I’m no green thumb. In fact, I’ve been accused of killing many a plant in my day. Sometimes I don’t water enough, sometimes I overwater. I don’t do it on purpose, but somehow it just seems to be one of those things I haven’t figured out yet. So, you can imagine my interest in the digital gardening game Green Fingers by No Monkeys. No danger of killing any of these flowers – they’re just animations!
Green Fingers is a highly -polished, yet simple game of growing plants in pots. All the ingredients for a successful garden are included: pots, soil, seeds, sunshine, bees, and much more. The game starts out at a relaxing pace, with very simple tasks, but grows more complex as the levels progress. The basic gameplay is deceptively easy. You have five flowers pots in which you “collect” items you need that fall out of the sky. You start with soil. Seeds are planted for you. Next, you capture water droplets and sunshine. The trick is that the items don’t always fall into the correct pots, so your job is to swap the pots in time so the right pot matches the falling object.
Sounds simple and straightforward, right? Green Fingers lures you into thinking it is a relaxing game with the colorful graphics and soothing sounds. Quickly though, you realize your finger has to move fast to keep your pots lined up correctly. And to maximize points you touch the falling objects to speed up the delivery. Controlling the game in two ways – swapping pots and tapping the objects to make them drop faster – is just the right combination of player input that makes this game shine. The developer has created a truly addictive combination of moves that keep you wanting to play the next level, then the next, and so on, not only to maximize your points but also to see what new object will drop from the sky.
However not all is coming up roses in Green Fingers. From my point of view there is a big flaw in the game’s design. Let’s just say that unlike gardening in real life, there is no room for any mistakes. One single object mismatched with one incorrect pot and it is “game over.” This can be especially frustrating since there seems to be a “randomize” functionality to the sorting of gardening symbols on the flower pots.
In the beginning, slower stages, this isn’t a big deal. But later on, when you’re tapping furiously, managing several dropping items at once, it can be a deal-breaker. More than once I was caught in a situation where I could do absolutely nothing to avoid losing the game. For example, two ‘suns’ were dropping down in one column. I swapped the pots to provide a matching sun-labeled pot. But after that sun plopped into the flower pot, the pot changed from a sun to a soil symbol. The second sun was dropping so quickly that I had no time to change the pot to the matching soil symbol and my game was over after obtaining a new high score. This unfortunate programming error occurred more than once so that is why I am labeling it as poor design. The game should never punish the player for something they cannot avoid.
Even with this design flaw, Green Fingers is still an addicting, cute and challenging game to play. It’s only challenging after you’ve played for a while, but you quickly become adept at tap, tapping the pots and falling objects to increase your score. To me a sign of an addictive game is when I find myself playing it over and over again just to see if I can obtain a new high score. This game is a high quality game for the low price of $.99, even with its flaws. If you’re not impressed with Green Fingers at first, stick with it. …it might just grow on you.