Garden Story Melds Art with RPGs
During the Indie Showcase yesterday, Nintendo revealed that Garden Story was not only coming to Nintendo Switch, but that it was coming the same day, which meant I was able to dive straight into the game thanks to the publishers, who provided a code for our review purposes. While I still have a lot to play and learn about Garden Story as the Grove is a massive world waiting to be explored, my early impressions of the game are really strong after about 3 hours with the title.
You’ll play as a young grape named Concord – yes, the naming conventions are almost all this good – who’s life has been engulfed with one specific task – keeping up the Vine in the Kindergarden. But alas, you quickly learn that the Vine won’t produce the benefits the Grove needs, so for your safety, your longtime friend and Guardian of The Hamlet, Plum, brings you to live in the village with the rest of the residents.
Along the way, you’ll meet characters who all have their own unique personalities and characteristics. There is Rana, the loan frog in a world of fruits and veggies. Rana talks a big game, but we are pretty sure she’s one of the laziest residents in the Grove. You will also meet Maraschino, a young cherry who’s incredibly defensive and abrasive, but proves his worth to you eventually and helps out for the greater good. And the lovely Granny Smith, who will create tools and upgrade your items for you.
The game will have you collecting various resources from around the world, such as pebbles, sticks, glass shards, sap and more. These items can be used for crafting and building, fulfilling the various requests you get each day, and more. The request board will be your go-to each morning when you wake up – completing the quests will slowly level up three attributes of the village you are currently helping, providing you with more opportunities, and pushing the games story further.
The only downside a few hours in is how frequently requests are cycled. For example, two of the requests ask you to reactive. bridges by slashing at pedestals in the correct order to bring the bridge back out of the water, making it passable once again for residents. Over my 2.5 hours and 11 or 12 in-game days, I did each of those requests 3 or 4 times. In fact, I’m fairly certain I cycled through the same 8 or 9 requests for a few hours, and while I fully expect them to become a bit more unique as time goes on – after all, you will be visiting new areas – it does hurt the early game just a bit.
Still, Garden Story is packed full of charm, outstanding visuals, and a fantastic soundtrack that will keep you entertained for hours. Even my viewers on YouTube have requested a second straight day of Garden Story streams. It must be good, right?