Garden Story Review – “One day at a time…”

When I first received a review code for Garden Story (on Nintendo Switch) I thought this would be a cute, super chill daily adventure game. Garden Story is very cute, but the game is not always “Super Chill.” In fact, it can get pretty tough at times.

Garden Story reminds me of games like Stardew Valley and Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Games with daily tasks to perform in your village. In Garden Story you play as Concord (a small grape) who has just moved from “The Kindergarden” (aka the easy life) to The Grove (aka the “real world” where you have to work and do chores and become a Guardian and defend your land). 

What is Garden Story?

Each day Concord must perform a few tasks (1-3) for the village, before moving on to his true mission (the game’s story). The days move fast, so you must be quick to get these tasks out of the way before moving on.

This is more of an early game review, because up until yesterday I was stuck on the first village of four. It has taken me 20 days (in-game) to finally defeat the Bookworm (aka the first boss). Up until yesterday, I thought my time with this game would be over once I finally defeated the Bookworm. I was wrong. After finally taking out the Bookworm, I was awarded many new benefits — more HP (hit points), an extra HP refill and a stronger weapon with more attacks.

I’ve now moved on to the second village, Summer Bar and I plan to continue playing Garden Story.

Garden Story – Launch Trailer – from last week’s Indie World Showcase

What’s Good?

While the combat in the game is simple and straightforward I really do enjoy taking out the Rot in Garden Story. I hope to find new and different types of weapons (including some ranged type).

The daily task system is nice since it’s not too oppressive. Tasks come in three categories: forage, maintenance and conflict. You must perform your one to three tasks in order to level up at the end of each day, but from there you are free to do pretty much whatever you want. Below I’ve included some examples of daily tasks and your end of day status report.

Garden Story features a diverse cast of berries and other food-based characters. I truly enjoy the wholesome story of building a strong community and coming together to rebuild your home that’s being attacked by outsiders (aka The Rot).

Any Problems?

Any time you die in battle (or some other way) you lose that day. It’s now onto the next day, so you must perform your tasks and any other important matters before attempting something big that may kill you and end your day.

Garden Story (2021) – Losing a battle to the Rot

Although there are only two to three tasks per day, they begin to get a bit repetitive. Most of them are simple tasks — defeat some of the rot, collect specific materials or fix a bridge. When these happen to take place all across the map, once you’re done with them you’ve already burned through most of your daylight.

Garden Story (2021) – Losing to Bookworm

This becomes annoying when you’re stuck on a boss or mission for about a week. Everytime you lose you have to begin a new day and first perform those daily tasks. With the Bookworm I also had to enter the library dungeon from the beginning each time and go through the simple, but time-consuming puzzles.

Garden Story (2021) – Finally defeating Bookworm

A small complaint I have is that for some reason Garden Story takes quite a while to load up on my Nintendo Switch. Any time I boot up the game the screen goes black for a bit too long. I’m sure this could be patched out and hopefully it will. It’s not the worst thing in the world I know, but a few times I thought my Switch had shut down.

Who’s Garden Story for?

As I said before this game gives me some Animal Crossing/Stardew Valley vibes, but with added combat (I know Stardew Valley has combat, but I don’t think I played enough to get to it). Garden Story is a great game for wholesome gamers who love cute little stories. There’s also some wonderful, wholesome music to accompany this wonderful adventure.

Garden Story is the perfect game to jump into and complete your daily tasks for a few minutes each day. Days go by quickly, and you can sit there and play multiple days in one sitting, but you can also just complete one day at a time.

A review code for Garden Story was provided to by the publisher.

Garden Story is out now on Nintendo Switch, PC & Mac (via Steam and Epic Games Store).

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