1. cjvitek's Avatar
    Gardening Mama, by TAITO Corporation
    $6.99, ****


    Another fun game in the Mama line
    Unique game play design

    Gardening doesnt lend itself to iPhone movements as easily

    My daughter is a big fan of Cooking Mama for the iPhone, so I decided to purchase Gardening Mama for her, with the idea of reviewing it and comparing it to the original.

    For those that dont know, Cooking Mama is an import from the Nintendo game, where you use motions and action to simulate cooking. The faster and more accurate you are, the better you do. Gardening Mama continues in the same vein, using motions to simulate gardening activities. Your goal is to grow a variety of plants in a garden, including fruits, flowers, and vegetables. Activities that are simulated include things like planting seeds, watering plants, transferring seedlings, and spraying insect repellent. Depending on how well you perform the specific task, you are graded by Mama. As you progress, you unlock additional seeds to plant and new planting areas, improving your garden.

    Overall, the gameplay is very similar, almost identical to Cooking Mama. You progress through various levels, building up your garden, learning new skills. You can practice at certain levels before you try to complete them to unlock the next stage. Ultimately, Gardening Mama doesnt really add anything new to the gameplay but with the success of Cooking Mama, you dont really need to.

    One thing that I found a little odd where the activities that were required. With Cooking Mama, many of the activities or actions seemed to flow naturally tilt the iPhone to pour something from a cup, shake the iPhone back to mimic moving a frying pan. With Gardening Mama, many of the movements and actions didnt seem as intuitive to me. To pull a plant up, for example, you simply have to swipe up on the touch screen. It might have made more sense to slowly move your iPhone up (too quickly, and you rip the plant!). Some of them fit right in, but not all.

    But, ultimately, the game wasnt purchased for me. And my daughter loved it. The graphics are bright and colorful, the game play is easy to pick up, and she started developing her garden quickly, with very little difficulty. When I started to bring up some of my concerns about the game, she just waved her hand and ignored me she was having fun.

    All in all, if you are a fan of the Mama series, you probably will like Gardening Mama. It doesnt change anything from the already successful Cooking Mama, beyond the graphics. The game play is the same, the idea of the mini games are the same, unlocking different levels is the same. But for fans such as my daughter, the lack of change simply means she already knows how to play, and she can get started right away. While I didnt enjoy it, she did. For $6.99, the game isnt cheap, so I would be cautious when purchasing it, but for the right audience it can be a fun game to play. Four out of five stars.

    Rating scale:

    * = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
    ** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
    *** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
    **** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
    ***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

    Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating. Please comment on these reviews. If you own the app, tell me what your opinion is. If the review prompted you to buy (or not buy) the app, let me know why. If you want more information about the app, go ahead and ask.
    01-06-2012 04:36 PM