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Pixel Garden

For: iPhone   Also on: iPad
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Flower power

Product: Pixel Garden | Developer: Oooweeooo Interactive | Format: iPhone | Genre: Puzzle | Players: 1 | Version: Europe | App version: 1.0
Pixel Garden iPhone, thumbnail 1
The recent RHS Chelsea Flower Show featured gardens made up of all manner of exotic flora. It had gardens made of glass and stone, and those that didn't really look like gardens at all.

But it didn't feature a garden made entirely of pixels. That one belongs to me.

It can belong to you too, if you download Oooweeooo's beguiling new puzzler.

Difficult beginning

Pixel Garden is that odd game where the tutorial is the most difficult level.

I first booted Pixel Garden up when I was tired from a hard week's work and just starting to feel the effects of a cold. Its unusual take on the colour-matching puzzler didn't sit well with me.

References to gardens and flowers that looked nothing like gardens or flowers, mixed in with an esoteric ruleset, made it seem impenetrable to my distracted mind.

Pixel Garden needs to be approached with a fresh and open mind, then. Once you've done this, and overcome its challenging opening minutes, it all clicks into place delightfully.

Gardener's World

You start with a small square "garden" made up of numerous multicoloured pixels. You can lay any of the randomly generated flowers that you're given against one of its four sides simply by tapping on a vacant adjacent square.

Further flowers can be played against placed flowers of the same colour or shape. Match four in a 4x4 square and you'll form a garden of the same size, which then gives you more scope to lay fresh flowers, and so on.

The game grid doesn't go on forever, though. In order to free up space, you can simply fill up complete lines and columns to make them disappear - though it's garden planting that ups your score.

Wild garden

There's only this one endless mode to Pixel Garden, and the game doesn't develop beyond these core rules. New flower shapes are introduced at certain points, making it more difficult to form gardens, but nothing really changes.

It feels like there should be some kind of progression, or at least an alternative mode, to flesh Pixel Garden out. But the truth is, it's a pleasure to meander through the game's gardens as it is.

Forming matches can either be done as an idle distraction or a carefully planned task. Spread out in random directions or systematically sow the seeds for future success and a new high-score.

It's this freeform approach, combined with some low-key (but beautiful) presentation and a subtly reactive ambient soundtrack that gives Pixel Garden its unique appeal.

Not quite best-in-show, then, but a solid silver medallist.
Pixel Garden
Reviewer photo
Jon Mundy | 30 May 2014
An unusual, beautiful, and surprisingly sedate puzzler that's as fresh as an English garden
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