Idle clicking to farm.
Some games manage to encapsulate the experience of gardening in a pleasurable and relaxing way. Growing your farm on Harvest Moon or Stardew Valley, for instance, is rewarding due to the feeling that your hard work pays off as continuous improvements for your little simulated country life. It isn’t surprising that other titles would try to deliver a similar experience, more centered on this kind of rewarding loop. With a very condensed scope, that’s exactly what Plantera Deluxe is.
The game is all about growing your garden within a 2D side-scrolling perspective. You start modestly, with only enough money to plant some carrots. It doesn’t take long, though, for you to harvest them, get some money, and progressively expand the size and complexity of the garden. At first, you have limited space, but each ‘slot’ can hold three different category of plants: crops, brushes and trees – not to mention the animals that you can let roaming through your garden.
After being placed on one of these areas, crops, vegetables and fruits will grow naturally with time, and animals will produce their related item. You also have at your disposition some blue creatures that will automatically help you, picking up any item available on the ground. This is a very strange design choice, in fact, because with this Plantera Deluxe can pretty much play itself. The catch is that you can help on every task to make everything faster – items will be gathered automatically, but you can get them as soon as they’re maturated, so a new one will start being produced right away. In addition, some pesky creatures such as wolves and crows will appear from time to time, and you must dispatch them to keep your production safe.
The way you interact with your garden shows how much of a handheld experience Plantera Deluxe is. You’re able to play it on big screen no problem, as you can control a cursor with your left stick, pointing it on any item available on the scenario, and grabbing items using the A button. On the other hand, though, you can interact with everything using the Switch’s touchscreen, and that’s a much better, faster and more intuitive way to play the game. You can still complement it with conventional controls, of course, as you can use the directional button to move your perspective around (which is helpful when you start to have a bigger garden), and you can use X to open the store to buy new goodies. At the end of the day, though, Plantera can be categorized as a clicker, and works better when you’re ‘clicking’ on stuff.
Using this very straightforward clicker gameplay, Plantera Deluxe entirely focuses on the addictiveness of its loopy progression. As you get money, you gain experience, which will increase your level and unlock new things for your garden. These new things will make you earn more money, which will be used to expand your garden even more… and so on. It is an enjoyable experience as long as it lasts, and Plantera’s pixel art style and pleasant soundtrack just adds to the mix. With achievements and things to be unlocked on the late game, it delivers a package compatible with its price, but it suits only those who looks for a chilling and simple experience.