Gardens of Time



Social game combines a building sim with hidden objects.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Players belong to an agency that travels through time and corrects discrepancies in history.

Positive role models

Players start out as a rookie detective and earn credibility by completing quests and upgrading their garden. Players are mentored by positive role models in the Time Society but there is also intrigue between certain characters and it's not immediately clear who is telling the truth.

Ease of play

Gameplay is an easy-to-learn mixture of building simulation and hidden object searches. Hidden object searches grant unlimited hints, and players can switch to full-screen mode to make objects larger and easier to see.

Not applicable
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The game sells a premium currency that is used to speed up the game and purchase exclusive items. Players are asked if they want to spend premium currency, or purchase more using real-world cash if they don't have enough.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Gardens of Time is a hidden object game that is played on the Facebook social network. The game is free to play, but players can purchase premium currency using real-world cash to speed up the game and buy exclusive items. Players benefit from having friends who also play the game, but are never encouraged to friend strangers. There is no objectionable content but the game can be addictive. While this game can appeal to kids as young as age 9, they will not be able to play it since it is found on Facebook, which has an age gate of 13.

What's it about?

In Playdom's TIME GARDEN players join a group of time-travelling detectives called the Time Society to go back in history and correct discrepancies. Hidden object scenes depict different historical eras, such as ancient Egypt and Renaissance Italy, that players must "clean up" by finding all the items on the list. Players unlock new scenes as they progress further into the story and complete quests, and also earn cash to spend on decorating a Victorian garden fair with buildings and artifacts.

Is it any good?


Garden of Time deftly combines two extremely popular casual game genres in an attempt to appeal fans of both CityVille-type social sims and seek-and-find games like Mystery Case Files. Fans of hidden object games will be in heaven, with more than 40 seek-and-find scenes that can be replayed an infinite number of times with randomized item lists. The building sim portion of the game is enjoyable too, with an elegant Victorian esthetic and the ability for friends to visit each other' gardens and play a special Blitz mode that involves finding as many hidden objects as possible in 60 seconds.

Gardens of Time weaves its gameplay elements together with a progressive storyline advanced through the completion of quests, so players have an impetus to keep playing that goes beyond amassing points and decorations. There's some of the usual pressure to invite friends, post game-related status updates, and spend real-world cash on exclusive items, but Gardens of Time isn't as aggressive in these areas as some other titles.

Online interaction: Players progress faster in the game by having friends who also play the game. They can exchange gifts with these people, visit each other's gardens, and help complete their buildings. The game does not prompt players to add strangers as friends. Players can compare high scores on a leaderboard and post game-related status updates to their Facebook walls.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about some of the historical places that the game lets you visit. If you could actually travel back in time, where would you go?

  • Families can also talk about the game's detective main character. What are some other popular literary detectives?

  • Families can discuss the game's Victorian aesthetic. What were some characteristics of the Victorian time period?

Game details

Pricing structure:Free
Available online?Available online
Release date:April 8, 2011
ESRB rating:NR

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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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Parent Written byAhavatlm February 15, 2012

Keep Away, Keep Away!

Let's look at the facts: Playdom has a history of complaints from parents about violation of kids' privacy. Playdom has one of the worst customer service records in online history, if its own community forums can be believed. An international boycott of Gardens of Time has been organized by its own players. If Playdom had devoted as much commitment and energy to design and customer service as it has to promoting the game, this MIGHT be an acceptable and even moderately educational game to play with your kids. However, given that people are complaining in droves about the loss of money, bugs in the game which render them immobile and unable to play for days at a time, and a customer service division that is as callously indifferent to the people for whom the game was designed (we regular folk) as Caligula was to the common citizens of Rome, I think it's safe to recommend that someone put the game out of its own misery.
Teen, 13 years old Written byshaunte April 15, 2011

a teen book

i think the game or movie is good for teens
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


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