Crazy Plant Shop

Game review by
Jenny Bristol, Common Sense Media
Crazy Plant Shop Game Poster Image
Plant-shop sim slyly gets kids to learn and apply genetics.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Educational Value

Kids can learn about selective breeding, money and resource management, and, most significantly, dominant and recessive gene expression. By filling orders and breeding the specific plants customers are looking for -- with very limited space for stock -- kids learn and apply genetics knowledge while managing their resources and work space. Crazy Plant Shop will give kids a fun time running a store while also giving them a subtle science lesson.

Positive Messages

Kids learn life skills such as problem-solving, how to interact with others. Given responsibility for managing funds, filling orders, performing accurate science.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kids are exposed to people who model kind behavior, polite conversation, positive interactions. No hard feelings if orders can't be filled.

Ease of Play

Kids use trial and error to figure out how to play game. A small amount of help is offered, but features aren't sufficiently explained.

Violence
Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Crazy Plant Shop is a downloadable educational game that weaves real science content about genetics and selective breeding into the business of running a plant shop. It's a lot of fun with an accessible and entertaining style that'll get kids familiar with things such as dominant and recessive genes and Punnett squares. There's only a certain amount of power in the breeding machine, so kids may get frustrated if they can't complete the plant breeding for current orders. The game also requires a degree of trial and error because features of the game aren't sufficiently explained to be clear to players.

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What's it about?

In CRAZY PLANT SHOP, kids set up their very own plant shop and must fill the orders of customers. In addition, they must pay rent to the landlord (who just happens to be the founder of the science of genetics, Gregor Mendel), so enough money must be made filling plant orders to keep the shop going. Kids gradually expand their plant varieties through selective breeding, unlocking more plants and genes. If they unlock all the plant varieties before their time in the shop is over, they win.

Is it any good?

This game tackles a fun and interesting topic: genetics. The lessons to be learned are completely integrated with gameplay. Kids are exposed to real science -- including Punnett squares -- but don't feel like they're studying. Instead, they're managing a shop along with collecting and breeding plants. With the cute graphics and educational play, kids can discover new varieties of plants and all the genetic combinations available.

Punnett squares are grids that are filled in with the genetic information from two crossbred organisms, which can be used to predict genetic outcomes for offspring. Kids can experiment with these, choosing specific or random outcomes, to end up with the desired types of plants to sell in their shop. The fictional plants add a fun element as well, with species such as Bunnyon, Catcus, and Fauxgloves, which are shaped like bunnies, cats, and gloves, respectively. This energetic game will keep kids engaged until the end.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how genetics translate from the game to real life. How might things in real life not be as simple as the models used in this game?

  • Ask kids about their favorite plants. Why are they your favorites? If you were to design a plant, what would it look like? What would it be called?

  • Do you find it difficult to manage screen time? Why might it be good to take a break from a game?

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