Mama takes a break and has you helping her friends.
In Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends, the Mama that we have come to know and love takes a back seat after showing the player the ropes. That’s okay, Mama needs a break every now and again, she is a busy lady. In her absence, players will be left dealing with anthropomorphic shopkeepers and lazy gardeners whilst maintaining their own little space in the world.
The player is presented with their own little home in this gardening world, along with the all important post box. Players will check their post box for letters from other gardeners that need their help. Once accepting these requests, the player is zipped away via various modes of transport to play a mini game.
The mini games are exactly what you would expect from a Mama game, filled with touch screen tapping, swiping and slicing. Some of the games last longer than others, and the games vary in quality. For the most part, they are fairly simple to understand, but the occasional game came up where I wasted half of my time limit simply trying to work out what to do.
Players will be rewarded with medals and a score for their performance in the mini games, with 100 points being the target to aim for. If the player doesn’t manage to reach that 100 point goal on their first try, they can go again and then add the second score to the first. Once the 100 points have been obtained, the player can walk away from the mini game with some all-important seeds or bulbs.
Back to the hub area, the player can then head down to the gardening plot. This area starts small but will grow to cope with a higher quantity of plants and vegetables as the player progresses. Set out like a grid, players will begin by planting their seeds and giving them a quick water. Night will fall and the player can then head home to rest up for the next day’s activity.
Once the plants or vegetables are fully grown, with the player making sure that they water them every day, they can be harvested and will be placed in the shed.
Aside from helping gardeners to harvest their aubergines or fill their flowerpots, and growing their own produce, the player will be helping to supply the forest friends and their newly launched shops. The forest friends area can be accessed to the left of the players house, but the animal-like owners will show up in the hub area to request some help. supply them with whatever they want, as grown in your own garden, and they will reward you with vouchers.
These vouchers can be spent in the final area of the game, the shop. It is here that the player will find various goodies that can be used to customise the hub area, in exchange for the vouchers.
Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends is a fairly simple game to follow. Play a mini game to unlock new seeds, plant the seeds and tend them to fulfill an order from the forest friends, spend the resulting vouchers on something nice. This routine is occasionally broken up by some disaster or another, such as a wilting plant, giving way to another mini game.
The problem is that the game never really gets any deeper than this. Being that Forest Friends is aimed both at the younger audience and the more casual crowd, this easy going nature may not be a huge problem, but anyone who has enjoyed games such as Animal Crossing should be aware that the experience they will get here will be far more watered down.
Gardening Mama 2: Forest Friends feels shallow even when compared to the casual feel of the previous Mama titles. It is enjoyable for a short time, with some fun mini games and light management, but will quickly become repetitive to all but the most casual player.