|System: X360, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Vitamin-G||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Atari||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov. 10, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Just running through each level, solving a puzzle, and then warping out doesn't provide the depth needed to sustain a title such as this. Still, if you feel like putting forth the effort, there are some extras that you can discover in the UnderGarden. For example, even though pollinating each area is a fairly straightforward affair, there are some hard-to-reach areas that you can explore if you want to go for 100% pollination in every level. Doing these bonuses will net you some in-game goodies like new skins and accessories for the main character (although no matter what skin you put him in, he still looks a bit like a creepy hamster).
Of course that's not to say that UnderGarden is a complete waste of time. The game itself is quite fun, and if you aren't comparing it to anything else, you'll certainly have fun opening blossoms and solving puzzles. I would certainly say that The UnderGarden is the most zen-like experience you're likely to get on the Xbox 360. And if you don't mind the shallow level design and easy puzzles, a round or two of UnderGarden is certainly rewarding. I just can't say that it's the most unique or interesting experience you've ever had.
Technically, the game is hit-or-miss. The world of the UnderGarden has a lush color palette, and the different themed areas are certainly interesting to behold. However, the repetitive elements that plague the level design keep the game from looking its best, despite its zippy framerate and smooth animations. The game's sound quality isn't the best either, with sparse background tunes that only kick in when you pass small music-playing creatures. The tunes themselves are pretty simplistic, and you're better off listening to the music on your hard drive rather than waiting for a tune or two to kick in.
The UnderGarden isn't a bad game. In fact it's a pretty relaxing experience. However, I feel that there was real potential to make this passable game into a really good game. Just wandering a nice-looking area doesn't provide a challenge, and even going back and trying to complete all the various stages to 100% seems tedious and doesn't make for exhilarating gameplay. Though this game is fun in small chunks, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone looking for a lengthy gameplay experience. The best visit to the UnderGarden is a brief one, and it probably won't be one of your most memorable experiences.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC News Director