As a species, we tend not to drink enough water. Yes, there are those smug people who carry a bottle with them wherever they go, but for the majority of us hydration is just another chore that we fail to keep on top of.
Fortunately, there’s an app for that. Plant Nanny 2 is developer Fourdesire’s attempt to get us all drinking more, in a bid to save us from high blood pressure, constipation, creaking joints, knackered kidneys, unsightly faces, and all the other ills that befall the chronically parched.
It does this by effectively gamifying the act of drinking. As the name suggests, Plant Nanny 2 gives you a plant to look after, reminding you at intervals to water it to help it flourish. And for every ounce (or millileter, if you prefer) that you pour over your grateful plant, you’re supposed to pour the same amount into yourself.
It’s a neat idea in principle, and the execution is slick and adorable, with crisp cartoon visuals and soothing music.
Here’s how the gameplay works. Your huge-eyed plant sits in a pot on a tree stump. To feed it, you need to hold down an on-screen button, which prompts droplets of water to float up amid burbling noises and land on your grateful plant.
As your plant levels-up it grows and blossoms, until eventually it reaches its max level and graduates to the greenhouse.
Going Deeper Underground
Unusually, this greenhouse is underground, and it has layers, with the depth displayed on a little wooden sign beside your plant pot. Each layer of your greenhouse can accommodate three plants that you’ve completely levelled up topside, and once a layer is full you can start levelling that up too, using Sunlight.
After you level-up a layer all the way to three, you unlock a special creature that helps your plants get more sunlight and produce more Seeds. The creature you end up with depends on the combination of plants you place in that layer of your greenhouse, encouraging experimentation.
Seeds are necessary for, you guessed it, growing new plants. The more you collect, the higher value the plant you can grow, so there’s always an incentive to harvest seeds from your greenhouse and save them up.
Four leaf clovers, meanwhile, allow you to buy various cosmetic pot upgrades. You get four leaf clovers by logging in every day and by completing quests, though you can also obtain them by watching ads or through in-app purchases.
In fact, Plant Nanny 2 is full of opportunities to watch ads, mostly to double rewards. You can also watch an ad to collect seeds automatically, which is well worth it.
You can view your collection of plants at any time, and share them on all manner of social media platforms and messaging apps. They look great, with gorgeous art design and helpful little explainers telling you where they grow, what they look like, and so on.
Likewise, the animals all have their own cards with beautiful illustrations and informative and lyrical descriptions.
You Can Lead a Gamer to Water…
As you can tell, Plant Nanny 2 has all the trappings of a free-to-play casual game in terms of its upgrade loop, different currencies, in-app purchases, ad rewards, and so on. It’s almost like a clicker, albeit at a slower pace than any clicker we’ve played.
You can’t rush Plant Nanny 2. Even if you guzzle your entire day’s water intake in a single sitting, your plant stubbornly refuses to level-up beyond its daily allowance. And, as the app is at pains to point out, drinking too much water at once can be dangerous.
Plant Nanny 2 isn’t just a game. It’s a lifestyle app with the trappings of a game. In that sense, it’s only as good as the work you’re prepared to put into it. There’s nothing to stop you watering your plant without taking a drink, so you need to apply yourself to get the most out of it.
But if you’re committed to your own hydration, and you’re looking for a gentle, pleasant daily reminder to drink more water, Plant Nanny 2 seems as good a way as any to receive a bit of encouragement.
Download Plant Nanny 2 for yourself here.