Gardening’s for old people, homeowners, drug dealers and boring people, right? Oh, how judgemental you’ve become. But before making assumptions, why not try Garden Simulator for yourself, then see which side of the fence you’ll remain on.

You may be reading this as you’re either one of those listed above (thought so), or you’re also a fan of simulator games and get a kick out of repetition, relaxed gameplay, and a backstory that includes a grandparent that’s left you some asset of some kind, and to continue their legacy. Yawn.

My apologies, PRODUKTIVKELLER Studios, but I skipped the intro. I seldom do, but it was so cliche that it would spoil my appetite. This may have been a bit foolish, as missing this bit may have caused an extra learning curve as there were minimal instructions on how to play the game. In hindsight, it’s not rocket science.

Garden Simulator Review

Garden Simulator Review - Purdy flowers
Purdy flowers. Source: Steam

As with all PC reviews, I tried playing on the Steam Deck first, regardless of Valve’s recommendations. Garden Simulator works absolutely fine, and it must be said that sitting on the sofa playing this complements the chill vibe the game gives. It’s very relaxing, undemanding and satisfying managing one’s own lawn, but as you accumulate tools, there’s no place to put them. [Updated: you can store your tools to the right of the main storage – it wasn’t working on the first playthrough].

Your interaction with the outside world is via a laptop that remains outside. From here, you can receive emails with your objectives (grow some flowers for a local, et al.) as well as the online store for purchasing new tools, plants, flowers, lawn expansions, plus plenty of decorative items that include gnomes and wooden platforms. Once you’ve placed your order, the delivery person launches a wooden crate straight over your roof and into the garden. However, a later upgrade creates a designated spot for future deliveries. To keep things tidy. It’s pretty damn overkill, but that and the way the trash lands in the bin are amusing.

The trash in the game is the same as any other simulator. When you start the game, you have to clean the place of a few bags, crates and planks of wood, which remains the same throughout as you’ll often have to throw away the remnants of the delivery crates or get rid of your lawn cuttings. On the upside, you get paid for all this and gain XP in the process. Even better, you can have tasks automated, but doing it yourself is more accurate, and a glitch in the game had my robot mower create around 50 bags of trash in a couple of seconds. While getting rid of it all was irritating, I earned well over 3000 garden coins – the currency used for purchases.

Get Off My Lawn

As you can imagine, money is used to upgrade your gear and buy seeds. The most expensive items are lawn expansions – gaining access to the front of the house, and through these, as well as minor milestones such as watering so many plants or cutting so much KM of grass, you’ll get better gear. What was frustrating is a lot of the produce is locked, so you have to grow multiple plants before you can unlock the next set. Harvest them too early, and you have to do it again. In short, if you see a notification that an item has been unlocked in the store, manually go there and select it, as once it’s unlocked, it’s there for good.

Finally, Garden Simulator has a levelling system that improves your work efficiency. This might be the speed at which you water the plants (or how the sprinklers work), cutting the lawn, the time at which plants and veggies grow and the profit you earn, plus things like fertilizer that is used from your compost piles, making the quality of your goods better, thus more pennies.

Garden Simulator adds quite a few bonuses into the mix, such as throwing your trash from a distance, similar to Gas Station Simulator, plus many more comical achievements that are well worth exploring. It doesn’t feel like a massive game, and even though it takes place on one property, it never feels restrictive and, in all honesty, I grew most of my stuff in one area, despite owning all the land. It’s certainly repetitive from the beginning, but it’s consistent throughout, and I’d guarantee you’ll invest hours in this if these sort of simulators are your thing.

Oh, there’s a cat in the game, too. Surely that’s a win for the internet and gamers?