Garden Life Review | Can This Be My Life Instead?

Value for Money
$ 39
Garden Life succeeds in giving justice to its title of being a cozy simulator. Its sincere story premise, captivating visual art style, repetitive but addicting gameplay loop, and relaxing ambience from its music and sound effects all combine to serve up a calming experience of garden caretaking. Tending to plants and decorating the garden with various knick-knacks have never been more cozy.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator is a relaxing simulation game where you tend to the community garden left behind by its previous caretaker. Read on to learn what it does well, what it doesn’t do well, and if it’s worth your time and money.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review Overview

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Pros & Cons

Checkmark Stunning Visual Direction
Checkmark Relaxing and Zen-Inducing Atmosphere
Checkmark Gameplay Becomes a Bit Repetitive After A While

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Overall - 78/100

Garden Life succeeds in giving justice to its title of being a cozy simulator. Its sincere story premise, captivating visual art style, repetitive but addicting gameplay loop, and relaxing ambience from its music and sound effects all combine to serve up a calming experience of garden caretaking. Tending to plants and decorating the garden with various knick-knacks have never been more cozy.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Story - 8/10

Garden Life’s narrative premise is a solid way to introduce the world and situation, as well as to instill a sense of duty you must uphold when tending to the garden. The story continues through snippets here and there and acts as your main motivator and exposition for more features to be unlocked. It’s simple, basic, pulls the heartstrings a bit, and gets the job done well for a simulator game.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Gameplay - 8/10

Garden Life’s gameplay is as cookie cutter gardening as you can get, with the cycle of planting flowers, trimming when bloomed, and turning them in or selling for money to obtain upgrades and other types of seeds. Although a bit one-dimensional and repetitive, it gets the job done of being a soothing and cozy loop to simulate gardening. The vast freedom in decorating is also appreciable, allowing the placement of props anywhere in almost any way one can imagine.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Visuals - 9/10

The art direction implements a breathtakingly vivid painterly style for most of the game and it brings so much visual appeal. It’s not the usual life-like or stylized routes most simulators would opt for, but does its own unique twist of rendering with the painterly AND cell-shaded style simultaneously. It’s a big gamble and it pays off by providing a distinct flair of having the cell-shaded objects and entities pop up and become more striking.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Audio - 8/10

Almost every action the player performs in Garden Life has a corresponding sound effect (SFX) attached to it, and it’s satisfying to have an audible response to everything you’re doing. All lines of dialogue are fully voice-acted and no one phoned their acts in. Though there aren’t any award-winning performances, the cast still does great and properly inhibits the characters they portray. Lastly, the ambient music present throughout the game, although a bit on the generic side, are soothing and relaxing. They also have a dynamic music system implemented that seamlessly transitions tracks from one to another when walking from one location to another. Very much appreciated.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Value for Money - 6/10

Garden Life is definitely worth a playthrough for anyone interested. Its solid story accompanied with interesting art direction with straightforward gameplay and great SFX and voice acting, all facets are above average and deserve a look into. However, it’s curiously priced at $24.99 for Steam, while costing $39.99 on consoles. This big price gap will only discourage console players from playing the game if or when they discover that the same game on the PC costs significantly less. It will only serve to alienate an entire player base by pronouncing the Steam version being the best deal.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Review: Can This Be My Life Instead?


Garden Life pleasantly surprised me. First and foremost, I didn’t expect such a simple premise of the previous caretaker, Robin, passing too soon and leaving behind their coveted garden and unfulfilled list of tasks to be a bit heart wrenching. And to reveal the fact that due to the unfinished business, they couldn’t pass on to the afterlife and still cling to their duties solely for the benefit of the loved ones they left behind? I’m a sucker for these types of narratives, and boy did I get sucker punched out of nowhere.

Moving on from the narrative, the gameplay itself was surprisingly addictive. Perhaps it has something to do with how simple and repetitive it is, and how my own brain enjoys doing repetitive tasks and finds comfort in the familiar and muscle memory. The overall gameplay loop of mere planting, watering, fertilizing, pruning, and selling tickles my brain in a good way, providing my own version of cozy.


The art direction in this game is so pretty, enough said. The rich flora and handful of friendly critters scattered around are such a feast for the eyes that make the repetitive gameplay much more pleasant and enjoyable, which all adds to the gentleness of the atmosphere. Not just the in-game models, but all the illustrations are top-notch as well.

Garden Life is truly a cozy simulator in all of its facets, and anyone who could get the game will have their hands full with tons of stacks of leaves for the compost bin. I genuinely feel I like I want to play more of the game after spending time away from it, and that attests to the addictive soothing nature of Garden Life.

Pros of Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator

Things Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Got Right
Checkmark Stunning Visual Direction
Checkmark Relaxing and Zen-Inducing Atmosphere

Stunning Visual Direction

What must be prioritized for this genre of gardening simulator games–besides the actual gardening mechanics–are the visuals. They either implement a life-like art direction or a distinct and highly stylized look to set themselves apart. However, Garden Life combines both approaches to form a very appealing product mix of gorgeous painterly visuals with very stylized cartoony effects that surprisingly blends well. The environmental props such as rocks, trees, buildings, key items and the like are beautifully done with the aforementioned painterly art style. The flowers are alluringly lush and feel more real despite their slightly differentiated life-like appearances.

A surprisingly bold direction that Garden Life takes is the inclusion of cell-shaded objects and entities amidst all the differently rendered environments. They’re not abundant, but they visually pop out and strike the player to be seen as distinct and important. From the bikes, the shopkeeper’s pet frog, and the resident cat, all are a handful and subtle placements that leave an impression of importance and visual flair.

Relaxing and Zen-Inducing Atmosphere


This goes hand-in-hand with the previous praise of Garden Life’s visuals, but the art direction, along with the stress-free gameplay, the music and ambience, and even the snippets of story are all very comforting and calming. The narrative set up of taking care of the community garden that was left behind by its previous caretaker who passed away slightly pulls at the heartstrings while instilling a sense of duty. The art direction is just pleasing to the eyes. The gameplay boils has no stressors or any kind of urgency, allowing you to progress at your own pace.

Lastly, the various background tracks that play while in the garden or across the different locations fit the theme, although they’re a bit on the generic serviceable side. However, one great thing about them is that they dynamically transition from one to the other, allowing for seamless transitions and giving a sense of immersion as you enter a new location that might be playing different music or to denote a different vibe. It’s a very simple but effective feature that rounds off the zen-inducing atmosphere Garden Life is abundant in.

Cons of Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator

Things Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Can Improve
Checkmark Gameplay Becomes a Bit Repetitive After A While

Gameplay Becomes a Bit Repetitive After A While

This isn’t an overwhelming negative, but when you’re a little ways past the tutorial and you’re left to your own devices, you’ll figure out that the overall gameplay loop is rather small. Plant flowers, water, fertilize if you can, snip the bloomed flowers, craft, sell, or hand in to quests, and repeat. Occasionally, you’ll have to perform some gardening upkeep as weed grows, pests infect, or your accessible land expands, but they’re easily done within a full day’s work, specially at the end of the day where time stops and you can do everything that doesn’t require the passage of time. That would be the optimal time for someone to decorate the garden a well, but I digress.

Though the story keeps going, primary objectives keep appearing, quests keep on coming, and the garden keeps expanding, the main gameplay loop of growing flowers to advance stays the same. However, this is not an overtly bad thing, as the game is quite literally a gardening simulator game. If you fully expect routine-based tasks for each game day, then this wouldn’t be a huge negative. But for those who might have been seeking more variety in Garden Life, this would be a huge caveat.

Is Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Worth It?

You’re Invited to the Garden Party

Garden Life is definitely a game worth getting and playing, as its multiple facets in its story, gameplay, visuals, and sound design all cohesively work together to provide the cozy and relaxing atmosphere it strives to achieve. It’s easy to pick up, and easy to get addicted to the daily stress-free routine of tending to flowers and fulfilling requests.
However, when it comes to the pricing, it’s a bit of a different story, because as of writing of the review, there’s a large disparity between its price on Steam ($24.99) and on consoles($39.99). It’s rather confusing why it’s priced as such on consoles, seeing as they’re all the same game of the same version as far as the public has been told. In any case, if Garden Life is your type of fancy and you have a powerful enough PC to run it on medium to high settings, getting it on Steam would be your best bet. I would advise not to buy them on consoles for now, as it might be some sort of pricing mistake, or perhaps an over-inflation of the price demanded to be able to publish the game on their platforms.

Digital Storefronts
Steam IconSteam Playstation IconPlaystation Xbox IconXbox Switch IconSwitch
$24.99 $39.99

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Overview & Premise

Robin, the previous caretaker of the community garden, has unfortunately passed away, leaving the garden unattended. The community has been looking for someone else to take their place, and so you arrive to try and fill their shoes. You must uphold the beauty and structure of the fauna Robin has constructed, as their ghost continues to roam and wishes for you to continue the list of tasks they had left behind.

Along your way, you will be met and guided by a handful of characters close to Robin, helping you make the garden flourish further while cluing you in with the history of each area.

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator FAQ

How to Earn Money or Florins in Garden Life?

Garden Life’s money currency, Florins, can be earned through fulfilling neighbor tasks, bulletin board jobs, or selling flower cuttings on the Flower Stall in the Town Square after it has been built as a reward for a main story quest.

How To Get Florins Fast at the Start of Garden Life?

In the starting season of spring in Garden Life, strive to get the Flower Stall built as soon as possible to be able to sell flower cuttings. While progressing to getting the stall built, have plenty of Yellow Daffodils planted, fertilized, and harvested every hour to build up a stash. Yellow Daffodils are one of the earlier and easiest plants you will have access to, and they sell well during the initial season.

What are Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator‘s System Requirements

System Specs Minimum Recommended
Operating System Windows 10 Windows 10
Processor Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD Ryzen 5 1400 Intel Core i5-8600k or AMD Ryzen 5 3600X
Memory 8GB RAM 16 GB RAM
Graphics NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB or AMD Radeon R9 280X 3GB NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2080 8GB or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT 16 GB
Direct X Version Version 11 Version 11

Garden Life: A Cozy Simulator Product Information

Garden Life A Cozy Simulator Banner
Release Date February 22, 2024, March 14, 2024(Nintendo Switch)
Developer stillalive studios
Publisher Nacon
Supported Platforms PC(Steam), PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch
Genre Simulation, Cozy, Sandbox
Number of Players 1
Rating ESRB E
Official Website Garden Life A Cozy Simulator Official Website


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