8 Idyllic Gardens to Relax in Games

  • Greg Burn
  • 2019-12-19

While playing is acting, not every game should be action. Probably that’s why any big non-shooting game attracts such attention; arcades, puzzles, runners and quests are the endangered species of AAA, but there still are some. And the best location for recovering your soul after all the troubles (from real life or other games) is a garden.

Why not plant some flowers? Water them? Touch the ground? Harvest your hard-earned crops? If you’re ready, here is the list of the most peaceful idyllic gardens you can visit in games and stay if you wish.

Untitled Goose Game

Untitled Goose Game gameplay

Why has this indie game become such a hit on, say, Nintendo Switch? It’s all about the way it feels. The most scandalous experience of the goose on the loose is about what the bird does to the people around. But the background for it is quite idyllic, just perfect for breaking.

Though the game is as indie as can be, so no blades of grass are drawn the way they are in some RPG or action 60-gigabyte AAA monsters, the flowers grow to bring people joy, as well as vegetables to feed them. But the constraint strokes made to draw them do the trick, and so the world is calm and green. The gardens are home to order and sobriety… until there comes the goose. The rest is anything but silence.

Mutazione

Mutazione gameplay

If you loved Disney’s Inside Out, you know feelings can be visualized. And in Mutazione, you are shown how. How about planting seeds of music? Drop some flute or guitar seed, and you’ll see it grow and finally produce some sound. And there is even more to that: in addition to the instrument, you can choose the emotion expressed by the music.

No wonder the game features many gardens for various emotions, and they should be cared for in various manners. As the plants grow, they emanate notes that spread around from leaves. You only have to sit and listen as the emotion you have planted is growing. It’s a game about accepting the highs and lows of life, loving and living both. No matter jolly or sad, notes are equally beautiful when expressed right. There is much philosophy to retell, but the game does it better.

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture

Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture gameplay

Though this isn’t a specifically idyllic game and life in the small village of Yaughton is far from serenity, the gardens in it are still great. They may have even benefitted when all the inhabitants have gone no one knows where; the gardens are even greener when no one sees them, and this is what the player will see. All the gardens in the village are empty and open to you.

There are public and private ones, and rampant green in public places not supposed to be gardens is even more attractive, making this ex-village a sort of the Lost World. How about a bar gone wild and green? This is the case when the game would have made no sense without its open world; it’s so much fun to just walk through it.

Stardew Valley

Stardew Valley gameplay

This indie farming simulator delivers much more than all these Hay Days and the likes. Its developer created the world you want to spend your hours in, just looking at the place around. Trees and grass, weeds and insects — they all await until you just sit around and think. What a middle-class dream!

It starts when you just arrive to meet the new place, and fades away slowly (but never completely) as you civilize the place. Then the beauty depends on you, and whatever you choose, it will be too artificial. It can be brought to even more beautiful condition, though — that’s what the game is about. And as you sow your seeds and plant trees, earn money for more exotic species and get your farm decorated, you invest your work into beauty. Remember: the money you earn in the game won’t get real, but the beauty always does.

Quiet as a Stone

Quiet as a Stone gameplay

It’s a very minimalistic game with nothing but a garden of trees and rocks you rearrange to make it the most beautiful. In little space and with little elements to use, you suddenly realize that limitations make you free. There are but a few species, but a little ground on a flying island, and no time limit, so you can meditate. And a skull in the middle does the same work as it does on Dutch still lifes, reminding you about the fragility of life – and at the same time hinting at the actual size of the miniature garden.

It’s the most zen game on our list. There is light, but the enlightenment cannot be seen. You can only understand it when you suddenly feel inspired after hours with these rocks and these small conifers and sycamores.

The Sims 4

Gardening in The Sims 4

How could we skip the main life simulator of the 200s? The Sims 4 is into gardening as well; though in the end, it’s all about buying items, in the latest version, Gardening skill makes the process easier. If you want your garden rich and stuffed with many species of plants and trees, The Sims 4 is the right place to do it.

Unlike other games, The Sims 4 practices utilitarian views when it comes to gardening. Not only are these plants beautiful, but also costly, no matter if you buy or sell. You can also produce edible plants or use their parts as baits for fishing. Finally, you can even direct the evolution of your plants.

Eastshade

Eastshade gameplay

When your protagonist is a painter, watching beauty is your mission rather than a collateral joy. Shipwrecked near the town of Lyndow, you need to get along with local people and make yourself a living. But your work requires finding the right sort of environment, so that’s what you mostly do.

Is this the land of lodges and ruins, caves and creeks, Montgolfier balloons and gazebos real? Or is it just a hallucination after a shock? Either way, it’s one of the most beautiful RPGs ever. Just due to the nature around, including gardens and veggie rows, fields of crops and sprigs of flowers.

The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle gameplay

Abstract puzzles with blocks shining in the black are out of fashion now. A modern puzzle looks even more beautiful than most RPGs, and it requires some 5 GB – but when you look at the beauty of this world, it seems little. Because the developers managed to create fantastic antique ruins combined with computers and lasers, statues and alleys with fortresses and anti-gravity, and protect it all with forcefields and machineguns. Suddenly, this futuristic place is too beautiful to be a dystopia. Focus on the puzzles and enjoy the environment; it’s worth this.

Never Enough Gardens

What virtual gardens would you like to visit? Is there anything more beyond common farm simulators? If you know something we have missed, please point it out in the comments.

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