I checked out the game, which is billed as a safe, multiplayer world for kids. Garden Party is a collection of minigames, which can be played interactively or alone, at which you win the local Garden Party currency, Orbs. The concepts of the games were cute, and able to be played interactively or solo, but I’m not really the target demographic, so I found them a bit repetitive and simplistic. I didn’t really like the ratio of orbs to mingames, as I felt forced to play boring minigames to make the cash for the fun part of Garden Party, the garden. I don’t really need a game for the opportunity to do something not-so-fun to make money to do fun things… I think that’s called having a job.
The garden really is the best part of Garden Party. Each player has their own garden and treehouse to decorate as you’d like. Players purchase seeds, which need to be planted and watered, and then grow into everything you could need, from cartoony flowers (I grew bubble flowers and glitter star flowers) to animal costumes to treehouse furnishings and fashion accessories. You can unlock your garden to invite guests or for gardening contests.
Of course, I spent most of my orbs on accessories seeds! These flowers can grow mohawks, colored shades, eyepatches, pirate hats, crowns…. there’s are enough accessories and clothing changes to make avatars look different. Garden Party had an excellent balance of enough customization and options to make a crowd of individual ‘toons looking different, but kept within a defined game aesthetic. Did I mention how cute everything is?
And costumes! You need a duck costume to swim (sorry Hugo!), a bee costume to buzz around and a spaceship costume to blast off. These costumes grow from seeds, or you can buy them from other players. In costume, you can play different minigames.
The minigames are competitive without ever being close to violent. In one game, players compete to color a picture. From a parenting standpoint, Garden Party is safe for wee ones without the annoying text protection of Wizard 101. (Assuming, of course, that your little one isn’t going to use the mail function to tell bad guys where they live and what time Mommy isn’t home. If they are likely to do that, you can turn off messaging until you’ve taught them about stranger safety.)
I had another slight problem. It’s a browser game that doesn’t use the whole screen. Don’t tell anyone this, but I often increase the text size when I read blogs. (Because I am old. And apparently going blind, as well.) So I think that my avatar looked cute in her purple dress, black boots and green glasses, but I couldn’t see it very clearly. The size didn’t really interfere with my ability to play, I just wish it had been bigger.
Overall, this is a pretty game. It’s very good for kids because the controls are intuitive, with a good mix of simple games and open-ended gardening, and also a good balance of activities you can do alone or with others. I suppose saying I liked it isn’t a very good way to prove than I’m no longer in grade school and not British, either!
(Just want to make it clear that this is not a paid or a sponsored review in any way. Opinions here are my own. You all knew that, right?)