seeds and carry on planting.
The game has two modes, challenge and creative, the former involves puzzling through a series of scenes that requires a certain amount of the space to be covered by plants with the player’s progress shown in the form of a percentage. Playing in challenge mode unlocks new seeds and a large catalogue of items to be used in creative mode in which players can create and decorate their own dioramas. This second mode features sandbox-type gameplay with zero objectives. While challenge mode can get a tiny bit tricky on occasion it is very satisfying and ultimately, both modes are very relaxing.
Cloud Gardens also has a photo mode that allows players to edit the lighting, take photos and even record videos of the plants growing over recently crafted dioramas. This is a nice addition to the game and has helped foster an active online community sharing their creations.
Narrative and Styling
There are no explicit narrative elements to Cloud Gardens but it is fun to speculate the reason for the post-apocalyptic environments which are depicted with low-poly models and charming pixel art in vibrant colours with atmospheric and changing lighting. The stark contrast between the fresh plant life and the derelict buildings and manufactured trash makes for some effective and pleasing visuals. This is complimented well by delicate chimes and other calming sound effects as well as the lo-fi soundscapes that sit in the background and helps lift the scene, creating a serene atmosphere.
Cloud Gardens is a mix of gardening simulation, puzzle game and a creative sandbox experience. It provides engaging but laid back gameplay, lovely pixel art and some mellow lo-fi tunes. The combination works well and the overall experience is wholesome, relaxing and easy to get lost in. I thoroughly enjoyed this game, it is a great way to unwind and I recommend it to anyone looking for some zero pressure gaming!
Looking for more relaxing and wholesome games? Take a look at these reviews:
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