What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends is part of the popular Cooking Mama series. It departs slightly from a heavy focus on frantic mini-games and shifts toward the simulation, farm-building style of game. Although it's generally child-friendly in content, players are asked to supply grapes for wine.
What kids can learn
- time management
- work to achieve goals
Engagement, Approach, Support
Although Gardening Mama 2 will provide plenty of fun for fans of the genre, the lack of goals and milestones may keep kids from continuing to play over the long haul.
With the ability to choose what activities to do and how to decorate your garden, there's a refreshing amount of freedom. Kids won't learn much about actual gardening, but they may have their interest piqued. They're more likely to learn about managing supply and demand.
Once the initial tutorial is over, there's little to help you along. Mini-games could use more help and maybe a short practice round. Kids will make it through, but a bit more guidance couldn't hurt.
What's it about?
Gardening Mama is back. This time she's asked to help out local forest friends (such as bears, rabbits, and squirrels) with resources they need for their shops. Each day, players receive a request from a forest friend that they can either accept or decline. They also receive letters with requests for gardening help in exchange for specific types of seeds. These letters (50 in all) are tied to gardening-themed mini-games that must be completed before a seed is unlocked. Each game has a score level that must be reached before it's completed; fortunately, the score from each attempt is added to the previous one, so it may only take a couple of tries to complete a difficult challenge. Once seeds are unlocked, players can plant, water, and eventually pick grown plants to supply the forest friends' shops. Plants take time and space to grow; these are in limited supply, especially early in the game. That means players must plan carefully to meet requests in a reasonable amount of time. They also have to water and care for plants properly to achieve a gold standard on the garden. When Gardening Mama delivers her goods, the forest friends give her special tickets she can use to decorate her garden. As play continues, the garden expands, and more items are available for decoration.
Is it any good?
GARDENING MAMA 2: FOREST FRIENDS rates high on the cute factor, with lots of cuddly forest friends in need of help. And there are plenty of mini-games, all of which can be replayed from the main menu. Unfortunately, it may feel like a journey to nowhere. Sure, you can continue to grow and decorate your garden, something many players will enjoy. But, with no levels to complete, trophies to unlock, milestones to reach, or story progression, some kids will be quickly bored.
The mini-games, many of which will be familiar from the previous Gardening Mama, are a mixed bag. Some are a lot of fun, but others are tedious or too difficult. None of them has appropriate instructions. Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends is a fine game for kids who like to play at their own speed, decorate and unlock things, and play some quick mini-games. Those who prefer to have a plot to follow will want to look elsewhere.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about gardening and what it takes to plant a small garden or some window-sill planters. Can you work together to help your garden thrive, or do you think you can do it alone?
Families also can talk about the origin of food and how it's depicted in Gardening Mama 2. Where does our food come from?
How do different people in a community work together toward a goal? Who are some people in your community who support each other?