First up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.
“Clicker/Idler” games have made a huge insurgence, especially on mobile devices. Interestingly enough, the game we’re about to review, while seemingly perfect on mobile, is currently just for the PC. It’s called Plantera; developed and published by VaragtP.
My initial intent was to play the game long enough to learn the rules, create a few strategies and collect a number of screen shots for this review. That didn’t happen. I instead lost track of time, completely mesmerized by what I was doing. The game is essentially a personal farming simulator, where you plant crops to earn money. The money is used to plant more crops to earn more money…rinse repeat. If that were all, Plantera would still be a fun diversion. The characters you meet are extremely cute and cuddly; even the adversaries. But there’s more to the story here; namely Steam achievements. There are currently 28 such achievements, and they are not easy to get. While the game itself is not difficult to play, it takes a LOT of time to rack up kudos. Fortunately you can walk away from the computer (once you get your little farm established) and let the game play by itself!
Consider the following screen shot:
Here we have a fairly built up farm. The star in the bottom-left corner indicates that I reached Level 7, which took about 15 minutes. One of the aforementioned achievements is awarded for reaching Level 100, so you can see what kind of time we’re talking about.
You start the game with a single blue farm worker and some errant butterflies floating above. When a glowing aura appears around a butterfly, you can click it for coins. After you’ve collected a few coins, open your inventory to see what crops you can afford to plant. Carrot seeds are the cheapest (6 coins), and each carrot harvested is worth 1 coin in return. Turnips cost 3 times as much as carrots to plant, but return 2 coins each when harvested. In the long run turnips are the better value, and this concept continues as you unlock more crops. You can trash unneeded crops at any time, so replace them with better ones when you have the cash.
As your fledgling farm grows, new items become available. Berry bushes and fruit trees are among the earliest; each offering decent returns. Remember though that your workers aren’t tall enough to reach high fruit, so you’ll have to click them (or wait for them to fall from the branches) to get paid.
Before long, livestock becomes available. Chickens for example lay valuable eggs, while pigs dig up renowned truffles. When you’ve collected sufficient coins, special items show up for purchase. Some of these will increase your farm’s productivity while others will ward off adversaries who are bent on destroying your farm. Who are these denizens? Let’s take a look:
First on the enemy list is the mole. He pops up to temporarily prevent your crop beds from producing food. Click the mole to make him retreat underground. Next there’s the magpie, who attempts to swoop in and steal your ripe crops. Again, click on the denizen to make it fly away. Alternately, for 250 coins you can place a scarecrow to ward off magpies for you. Be aware that only birds coming in close to the scarecrow’s position will be frightened away. You may want to invest in multiple scarecrows, especially when you expand the width of your farm later on. My favorite foe by far is the fox. He waddles in to collect your chickens. You’ll have to triple-click the fox to send him packing. Optionally, for 1000 coins you can buy a guard dog to patrol your farm. He’ll scare away foxes and moles.
So as you can see, there’s a lot going on in this user-friendly, single button game. Plantera is definitely a great value on Steam at $3 (USD). The only thing I’d recommend before playing is to plug in one of your old generic mice. You’ll be clicking more in this game than in your other apps combined; not something you want on that 12K DPI device!