Just in time for spring, Fugazo brings us Flower Paradise, a game that allows you to create your very own exotic gardens, without all the backaches, sunburn and dirt getting under your fingernails.
Essentially a match-three and box-builder game two-in-one, Flower Paradise retreads a lot of ground we’ve seen before, but does it in such a tasteful, well-executed way that it makes for a very relaxing, zen-like experience.
Flower Paradise‘s production values are very much like the vibe the game exudes: clean and neat without being ostentatious. The music is a cross between Asian and light jazz, relaxing and helping to set the mood for the natural beauty you are going to create.
The game features different themes gardens, such as Japanese or Hawaiian, which you build up by adding flowers, animals or décor to the space. In order to purchase things for your garden, you must earn money by playing one of two games, “Three-Match” mode, and after you clear the tenth level, “Box Clear” mode.
Three-Match is, as the name implies, a fairly standard match-three game. Flowers appear on a grid, and you have to clear them away by making matches of three or more. What is interesting is that it isn’t about filling a progress bar as many other games tend to do. Here, each square on the grid is a patch of dirt. Make a match on that square, and it turns into a patch of grass. After all squares are turned into grass, you clear the level. There is an option for a timed or untimed game, depending on whether you want to have a relaxing or challenging game.
There are all the traditional trappings of match-three, yet they never feel derivative. Making matches of five or more flowers creates and earthquake icon which, when moved or double-clicked, removes a large grid of flowers surrounding it. Occasionally a waterfall or tornado icon appears, allowing you to clear a whole row or column respectively. Making a chain of five or more clears will create a cloud, allowing you to collect flowers similar to an earthquake.
Typical hazards in match-threes also appear, like boulders that need to be cleared by making matches around them to crack them, or vines that trap flowers and need to be matched in order to break them. Ice blocks are also obstacles that need to have a sun icon moved close by and either touching or double-clicking them to activate and melt the ice. Fortunately, there are a couple of power-ups that build up depending on which flower the level states will build the meter. The spade clears a small section of dirt (to help you get rid of that last little dirt patch) and the ability to re-shuffle the flowers on the board in case you get stuck.
The Box Clear mode is very simple. The goal is to click an drag a square where all four corners are the same flower, with coins appearing as bonuses for making larger squares to earn you more money for your garden.
Each garden has three meters which need filling: Flowers, Animals and Décor. By purchasing various items for the garden, you gradually fill each meter. Obviously, more expensive items fill the meter faster. After you fill all three to the bronze level, the next garden becomes available, or you can continue building your current one to a higher level.
A very nice feature of Flower Paradise is that, once you’ve built up your garden, you can save a picture of it for your desktop, or even turn it into a screensaver to help you maintain that natural, relaxed feeling when you’re not playing it.
If there’s anything wrong with Flower Paradise, it’s that it doesn’t break new ground (pardon the pun). While there definitely is a been-there-done-that feeling to the gameplay, everything is executed very well. If you’re looking for a nice, relaxing diversion, give Flower Paradise a try, and give your brain and virtual green thumb a good workout.