Plantera Deluxe Nintendo Switch Review

Developer: Varagtp Studios 

Publisher: Ratalaika Games 

Release Date: Out now

Price as of Article: $4.99 £4.99

Audio

The music is very calming and beautiful. From the moment you start up the game you are greeted with soothing strings that grace your ears, followed by an acoustic guitar riff and some timing drums that hold it all together. All of the music follows this relaxing style and helps to add a lot of joy to the overall experience.

As for the sound, the water sounds a little intense which I found a lot funnier than it actually is. There is the constant sound of waves crashing, but it adds to the relaxing vibe they are going for. Birds chirp peacefully as you go about your business, and it all serves to create a peaceful country feel. The sound direction is definitely on point, with everything well thought out and deliberate in a way that makes for a coherent experience.

Plucking fruits and vegetables has a rather satisfying pop, followed by a coin sound to let you know you’re making bank. Whacking critters to drive them from your crops makes a loud thud that may border on animal cruelty, but it does help you feel you’ve driven a threat away from your growing operation. But by far the best sound the game delivers is that of the chicken laying eggs, with a distinct and somehow cute fart noise that would make me smile every time.

Visuals and Performance

There is a very well thought out art style to this game. The retro look is a treat to look at, with a modern take on the pixelated aesthetic. Colours have been made to pop, and the vibrancy this game imbues being pleasant to look upon.

All the animals and creatures have a real chibi look to them. They are essential heads with feet, and it is adorable. Plants and fruits look like, well, plants and fruits. It all fits an overarching theme though, either the coherency of the visuals matching that of the coherency of the sound design.

Menus are rather straightforward, consisting of brown backgrounds with brown borders. The interface is actually kind of ugly, which is a letdown as it is in stark contrast to the beautiful game it is layered on top of.

The backgrounds go against the pixelated look of the foreground, but it somehow fits perfectly. There is a stunning glow effect from the sun overhead that is not on screen, and the yellow shine slowly seeps into the calming blue tones of the sky. Everything here belongs, and this game should be commended for this.

Whether in handheld or docked mode, the game runs smoothly, with no slowdowns or dropped frames. Although you can play it docked, the handheld is what this game seems to be designed for. I ’m docked mode you will miss the touchscreen, as using the control sticks as a mouse substitute is never a great situation.

Gameplay

Starting off, you will be completely lost as to what you are supposed to be doing. There seems to be no tutorial or written text to get you going, except for an arrow that hints as to what to press. It was enough to help me, but it also didn’t tell me what or why I was doing anything the arrow pointed at. Eventually, it clicked as to what this game was, and I could really dig into the whole point of the game.

That said, when I eventually paused the game for the first time two hours later I saw the help option on the menu! After digging into the help options, the text they give you is quite robust. The welcome tab lets you know what the game is, which is very helpful. It also explains your inventory and the store, along with the levelling system and controls. There is even a hints tab. If I could give anyone any advice about this game, it’s to pause the game and check out the help section. It really is helpful.

Plantera is a mobile style farming game, where you plant crops and trees to harvest fruit and vegetables for money. The more money you make the more crops you can plant and the bigger your farming operation can grow. You can also capture butterflies and other bugs for more coins. There really is a lot going on on screen at any one time.

As peaceful as the music and sound is, the gameplay can get hectic as you plant more and more crops. Adding trees and animals to the mix, it is a lot to manage. Then there are the bad critters. Have you got chickens? Well, you better be ready to beat off foxes. Carrots? Rabbits! Apple trees? Birds! Everything you add to the game, a creature who wants to feed will also try to steal it. This means you won’t just be harvesting crops, but chasing off critters, and it can get really stressful when you’ve filled a screen with crops and animals.

Luckily you gain helpers, that I can only describe as blue blobs with satchels for harvesting crops. You can also move a cursor around, clicking A to harvest whatever it hovers over, or do the mobile game thing of tapping the screen. I found tapping much more intuitive, as it is a lot quicker. Tapping also makes whacking enemy critters feel more satisfying, as you are actually hitting the annoying pests.

As for the goal of the game… well, there isn’t really an end goal to achieve. You just continually build your garden, collecting fruits, vegetables and produce, protecting your crops and wild stock and upping overall productivity. The loop is simple, but also rather enjoyable. As someone who usually needs an end goal to achieve, I actually found this games lack of purpose rather refreshing.

value

At £4.99 ($4.99 USD), Plantera Deluxe is definitely a rather robust game at a budget price. There is a lot of fun to be had here, as this is a continuous game that you can always return to. With how relaxing and enjoyable this title is, you will want to return as well. Whether it is played on your commute, used as a time waster, or even a palette cleanser between games, Plantera Deluxe is a steal at its price point.