What would happen if you took a time management game and offered it in untimed mode? Alice Greenfingers 2 has the answer, and it turns out to be surprisingly engaging. But to fully enjoy the game as it is, you have to put aside all your preconceptions about what it’s supposed to be.
Like a warm Spring day spent puttering in the garden, Alice Greenfingers 2 is as much about process as it is about produce. And while it takes some getting used to, the reward can be hours of stressfree satisfaction.
The first Alice Greenfingers was a business sim that looked like a time management game. However, the tutorial was weak, and many players never realized there was a sim in the background, or that goods continue to sell when the market window was closed.
Alice Greenfingers 2 drops most of the sim aspects, but retains its most unique feature: this is an untimed game. In fact, the slower you go, the more points you can get—but then getting the highest score isn’t really the goal.
Alice Greenfingers was one of the first farming-themed games, and it has many familiar features. You design your own crop layout. There are seeds and shovels and watering cans. Upgrades include sprinklers, fertilizer, and livestock pens. Seeds are planted, blossom, and are harvested in the usual farm crates. If you’ve played Ranch Rush, a time and resource management game with great graphics, you may at first think Alice Greenfingers 2 is just a retro clone.
But the gameplay for Alice Greenfingers 2 is completely different. Yes, you have a goal for each round. It may be making $250, or planting 3 sunflowers, or selling 20 crates of tomatoes. What’s different is that the round lasts exactly as long as it takes you to meet that goal. That’s right—you cannot lose a round. Ever. And you can take as long as you want and do whatever you want until that goal is met!
You can rearrange the garden, plant roses, play with the dog, pick apples… The “day” will continue until eventually you get around to meeting the stated goal. Physically, there is no stress at all. And even if you don’t go to market, you get a free $2 every time you pick up the apples that fall conveniently from preplanted trees, so you’ll never run out of money for crates or other essential supplies.
Crops are low maintenance, too. Once fully grown, they no longer require watering. There are no insects or marauding deer. Picked crops never go bad. It’s like a dream. Or maybe Alice Greenfingers is really Alice in Wonderland, and we’ve all fallen down the rabbit hole together.
In any case, as that Alice said, “It’s all rather peculiar.” Sure, you can rush around—but you don’t have to. The pacing is up to you. There is no clock ticking.
There were two things that did spoil the experience somewhat. The first is lack of details in the retro style. They’ve updated the look of the cut scenes, but for a game that is all about enjoying the moment, graphics at the level of Ranch Rush would have added tremendously.
Second, the storyline with Uncle Berry was annoying. We appreciate the detailed tutorial and the goal variety, but as a comic character, he just falls flat. Fortunately, he eventually leaves. But we would have preferred marketplace-driven or education goals.
Unlike the first Alice Greenfingers, you don’t have to set prices. Each crop has a fixed value. You can look at customer thought bubbles to see what they want—but there’s no pressure. You can’t lose. You get a free upgrade every round, and you decide if you’d rather have a bigger marketstall or more popularity or a henhouse. But if you don’t like the results you get, don’t worry—in the next round you’ll get to pick something else.
That’s the key to enjoying Alice Greenfingers 2: “Don’t worry; be happy.” Just have fun. Unlike the original, you do get a set goal for every round, which gives the game more structure. But you will eventually make each goal, because the round won’t end until you do. You can also save midround, a nice feature for those whose real lives create lots of interruptions.
If you’re used to frenetic mousemashers where you have to replay rounds several times just to get through, Alice Greenfingers 2 may seem very, well, “peculiar,” at first. In our modern society most of us have to literally learn how to relax. Try the demo for a change of pace, and see if you, too, find the charm of this unique untimed game growing right alongside the tomatoes.