Indie Quickie: Plantera

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What is it and who made it? Not to be confused with a certain heavy metal band from the 80s and 90s, Plantera is a garden-growing clicker game from VaragtP Studios.

What platforms is it on and how much does it cost? It’s available now on Steam for Windows PC starting at $2.99, plus a 20% launch week discount.

How much did we play? I pointed and clicked on plants and animals for more than two hours, reaching level 23, and amassing a fortune of over 500k gold (and counting).

Any technical concerns, hardware requirements or other details you should know about? The game has full screen and windowed options, but no resolution presets or manual scalability. Which is kind of annoying since the windowed view is around the size of a tablet screen.

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Why should you play it?

    • Zen Garden: Do you find relaxation in gardening? Do you like clickers? Then this is the game for you. Plantera is a stress-killing game that involves very little interaction and yet somehow manages to become meditatively addictive. The objective is simple: grow a garden and make fat stacks of cash in the form of gold coins to then reinvest into expanding the garden until it stretches far beyond the left and right boundaries of the screen. As plants and trees grow, they cyclically produce fruits and veggies, which can be manually gathered via rapid-fire mouse clicks, or you can kick back and act as garden supervisor, watching as little blue puffball dudes do all the labor for you. The garden can also be populated with farm animals, like chickens, cows, pigs, and sheep, to produce other resources, all varying in gold value. On the flipside, hostile critters, like bunnies, wolves, birds, and moles, will try to creep into the garden and steal your crop or chase your animals. But no worries–like everything in the game they’re easily shooed off with a click. While all of this is going on, you gain experience and eventually level up to receive new types of plants and other rewards. There’s no real point or end goal, but man is there something about clickers that tickles that obsessive gamer desire to collect things and level up.

    • Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy: If brainlessly mouse-clicking a thousand times a minute doesn’t put you in a total state of Zen bliss, the game’s colorful, whimsical art style and adorable characters should help to brighten the mood. Sure, the single looping music track can be almost too cheery, to the point of becoming almost obnoxious after gleefully bobbing your head to it for the first hour. However, that just gives you the excuse to mute the audio and create a playlist of your favorite tunes to Zen garden out to. Pharrell’s “Happy” would be a fitting choice. Or maybe go with some Pantera, if that’s what helps you relax.

    • Persistent Progression: Another neat thing about this game–and clickers in general–is the way your garden continues to live on in persistence after you’ve quit. While you’re away, the blue puffball dudes will continue to toil away like little worker bees. Upon your return, a prompt will inform you of how much money was made in your absence, and you may even be rewarded with a level-up. More expensive upgrades are available to help boost this persistent progression, including fertilizer to increase the gold value for all crops, guard dogs to fend off critters when you aren’t around to click them, and an increase to the number of hours the workers will spend on the job. Every time you return to the garden is like opening a little gaming present. How much money did I earn? Did I get enough to level up? Am I closer to earning a new achievement?

Parting Thoughts: Plantera is a fun little time-waster of a game to casually play here and there between other, more sophisticated experiences. Its clicker mechanics are exceedingly simple and, after level 20, the sense of reward begins to dissipate fairly quickly as the upgrades menu runs out of new types of plants to unlock. So you’ll probably switch from playing an hour at a time for the first session or two to shorter five to ten minute spurts. But that’s the appeal of the game–and the genre. Even if there is no grand payoff to ultimately look forward to, there is this compulsive allure and soothing sense of gratification that pulls you back to check on your garden and watch the gold count pile up, daily if not hourly.

What is Indie Quickie? It takes a lot longer to fully review a game than it does to get a good sense of what a game is. Even with a full-time staff of writers it would be impossible to fully review the thousands of games that are released every year. Indie Quickie is our way to offer snap impressions of the countless indie titles small teams and one-man game studios are releasing literally every single day, and to help guide players to worthwhile games they may not have heard about before.

Disclosure: A free Steam key for Plantera was provided to VGBlogger.com by the game’s developer.

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!