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Hello Flowerz - DSiWare Review

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Hello Flowerz

DSiWare | Virtual Toys | 1 Player | Out Now | 500 Nintendo Points
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27th July 2010; By KnucklesSonic8

Taking care of a garden is hard work. It's definitely something you need to commit to and, perhaps most importantly, you can't be afraid to get your hands dirty to maintain the quality of your collection. In a similar manner, Hello Flowerz is a game that you should get into only after understanding the amount of work that will be involved. But if you enjoy playing simulation games on a regular basis, then you'll have no problem transitioning to the mechanics of this release.

    Before you can create a sanctuary that all your neighbours will be jealous of, you'll first want to start small and demonstrate care to each individual flower. And the main place to do this is in the Greenhouse. This indoor environment has 18 different areas full of flower trays and pots where you can manage a cluster of seeds as they blossom into beautiful flowers. So the first step, then, is to actually plant the seed. On the left-hand side are various icons that correspond to the tasks that you'll need to perform at hand. You'll begin by taking out the dibber, and moving your stylus to back and forth to create a hole. Then, you'll select the seed pack of your choice, and give it a few up and down shakes to drop it into the hole you created. Apply some fertilizer with your spade, tilt your watering can to give it some nourishment, and it'll be good to go!

    Simply staring at your flower won't help it grow, so it's best to either do something else in the game or come back after you play something else on your DSi. After a while, when you return, you'll notice your little seedling begin to sprout. Being the responsible gardener that you are, it's important that the growth process takes its course naturally with as little hitches as possible. Highlighting your budding plant with the stylus will bring up a series of gauges on the top screen. They each serve as a good indication of your plants needs, tracking water levels, health, fertilizer, and even a 5-star scale that tells you how difficult it is to keep that particular plant alive and well. When you notice that it looks sickly, use your bug spray to ward off any infestation of bugs, or give it the water/soil it needs to survive. When any of these areas have energy levels that are below the minimum requirements, it's important that you take care of any issues as soon as you become aware of them.

Once they've blossomed into beautiful creations, you can use your shears to cut them and put them in a bucket of water. Then, you can head over to the Bouquet Workshop to use those same flowers to make a creative arrangement. The more you play the game, the more decorations you'll unlock for your bouquet, including greeting cards and ribbons. Once you're pleased with your bouquet, you can send it off to the gallery to view it later on, or enter it into a competition. Contests open up from time to time, and you'll be given a few days to put your best foot forward. 

    When you're not doing either one of these activities, you can head to the Gardens area for some landscaping. You can apply various fixtures to the isolated area, such as walkways, birdhouses, and garden gnomes. Again, coming back to the game on a regular basis will unlock new items that you can use to create a peaceful area where butterflies and birds will feel comfortable residing in. To place a set of flowers in a given area, you'll need to have 12 flowers of the same type inside the Greenhouse area under healthy condition. 

    Hello Flowerz has been designed to encourage repeat play, and ultimately, a strong sense of realism. The game will award you with new flower packets, and much more, as a way of rewarding you for regularly coming to check on your plants. And thankfully, the fact that you're not just sowing flowers gives players some motivation to keep coming back to see what new surprises await you when you boot up the game. The game is light in terms of how much it asks of the player, and the degree to which the average person will feel impelled to continue performing regular check-ups. 

Simulation games aren't likely to appeal to gamers who play first-person shooters on a regular basis, just because they'll be complaining about the lack of action and excitement. The repetitive nature is to be expected from a game like this and although there is some variety in what you can do and how much freedom you have, it still boils down to doing the same things again and again. For some, this will mean a very boring experience, but for others, the relaxing nature of both the music and the gameplay itself is blissful.

    The growth process of just about anything demands hard work and persistence. And there's much truth to this in Hello Flowerz as well. The game may not impose an intense amount of demands, but what it does require is your time and attention. If you don't have much time during the week to come back to check on your flowers, then maybe think twice before you spend the $5. This gardening game is unique in its own way, but it's a shame that most gamers today won't have the patience, or the attention span to put time into seeing their flowers (and this game) flourish. However, this is a game that will definitely appeal to the Harvest Moon crowd, so if that describes your tastes, and you're willing to put in at least 5 minutes a day towards this cause, then I doubt you'll be disappointed.

21/30 - Good

Gameplay 7/10 - Simple simulation, take care of your flowers over a period of days, plant them in a garden, enter competitions, create bouquets
Presentation 7/10 - Nice visuals and relaxing music, lots of icons to keep things user-friendly, vibrant colours
Enjoyment 3/5 - Sense of realism, won't appeal to the broad market base, some may find it boring, somewhat varied but mostly boils down to repetition
Extra Content 4/5 - Lots of replay value, competitions to enter, regularity is highly important, seeds, decorations and more to unlock

Equivalent to a score of 70% (percentage score is approximate and based solely on the previously stated rating)

Review by KnucklesSonic8
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