Flippfly’s follow up to arcade avoid’em’up Race the Sun is nothing at all what you’d expect.
Instead of more gliding and dodging, Evergarden offers a slowed down, calming puzzle experience. And it happens to be quite lovely, too.
On the surface, Evergarden is a matching puzzle. There are outlandish plants growing in your garden and your task is to spread them across the whole playing field. Each round, you can either merge two plants of the same kind, creating a new species, or you can have a plant drop its seed on an empty space. Advance the game one turn and your seeds will have grown and become little plants of their own.
Keeping the balance between growing new plants and merging existing ones, thus freeing space on the game board, is the only challenge at first. While there are a limited number of rounds to each game, there is no timer, no pressure at all. This turns Evergarden into a leisurely, almost meditatively calming experience that lets your play with your little garden and discover new things.
This is also where it gets interesting, because there’s a whole lot of depth hidden behind what appear to be rather simple game mechanics. A strange creature is monitoring your progress, asking you to build floral patterns and rewarding you with plants you can freely put anywhere on the board.
After a few rounds, you’ll start unlocking new elements which allow you to alter the game and also hint at other stuff still to discover. Before you know it, your aimless planting and growing has become a mission to uncover Evergarden’s secrets.
This is not the kind of game to consume your every waking thought, but it has become my go-to game for unwinding in the evening these past days. Evergarden is beautiful, calming, and relaxing. You should treat yourself and experience its wonders.