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Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review

Gardening: you either love it or hate it.  I fall solely into the latter category.  No matter how much I’ve tried to “get into” gardening, I have simply never been able to.  Whether it’s the guaranteed dirt all over my clothes and under my nails, or whether it’s the fact that I forget to actually give water to the flowers and plants which results in them rapidly dying, I have no idea.  So why on Earth am I writing a review on a gardening simulator, you ask?  Could it be to do with the beautiful art style?  Or the fact that every species of flower and/or plant grows at a different, realistic rate?  Perhaps because there are several management aspects in place?  Or how about the fact that I love simulator games in general?  To find out what the reason is, then read our Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator review!

The new recruit

You begin Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator as a new recruit, taken on to look after and maintain the communal garden following the passing of Robin, who used to look after the garden before they passed away.  Essentially, you inherit an overgrown plot on the outskirts of a charming village and are tasked with transforming it into a thriving garden.  The friendly villagers offer encouragement and simple, lighthearted quests that involve beautifying the village with floral displays.

The core gameplay loop revolves around planting, nurturing, and harvesting a wide variety of flowers.  You are given complete freedom in designing your garden.  There are no snap-grids here; instead, you can place plants and decorative objects almost anywhere you see fit.  As your garden flourishes, you can sell flowers and bouquets at a village stall, earning coins to purchase new seeds, tools, ornaments and decorations.

Garden Life Screenshot

Not very story driven

Outside of fulfilling requests, however, there isn’t much of a story to go on.  On the contrary, Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is indeed a simulator after all, meaning that a story isn’t necessarily required to be able to enjoy it.  However, as you continue to play, the weak story wears thinner still and you become aware of how you are repeating the same things over and over again without a real goal in mind.

Considering how many activities there are to do in Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator, the game boasts intuitive and accessible mechanics to achieve them.  Activities such as watering, planting, harvesting, weeding, composting and even moving items, objects and decorations around are all performed with simple button presses (when using the controller).

Garden Life screenshot

Intuitive controls

There is a radial menu at the bottom of the screen where you can access various tools (such as watering cans or shovels) or inventory items (such as seeds) that you might require.  To use those items, you simply press the relevant button, place/aim it accordingly and then press a trigger button to apply or activate it.  This may seem like a vastly oversimplified implementation of what gardening is really like, and in a way it could be, but it doesn’t actually feel oversimplified at all.  It feels just right.

Everything feels great and works really well in Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator.  Both the interface and experience are smooth and pleasant throughout.  Travelling into town to buy what you need is quick and straightforward.  However, I kept finding myself thinking that there was a lot of unused in-game real estate which is unfortunate.  You are surrounded by stunning scenery with a rich and vibrant colour palette used throughout.  The issue, however, is that you are severely limited on where you can go and what you can interact with.  The town square, for example, is dense with pretty, inviting, colourful shops of all shapes and sizes.

Garden Life Screenshot

More to come?

The trouble is that you can only enter one shop to buy tools, seeds and whatever else you may need and that’s it.  Once back at the communal garden, you can’t venture outside the perimeter of the garden itself and the bus stop.  You are merely allowed to go from the bus stop, across the road, and into the garden.  There is a large area all around which would be great to explore and is simply screaming for a gardener’s attention.  From what I have read, I understand that stillalive studios plans on releasing DLC soon which will open up a new area – or areas – for you to explore, so fingers crossed for that!

Activities are plentiful in Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator, however there isn’t much depth to any particular task.  For example, there is no aspect of soil managing/maintenance nor any complex pest control.  Pest control takes the form of “a few sprays and job done”.  Such activities would have been a nice addition, perhaps as toggleable modes or options, for those seeking a more in-depth experience.

Garden Life screenshot

All in a day’s work

The fact that you are working within certain hours is often disruptive because in-game time moves very quickly and there is a lot required of you.  In a relatively short space of time, you could do any (or all) of the following activities: planting flowers, watering, weeding, cutting, pruning, pest-treating, creating bouquets, fulfilling customer requests, travelling into town to buy items such as seeds and tools, selling items at a stall and more!  There are still more activities than this – this is simply an overview.  There isn’t much time to truly enjoy the game for what it is if you are playing in story mode, but there is a simple solution to that: Creative Mode!

Creative mode

Creative Mode allows you to do just that – to be creative!  It grants you instant access to absolutely everything without needing to go through the process of unlocking things gradually.  Further to that, you can control the weather in creative mode, meaning that you can adapt the environment to suit your preferences.  This ability also allows you to not only usher your time and focus, but to small see how your garden will look at different times of the year.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator‘s appeal lies in its open-ended nature (especially around Creative Mode).  The lack of a defined goal allows you to return and experiment with new garden designs for as long as you find it enjoyable!  New seed varieties are unlocked over time, which is always exciting as you never know what you’re going to get!  (I like to think of it as a seed lottery!). However, players seeking a more structured experience or a compelling narrative might find the sandbox nature repetitive after a while.

Stunning visuals

The visual style is a captivating blend of realism and whimsical charm.  The world is rendered in a vibrant cartoon aesthetic, with lush greenery and brightly-coloured flowers that immediately pop from the screen.  The animations are smooth and bring the whole experience to life beautifully.  The soundtrack is incredibly pleasant and relaxing, offering a soothing blend of ambient music and nature sounds that perfectly complement the relaxing atmosphere.  In fact, the soundtrack is one of the best features of Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator.


If you have an interest in gardening but don’t have access to a garden, then Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator could be the solution you have been looking for!  You can partake in every aspect of what it takes to create and maintain a garden without getting your hands dirty (literally).

The activities, however, lack any real depth, which means that you will only be required to press one or two buttons to complete each task.  Whilst this may not be ideal for all, the frequency of tasks that you are required to do will keep you busy enough to not notice the simplicity most of the time.

Boasting stunning audiovisuals and fun, intuitive gameplay, Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is definitely a title to turn to in times of stress and certainly worth your time!


  • Incredible audiovisuals.
  • Smooth, intuitve game mechanics.
  • Creative Mode is available from the beginning.
  • Vast catalogue of flowers and plants.
  • Highly customisable garden creation.
  • There is a friendly cat that you can pet.


  • Lacks in-depth core mechanics.
  • Minimal story.
  • Becomes repetitive after extended playtime.

Grade: 7,5

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is currently available through GeForce Now. This review was made by Mus from PapaBear Gaming. You can check out his channel right here. You can follow him on Twitter by going here. That was it for our Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator review.

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