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The UnderGarden is a quaint, unique, nicely appointed puzzle adventure with loads of appeal. One doesn’t play it, per se; one experiences it. It isn’t about super tight controls, an engrossing storyline, or intensely challenging puzzles that will tax you to the limits. It’s about huddling beneath a warm, velvety quilt that imparts a very comforting feeling. You can conquer a puzzle, grab a special crystal, and complete a level with all the seeds pollinated, and at the end of the day, you’ll just be happy you participated. There’s a smoothness that permeates everything, from the control to the cosmetics, and it’s not something that we normally see. This isn’t for everyone – it does require a fair amount of sensitivity and artistic appreciation – but if this review struck a chord with you, the game will undoubtedly cause a symphony to encapsulate your body when you start to play.
For all my criticisms of The Undergarden it is definitely a unique idea, regardless of its hit and miss execution. I would definitely be interested in seeing how they might improve upon the game’s foundations for a potential sequel, but until then I can’t recommend the game whole heartedly. That said, it may well tickle your fancy depending on what kind of gamer you are. With a free demo available on PSN and XBLA it is certainly worth trying before buying.
The UnderGarden is a calming albeit somewhat boring experience that is for those looking to relax and not have to worry about frustrating puzzles or killing everything that moves. Just prepare to fight drowsiness along the way or limit game time to short bursts.
If you can get past its problems, The Undergarden is a competent puzzle game with beautiful (if a bit samey) art and music direction, a light hearted concept, and an absolutely adorable protagonist. However, if you’re looking for a little more entertainment value (or fewer crashes) for your ten bucks, you may be better served elsewhere.
Clearly this game isn't for everyone. I tend to like quirky titles, but I couldn't stay interested in this one. It is somewhat off the beaten path, and when that's the case there are bound to be a few people who have been waiting for something just like it. If you're intrigued, I would suggest trying the demo and seeing where that takes you.
All in all, The Undergarden is definitely a game that is to be avoided by puzzle enthusiasts, ultra violent droogies, or people who like to be given a clear purpose before giving anything their attention. Due to the low challenge factor, lackluster design, and Death being a non-issue, the game is best played by children, the elderly, or introduced to that one person in your circle of friends who has never played a video game before.
I can certainly applaud The Undergarden's developers for trying something different, but the concept here is not nearly strong enough to support the bland and pedestrian gameplay. Even casual games still demand a level of interest from the player, and The Undergarden doesn't have it.