One of the greatest times in my young life was in late April when my father and I would drag out the old tiller, tuning it up, and churning the ground. The little plot of ground we harvested from every year brought many hours of hard work and great father-son bonding. Perhaps those fond memories of days past encouraged me to try out a copy of Gardening Mama. Guess what? It is all about flowers.
My father always taught me that whenever it came to gardening, one of the most important things is the tool that you have. As you tap, and slide across the touchscreen of your Nintendo DS, Gardening Mama does actually come life in a very quaint way. Cooking food was one thing on the handheld, but gardening takes a different turn.
One of the tools that you will use are your hands, tapping the ground as you plant seeds as quickly as possible. You’ve got to be quick and careful because of the wind blows across the screen, the seeds will blow out of your hands. It is a first in the history of the Mama series to have an outside force that directly affects what you do. This is one of the things that sets it apart from the series.
You’ll use other tools, moving your watering pale over the plot of ground you’re cultivating, making sure not to over water things. My dad always taught me not to drown the seeds, or they’ll never, ever grow. You’ll plow the ground in various unpractical designs, sliding the stylus across the screen hoping to get done before the clock dings and Mama gets upset.
One thing my father and I always did was submit our watermelons to the Bourbon County fair. We never won, but we always tried. In Gardening Mama you’re not scored on the final product so much, as you are the process of getting there. Each of the mini-games contribute to the overall task. You’re score on accuracy, speed, and final presentation does play a part. You’ll be given Gold, Silver, and Bronze metals along with kind or harsh words from the Mama herself. It almost reminds me of real life. I always got the bronze, and my mother always yelled at me…
One thing I never did in my childhood was decorate the garden. That, I suppose, is the biggest difference between a vegetable and flower garden. In Gardening Mama you actually have an entire yard at your disposal to decorate. Another place where the game breaks off from the predecessors into unknown territory. You drag a face of the Mama across the screen at an agonizingly slow pace. I almost thought that something was wrong with my DS. You’re given directional arrows to tap to get her around, and it makes me want to just leave her in one spot.
You can decorate the garden by placing various arches and walkways throughout. This gameplay addition adds a bit of design strategy to the game. As you decide where to play the arches and walkways you also must decide where to plant the different flowers and bushes.
One thing that pleasantly surprised me about the game was how nice everything looked. Obviously the Nintendo DS is not a graphical powerhouse, but Gardening Mama is full of enough bright colors and pizazz to make anyone happy with the presentation. Each of the character models are designed with big heads and bright eyes in mind that end up making a unique set of characters that inhabit this world of good housekeeping. It’s the best of any mini-game collection to this day, and Majesco continues to impress me with their ability to handle the hardware.
One thing that I think they need to understand is the voice of the one and only Mama. Not only is it too loud, but it is loud enough to sound scratchy over my DS speakers. She’s far too loud, and there’s no way to shut her up or reduce the decibles. You have to just listen to her screaming at you or praising you while you wince in pain.
The game has cute little toons that just motivate you to keep going. In all honesty their somewhat annoying and repetitious, but you grow to ignore it as you compete against the clock for better scores. It just drones on as you develop an award winning garden.
Majesco has learned one thing: they know how to make a game for their target audience. The young female gamers will enjoy Gardening Mama as much as they enjoyed Cooking Mama. Here’s hoping that Mama doesn’t go hardcore any time soon, otherwise we won’t have any more cute mini-game collections to play through.
One of the most colorful Nintendo DS games out there.
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Mama can't walk across the garden well, and it gets really annoying. The mini-games are fun though!
MAMA SHOULD NOT SCREAM SO LOUD HER VOICE IS DISTORTED!
They hit their target, and the target won't care about the review score.