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Evergarden review - A puzzler that understands how to use enchantment

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad

Forever and ever

Product: Evergarden | Publisher: Flippfly | Format: iPhone | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
There are some feelings that it's easy to capture in videogame form. There are others that require talent, precision, and a deep understanding of play from the developer if they're going to work.

One of those far more difficult feelings is enchantment. To be stolen away, enraptured entirely by the digital world presented to you, and to feel the desire to search out every nook and cranny of this strange new existence.

But Evergarden manages it wonderfully. And it does it with one of the most static and uninspiring genres on the App Store. This is a game that's much, much more than the sum of its parts.


Evergarden takes its ideas from a number of different sources, then weaves plenty of its own into the mix to ensure that you're never too familiar with it, and never too sure as to what's coming next.

Essentially it's about combining plants in the titular garden. You're playing on a grid, and at the start of the first turn there'll be a few small saplings here and there. You have two moves that you can make.

Evergarden iOS review screenshot - A five piece match

You can drag adjacent plants together to join them, resulting in a single, larger plant. Then, when you've connected the plants you want to, you can drag them to empty spaces in order to plant seeds.

A button in the top right of the screen lets you speed up time, and end your turn, and allows the seeds time to grow. Then you start another turn, match more plants, and plant more seeds.

Evergarden iOS review screenshot - A hidden area

To start with that's the rhythm of the game. But then things start to change. You'll be given shapes that you need to make, with more points coming your way when you do. But these shapes start to have more significance as you start to understand what the game wants from you.

It's almost impossible to talk about the deeper mechanics of Evergarden without spoiling it, because this is a game that thrives on player discovery. Even within the gridded borders of the puzzles, there's exploration to do, and I don't want any of that to lose its splendour.

Plant hire

Because it's in the discovery that Evergarden makes its enchantments. It's in the groves and the songs, in the pillars and the matches, in the story that slowly shifts into a shape that you can understand.

There's no hand-holding here, but the game doesn't need any. As you figure out what you're supposed to be doing, and learn new and interesting ways to do things, you feel like a stranger in a world that was built just for you. And that feeling is worth cherishing and chasing.
Evergarden review - A puzzler that understands how to use enchantment
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 20 August 2018
Evergarden is a brilliant, relaxing, and utterly enthralling puzzle game that you should grab right now
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