Who knew casual games and manual labor go together? In Alice Greenfingers, you try your hand at building the flower garden of your dreams. Grow some vegetables on the side and take care of animals too, then hit the town market. Harvest and sell according to your customers’ demands. Expand your business by unlocking items throughout your 30-day farming adventure.
Created by the guys at Arcade Lab, Alice Greenfingers is a business sim game that features a customizable garden. With engaging game play and a logical control scheme to boot, it’s no wonder that this gardening gem emerged as the 1st runner-up for Best Action/Arcade Game back in 2007.
As for the concept, well, think Harvest Moon meets Lemonade Tycoon. Your main goal is to tend to your farm, making good decisions in order to maximize profits in the town market. From sowing seeds to storing ripe vegetables in a box, you are in charge of everything that goes on in your garden.
The farming formula is nothing you haven’t seen before. You click on the grass to prepare a patch of soil. This counts as an open tile. Afterwards, you pick the bag of seeds you wish to plant. Clicking on one of the dirt patches on the ground will sow the seeds. The plants will need time to grow so you can take this opportunity to add more vegetables to your garden. When the produce is ready, it’s then time to harvest them. You click on a vegetable to place it in a box. Each box holds four plants. When filled, you may leave the box inside the storage shed. After that, it’s time to head to the town market.
Because all of the interactions are done through mouse clicks, it’s easy to get the hang of the controls. After finishing the mandatory tutorial, you will even be given a step-by-step reminder note in case you get confused with the process. As your garden grows, you may customize it with a variety of different flowers, fruits and vegetables. There will even be animals and decorations to unlock along the way.
As the game was released a few years back, the graphics, understandably, shows its age. With a dominant brown tone, the colors look muddy on an HD PC monitor. The pixel art is charming, though it could use a polish in terms of style. We’re not really big fans of the character design either, as the art style used for the portraits remind us of Mr. And Mrs. Potato Head. Perhaps it’s a good thing, as it reminds us why we fell in love with gaming in the first place. Just as it was during the 8-bit era, Alice Greenfingers puts its focus on great game play as opposed to the bells and whistles of CG eye candy.
Alice Greenfingers may not be as graphically impressive as, say, Farmer’s Market but the bite-sized garden adventure hits the spot when it comes to game play. Any Harvest Moon fan will be familiar with the farming process, with the benefit of having a more simplified system. There’s no need to chop up trees in the middle of your land and you don’t have to water every single plant several times just to get them to grow. The challenge lies in the business side of things and not in mundane tasks in the garden.
Aside from sticking to the basics, this accessible garden sim game also earns brownie points for having an efficient menu system. For instance, travelling to the town market only requires a click on its icon on the game menu, eliminating the need to repetitively walk from garden to market. Of course, you will still have to wait for Alice to finish an animation before moving to the next.
Aside from genre fans, we recommend Alice Greenfingers for those looking for a straightforward farm-themed game that can be finished in a day. Those who love customization features will enjoy tending to their garden. There are a wide range of crops and produce to harvest. There are also 12 awards to earn and plenty of items to unlock if you are into achievements. Bottom line is, the game’s intuitive controls combined with the familiar game play will ensure that even novice farmers will enjoy the 30-day farming crash course. That is, if you can look past the title’s dated graphics.