So far, its short time on the steam store has earned Plant This many good reviews; much to my surprise. I’ll be clear from the start: this must be like Marmite. They loved it, but I surely didn’t!
Plant,water, harvest then repeat
The game’s description claims that Plant This will make you feel like a true farmer. From the perspective of someone who has reared animals and grown crops before, I will safely say farming is nothing like this. Farming is hard and rewarding; Plant This is simple and monotonous. The game could have been a pleasant farming simulator but the developers bit more than they could chew. While it’s being labelled as a strategy-adventure RPG, Plant This was little more than a basic clicker.
The base gameplay was repetitive and unrewarding. No matter what you harvested or which animals you reared, all you received was a single gold coin. The only encouragement to progress was to fill contracts. Even completing these, though, yielded a reward that paled in comparison to how much money you would put into it!
On the other hand, the art style was rather sweet and definitely the game’s redeeming feature. The cute pixelated style was very Stardew Valley. Even the pigs – whose pupils looked like they couldn’t be further apart – had their own charm. Plant This is a bright and colourful game, with a brilliantly simple style.
So..what am I meant to do?
Let me walk you through my experience and see if I am just being a stick in the mud. I opened the game and clicked the play button, all good so far. I was greeted by a green field behind which was an ocean that had leaping dolphins. In the mist of all this was a lone bold man who was bobbing his head like a nodding dog. No tutorial was supplied, so I guessed clicking on his smiling -yet very angry-face was the best way forward.
This is where I found my first contract and the shop. I bought a couple of apple trees and watered them. Little happened at first but eventually they started to grow. From here on, it was just click… click… click: harvest a few apples and complete a contract. Truth be told, at this point I wasn’t exactly having a boat load of fun.
Next thing you know I had leveled up… not sure how, though! There was no indicator of earning experience or a bar to show how much I needed. I guessed it came from completing contracts but I wasn’t sure how many would level me up. I pressed on till I reached level 4 where I had pigs roaming my land. The animals also introduced a new mechanic, although I’m not certain it would be enough to change my views
Making sure the pesky beasts didn’t get abducted by aliens was frustrating at first. I had a scarecrow to prevent this but it only had a limited effect. As the pigs roamed willy-nilly, they kept leaving the safe zone and ending up as alien delicacy. Nevertheless, it gave me something to do; a nice and much needed change of pace!
Wait, Plant This has a soundtrack!?
Half an hour into the game, I threw in the towel and took a break. I would have continued playing but my ears were being bombarded by the screeches of birds and the crashing of waves. The noise was so continuous and dull to actually give me a headache. I was surprised Plant This went with environmental sounds over a soundtrack.
A few paracetamol later, I returned and headed to the settings to turn the awful sound effects down. To much surprise, here I saw a music volume bar. I messed around with the sound settings and discovered that there actually was music. This didn’t last long, though. A few tracks and the music once again was none existent.
A shame, really! The upbeat music was pleasant and much preferred to the birds. When it worked, it made the game more enjoyable. It gave it a much more finished feel and complemented the gameplay well. It was clear from steam comments I was not the only one to face this issue. I’m wondering why the devs didn’t bother to fix it!
Get that clicking finger ready!
Clickers are not bad games, they can be captivating and a great way to pass the time. Unfortunately, Plant This is not a good clicker.
Lets start with the lack of direction. Not only this indie game lacks a basic tutorial but also fails to show level progression. When you do level up, all you’ll see is a tiny number in at the bottom of the screen change. That’s it: no big sign, no festive music or rewarding sound. In fact, I was left none the wiser to my first level up for quite some time. The contracts don’t tell you how much reward you will get either. Probably a good thing, as a lot of the time the reward is a fraction of what you spent to complete the assigned tasks.
Turning contracts in levels you up and unlocks new plants. Shame this doesn’t feel much like a reward as all the plants and animals have the same value. Some plants such as strawberries and pumpkins are also only one time use. Why would I spend 30 gold on strawberries when I could spend 15 gold on a apple tree that keeps producing?
On to brighter things
Not all is lost, though! This game is good looking and once you hire a few workers even the painful strawberry farming is more bearable. The workers really help to automate the game, making it a less aggravating experience. The aliens I mentioned before also add a funny twist to the experience, making it different from other farming simulators. In the end, Plant This is an average click-based farm simulator game. It sure isn’t the worst but not the best either.
For what it costs this game is worth the couple of quid. It is simple – and despite its problems – it is playable. If you can stand the clicking and the poor rewards, that is!
The positive reviews also seem to all mention how great a game it is to pass the time. So… if you find yourself with too much time on your hands, this may be the next title you should put on your watchlist! It probably will be a 50/50 whether you enjoy this game but, for $1.59 (or your regional equivalent), its not the most expensive of risks.
Shape up and maybe we will talk
One positive review described Plant This as a time waster. Well… it certainly wasted my time! This farm style game had a cute style but not much else. Until the many issues with it are fixed, I will probably steer clear and look somewhere else. It would also be nice to see the game’s description better fit the game I actually played.
Plant This definitely has potential and with a few patches could become a great game. Change the spelling mistakes and sound issues and it will give the game a more professional feel. It already has great visuals and a nice concept. The soundtrack is a perfect fit for the game too.
While I was not a fan, though, the creator has done a good job at creating a sweet and simple game. It was not my cup of tea, but if it does appeal to you why not click your way to creating a farm that beats all others.