Gardening video games
Rainy day got you down? Die-hard gardeners still can get their hands dirty - at least virtually - with these new gardening games. -- BY JESSICA DAMIANO
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FLOWER IS IT WORTH IT? : With no score, no death and no real ending, Flower is more of an experience than a game. As mesmerizing as a Pink Floyd laser show, this beautifully graphic game fills your senses with serene spalike music and vivid colors as flower petals float through caves, above cities, past wind turbines and over fields of green. Your mission is to accumulate as many petals as possible. Ethereal and relaxing, Flower could be the antidote to a stressful day.
FLOWER PREMISE : No real premise here, just enjoy the scenery, soar through the sky, collect some flowers and BE. PROMOTIONAL QUOTE : "Life - in balance." PLATFORM : Playstation3 RATING : E COST : $9.99 AVAILABLE AT : PlaystationStore (download only)
BONSAI BARBER IS IT WORTH IT? As a bonsai barber, you serve five customers a day by creating your own cuts or choosing from a list of popular styles. Customers are botanical mutants, with leaves for hair atop fruit or vegetable bodies. Tools of your trade include shears, buzzers, scissors - and a spray bottle to regrow mistakes. Game play lasts only a few minutes a day (you can't expect everyone to get a haircut every day, can you?) and players use the Wii remote to shape, angle and trim coifs. Bad haircuts (which could involve trimming branches from foreheads) are met with complaints, but happy fruits and veggies have been known to send gifts. Best of all, you can share photos of your creative handiwork on the Internet.
BONSAI BARBER PREMISE : You're the only barber in a village of bonsai trees, and it's your mission to keep everyone well groomed. PROMOTIONAL QUOTE : "A tasty nibble of a game, it is bite-sized barbering at its finest, in only minutes a day." PLATFORM : Nintendo Wii RATING : E COST : 1,000 Wii Shop points ($10) AVAILABLE AT : nintendo.com/wii/wiiware/ (download only)
GARDENING MAMA IS IT WORTH IT? : The sequel to the popular, multi-million-selling 2007 Cooking Mama game, this one gets Mama out of the kitchen and into the garden where she belongs. Use the DS stylus to plant, nurture and harvest fruits, vegetables and flowers, then turn the produce into jam, jack-o'-lanterns, etc. A multiplayer mode lets players compete against each other in the quest for the biggest harvest and trade creations with online friends. Multiple game modes include Let's Get Growing, Decorate the Garden, Make It Fancy, Cute Treasure Chest and Let's Play Together. True to life, plants thrive according to the care they're given.
GARDENING MAMA PREMISE : Follow instructions to grow, harvest and enjoy a large selection of flowers, fruits and vegetables. PROMOTIONAL QUOTE : "First she conquered the kitchen, now Mama's taking on one tough mother - nature." PLATFORM : NINTENDO DS RATING : E COST : $29.99 AVAILABLE AT : Various retailers
Plants vs. Zombies
Plants vs. Zombies IS IT WORTH IT? : Though it sounds like it might be gory and scary, this amusing action-strategy game of gardener vs. the living dead is cartoonish fun appropriate for most 10-year-olds (a sinister Vincent Price-esque laugh, the repeated "I'm going to get you" threat and the eating-your-brain thing might leave an undesired impression on little ones), but this adult gardener stayed up way past her bedtime trying to defeat a huge onslaught of zombies. Forget about a rainy day -- with at least 50 levels in each of five play modes (Adventure, Survival, Puzzle, Zen Garden and Mini-Game Challenges), this one will take you through an entire monsoon. Dozens of zombie types, including a zombie bobsled team, keep things interesting while you try to fight them with weapons like pea shooters, cherry bombers and potato mines, which you grow from seeds purchased from the Doom and Bloom Seed Company.
PLANTS VS. ZOMBIES PREMISE : Face off with legions of zombies intent on charging your front lawn, entering your home and eating your brains. Use mutant plants to defeat the undead before they defeat you. PROMOTIONAL QUOTE : "So frighteningly fun, you'll soil your plants!" PLATFORM : PC/MAC RATING : 10+ COST : $19.95 AVAILABLE AT : popcap.com (download only)