by PLAYRiX ENTERTAINMENT
Jud’s Game Rating:
Graphics: ***** Player participation (PP) **** Satisfaction Factor (SF) *****
Frustration Factor (FF) *
This game is FUN, FUN, FUN!
As usual I will start with the Graphics – they are great! 3D CG, colourful, and crisp, with clear backgrounds and easy to discern objects, even in the darker rooms.
In the storyline you (the player) inherits an old house with a very run-down garden – caused by neglect. But as Austin the Butler is not young and has been looking after the house he has had no time or energy to take care of the garden. So it is your job to fix it up. To get the money to do so you have a continual Jumble Sale, which starts off small, but as the news of it spreads gets more complex.
You purchase garden features and furniture with the proceeds, having a choice of 3 for each item – seats, pond, bridge etc. There are also pets to name and add to the garden, along with their homes; fun features to play with; and tasks to set Austin such as trimming the Topiary and feeding the birds. Tips are given by Austin, who initially takes you through the brief Tutorial, as the money is totalled to remind you of things to do. There are additional coins to find in each room, question marks for extra Hints, thermometers that show if you are hot or cold, and cameras that show 5 items at a time if you are stuck. Also as a result of requests by mail or phone you have to find 10 or 20 of the same objects – like books or butterflies for the local library or collectors respectively.
Update: There are also pearls and chocolates scattered amongst the objects and rooms to find for customers. I like the way they move the objects around in the rooms from visit to visit – they aren’t always in the same place, so it’s more difficult to locate them. But an FF niggle is that Austin doesn’t let you peruse the room for long before nagging you to use the Tutorial/Hint facilities. And if you don’t want to you have to tell him each time. Irritating!
You get to choose between Relaxed or Timed play from the outset, and can change it at any time. You can also change any of the garden features at any point – of course it will cost you more money. When the game is complete and you have gained the surprise at the end, you can continue to play indefinitely. This is not like the ‘Clear the Location’ play that some games have, but rather a continual hunt for objects and payment which you can use to re-design the garden. Or you can start again as someone else.
Finally there is the option to make the completed garden your Screensaver. I have done so andit is fun to see the rain teeming down into it, or the birds singing and flying around, and butterflies fluttering and landing on Austin’s outstretched hand. Your pet gives you lots of laughs also. and the Screensaver Garden only shows the garden at the stage you have reached in your game – so it gradually improves as you work your way though the game.
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