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Erik Svedäng



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06/10/09 Erik Svedäng
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06/10/09 Erik Svedäng

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Review: Blueberry Garden

By ssj12 12th Jul 2009 | 1,754 views 

You must save the garden.

Blueberry Garden has to be one of the most charming in existence. If I could just write a review on the game's charm, I would probably just write something as lame but simple as "This game is BRILLIANT!!!! Buy this NOW!" then give this a 10/10. Sadly, I can't do that and even though this game is amazing it still misses the opportunity to be given a perfect score.

What makes this game so charming and great? That is very easy to answer, but hard to truly explain. It is the simplistic nature of the game. Gameplay is a general platformer with some mechanics of a puzzle game. Berries are also scattered around that will aid you in both platforming and the puzzles. There is only one story based cut scene and some hints to tell you what's going on and what you need to do to protect the Blueberry Garden. The gameplay is intertwined so specifically well that you know what you have to do and how to accomplish it, and in the end feel so satisfied that you finished the game that you want to replay it all over again. There is an artistic feel that cannot be truly explained and that just simply needs to be experienced.

When you begin Blueberry Garden, you are introduced to the controls and what is causing the problem. You're also presented with the creature you play as. There are no details on what you are or anything. You are part bird and part human so based on the overall objective, and it would seem that you play as some type of guardian of the garden. As guardian of the garden it is your job to protect the ecosystem and figure out how to save the garden as quickly as possible.

The 2D platforming is the bulk of this game's gameplay. You can move and jump in all directions in the 2D plane. Since you play as a bird you also have the ability to glide your way to distant areas of the map. This helps gain access to areas needed to complete the game. The thing is since you are gliding you do tend to slowly go down toward the ground. If you collide with something in midair you will go tumbling down to the ground. You do get a double jump, but like all platformers successful jumps are almost always based on timing. You cannot jump everywhere, though - there are some areas where there are plants that will make your character fall down. This adds to the difficulty of figuring out how to get someplace. There are some minor issues present when you are trying to jump when there is a bunch of berries piled around you, but this is easy to get out of by repeatedly jumping till your on top of one of the berries or eating some of them.

The puzzle-based gameplay is the unique part of Blueberry Garden. While it is more of a game of hide-and-seek to find all the stackable pieces (more on this next paragraph), a lot of the objects you do have to think hard to figure out how to get. Everything is easy to get to if you know which berries to eat. Berries come in various forms which alter your abilities. Without spoiling which berry does what, I'll just mention the most useful one. The titular blueberries allow you to increase the vertical ascension you have when starting your flight. Other types nothing wrong with what you said other than that you say 'berries' very often can allow you to breathe underwater, find stackable objects, and mess with ground formations. It is just up to you to play this game and find out which berries have these abilities.

These two gameplay styles come together to make a very enjoyable game. The more items you find to stack the farther you can travel to save the garden and eventually finish the game. The faster you solve the main issue, the more of the ecosystem you save. As things worsen, the various creatures that inhabit the lands disappear and plants die. It is easily possible to fail at the objective if you are not careful though. This is one of Blueberry Garden's major downsides. If you mess up, it's virtually game over. It might not say it but you might as well restart the game all over again. This is one issue with the game. If you had the ability to save at any point it would make things a lot easier.

With the mention of the various creatures, other than yourself, that live in the garden you aim to save, lets talk about Blueberry Garden's graphical finesse. Everything in the game world is uniquely drawn. At first you would think that a two year old drew the graphics for this game, but it quickly hits you that the graphics match the gameplay perfectly. Even animations for tree growth and death are quite simple but fitting - when they grow or die, they expand or shrink accordingly. Berries tend to darken until they pop out of existence or a tree decides to expand one out of its body. The creatures are the weirder part of the experience. There are little imps that are just heads with party hats and little legs. Birds are crudely drawn making them amusing to look at. The muses that are running around are also very strange. They are big blue masses with legs, blue hooves, a blue tail, and an oddly-shaped head with antlers. The graphics, in a way are just a laugh, but the way they are used to create a unique experience like Blueberry Garden makes them stand out as visually beautiful, even though looking at everything individually its a poorly drawn mess.

What the overall scoring of Blueberry Garden comes down to is its value. The value for this game is really hard to peg a score to because, while the game is very short, clocking in at under an hour, someone can come back to it time and time again for the enjoyment of playing this game. Unfortunately It is also relatively easy to make a mistake making it so that you have to restart the game from the beginning, which can be an extreme annoyance, but in a sense it does add to the game length allowing time to figure out how to get certain items. This game is priced at $4.99 on Steam, which is a sweet deal even though this game is excessively short.

At the end of the day Blueberry Garden is a high quality indie game that deserves the 2009 Independent Games Festival's Best Independent Game award. For its cost it is hard to go wrong with this purchase. The gameplay is unique enough that it makes you comeback to play it time and time again. The overall charm almost makes you want to consider it a high-class PC game, but it falls just short due to lack of content. Still, anybody, experienced gamer or newcomer, can jump in and enjoy this game. There are higher quality games out there for a much higher price, but for $5 this level of quality is a steal.

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Opinion (5)

Killergran posted 28/08/2009, 01:54
It took you what, an hour?
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thetonestarr posted 11/08/2009, 08:36
Nevermind. I'd thought the blueberries just turned you blue. Silly me. I've since beaten it, gotten to the moon, and visited the "winner's page".
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thetonestarr posted 11/08/2009, 07:35
I can't figure out how to move the rock plugging my way to the second hunk of cheese. And I can't figure out how to get to the freakin' pencil. This game is maddening.
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Killergran posted 09/08/2009, 08:18
Finally finished it. Whew.
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Killergran posted 08/08/2009, 06:07
This game is very, very nice. The presentation is just insanely nice. The gameplay could have been better though. And it keeps crashing on me :(
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