|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Last Day of Work||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Last Day of Work||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 7, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Nathan Meunier
There's just something Zen-like about botany that makes it so appealing. Filling a pot with soil, planting a seed, watering it daily, and watching it grow, eventually to blossom into a beautiful flower, is a time consuming and incredibly rewarding process. If you count yourself a plant lover with a saint-like patience, then you may easily find yourself locked in a struggle to divide time between tending to virtual plants and the real deal once you get your hands on Plant Tycoon.
With just a handful of common seeds and a few seedlings to start, it's your job to breed a wide range of new plant species. This is done by developing and nurturing plants from seeds, bringing them to germination, and cross pollinating them to create new varieties of seeds. The process is not as simple as it sounds, but each step is part of the fun in Plant Tycoon. As an added twist, the game loosely ties-in with the Virtual Villagers series, another casual PC title from Last Day of Work, as you must search for the six magic plants of Isola by mixing combinations of different species. The same goofy little villagers make a re-appearance, though dressed in civilized clothing, as customers in your plant nursery.
Players start out in the greenhouse where they must begin by filling pots with soil, watering the dirt, and then planting their first batch of seeds. Much like other LDW games, Plant Tycoon runs in real-time, allowing players to watch their plants grow while they continue the process and engage in other chores. Even when you turn the game off, your plants continue to grow. Once a plant reaches maturity you can extract its pollen and use it to pollinate another mature plant. Pollinated plants will eventually produce hybrid seeds of a new plant species. These seeds will grow plants that have a combination of traits from their parent plants. Once a pollinated plant is depleted of its seeds, it can be sold to help fund your gardening experiments. Common plant species will only sell for between $10 and $20, but the more exotic breeds can go for up to $400.
Even if you don't have a great working knowledge of growing plants, the intuitive controls and helpful tutorial will bring you up to speed in no time. Watering is as easy as picking up the watering can and then using it to moisten the potted soil until the indicator maxes out. Using clippers to trim dead leaves off the plants will allow you to get more money for them, but over-trimming can harm the plants as well. Laying down soil and planting are equally simple. The plants are quite realistic looking and, with over 500 different species to create, some very beautiful and exotic combinations are possible. Up to 15 different plants can be potted at one time. This makes it far easier to experiment with cross pollination, since you'll frequently have multiple plants reaching maturity at the same time.