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The parents' guide to what's in this game.
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What 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.
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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.
Talk to your kids 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?
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