Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends

Common Sense Media says

Gardening sim is cute but doesn't dig deep enough.

Age

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Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids can see the benefits of community members supporting each other as they work together in gardens.

Positive role models

The characters are all kind to and supportive of one another through the entire game.

Ease of play

The mini-games have very vague instructions, so you have to figure things out while you play. This results in lower scores and often requires that you play each game again. Some mini-games that use a stylus are challenging even once you understand what you're supposed to do.

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Privacy & safety

Minor safety concern: The game accesses SpotPass, allowing players to receive game-related "gifts" from other players nearby. This can be disabled.

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

Subjects

Math

  • grouping

Hobbies

  • gardening

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • work to achieve goals

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

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. 

Learning Approach

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.

Support

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 kids can learn

Subjects

Math

  • grouping

Hobbies

  • gardening

Skills

Creativity

  • imagination

Self-Direction

  • time management
  • work to achieve goals

Kids can learn to manage their time and resources. They also can practice managing multiple ongoing projects. Although they won't learn a significant amount about gardening, they will get exposure to the general concepts of planting a seed, watering it, protecting it from pests, and harvesting. Kids also will learn about the concept of supply and demand thanks to the requests from characters asking for certain fruits or vegetables. The game may be lacking goals and milestones, but fans should enjoy the activities and mini-games.

This Learning Rating review was written by Christy Matte

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?

QUALITY
 

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?

Game details

Platforms:Nintendo 3DS
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Majesco
Release date:June 12, 2014
Genre:Simulation
Topics:Science and nature
ESRB rating:E for Alcohol Reference (Nintendo 3DS)

This review of Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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