Under Leaves is a very difficult game to stick a score on. Because it does everything it set out to perfectly – it’s a hugely relaxing and beautifully presented experience.
But it’s ultimately just Where’s Wally with animals, and there’s only so much mileage you can get out of such a concept.
Asking you to look over a set number of landscapes – including a underwater grotto, leafy autumnal woodland, and lush green rainforest – you have to find a set number of items in each one. Every landscape consists of a few screens, which you can flip between at your leisure.
The catch – if there even really is a catch – is that the settings are all largely one colour. This means what you’re seeking out – from slugs to acorns – all craftily blend into the majority of debris scattered around.
And yes, that really is all there is to Under Leaves. It’s undeniably relaxing though, even if you will spend the majority of your time squinting while playing.
The soundtrack consists of animal sounds and quietly soothing background noise, and there’s some lovely detail in the hand painted scenery. It should go without saying the animals are also adorable.
There’s a certain appeal in slowly letting your eyes adjust to the scenery and picking out the required items slowly and methodically.
Yet there’s not a lot of Under Leaves to get through. There are only 29 levels, and they’re over far too soon. A lot of the locations are repeated throughout as well, which is massively disappointing.
We’d be able to forgive this a bit if Under Leaves didn’t have the prohibitive price tag of £11.69/€12.99/$12.99. It’s just a lot of money to pay for an experience that will last you just short of a couple of hours.
If you’re after a soothing experience Under Leaves is worth investigating when it gets significantly discounted, but at its current price will likely leave you feeling short-changed.