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Horticular Review

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What a lovely game in which you build and manage a garden to attract all kinds of animals, while also fighting off some evil creatures during some of the nights. It has quite challenging achievements: one to play the story on the hardest difficulty and one for not letting any item destroyed and any animal die.


Approximate amount of time to 100%: My guess would be around 35 hours
Estimated achievement difficulty: 7/10 (Especially the “Perfect!” achievement)
Minimum number of playthroughs needed: 1 full playthrough and creative mode, but I would recommend 2 playthroughs (one on easy/medium, and a second one on hard)
Is there a good guide available: Not yet, but I’m sure there will be in the future. Check the steam guide section.
Multiplayer achievements: No
Missable achievements: Yes, Perfect! is missable because no item may get ruined and no animal is allowed to die, gladly the game only saves when it is a new day, so you could quit the game when something like that happens
Grinding Achievements: No
DLC-Only achievements: No
Speedrun achievements: No
Time-gated achievements: No
RNG-achievements: No
Does difficulty affect achievements: Yes, there is an achievement for playing through the story on the hardest difficulty
Unobtainable/glitched achievements: No

Horticular is such a cute game, but don’t get fooled by its cuteness as it doesn’t have to be easy! Especially not if you want to hunt down all the achievements, but I’ll come back to that later on in this review.

The developer shared a post on Twitter, a few weeks before the release, that Horticular is a bit of a cross between Rollercoaster Tycoon and Viva Pinata, and I can see that. It starts with the music on the startup screen, it isn’t from RCT but you can totally hear the influence of it. Managing your garden and generating income while also reforming your garden reminds me of the managing aspects of RCT. The viva Pinata part is even more clear: create the right environment for an animal and it will visit your garden. If you have the right spot for it you can let them join your garden and they will live there from now on.

In the beginning, it is unknown what are the requirements for an animal to join your garden, however, the more animals of the same type you added, the more info you already get, but if you have enough of that type it will just show you what the requirements are. I expect that there will pop up many guides on the internet on the requirements, so if you can’t figure one out, you have a high chance of finding it on the Steam forum or the guide section on Steam. The Discord channel is also a good place to get information on specific animals.

In Horticular there are enemies, who visit on some nights. They are quite evil and will do their best to destroy your garden. Gladly you have a spell which you can cast on them to hurt them, just be careful where to cast it, as that spell will also hurt your animals. Later on, you can also let your helpers learn that spell so they can help out defeating those horrible creatures. This attack spell isn’t the only spell you will learn, there are many spells. A few examples from early on are healing plants, but also healing and curing animals.

You earn money in Horticular for placing items in your garden, however the more of that item you place down, the less money that specific item generates. So it is a bit of a balancing act as well as waiting to have enough income to buy extra land or hire an extra helper. After you finish the story, you unlock creative mode. In that mode money isn’t an issue and you can just go wild with designing your garden the way you want it.

I do enjoy Horticular a lot, but it is also a bit harder than I expected. I’m not the biggest fan of the enemies during the night. Especially since your attack spell also hurts the friendly animals. I have my doubts about making the hit range of the attack spell bigger because that would also increase the chance of hitting the friendly animals as well. What I do like about Horticular is the loop of figuring out what an animal wants, and giving them a home in your garden. Also managing your money is a fun aspect in my book, I think I would find it boring if that wasn’t a part of it.

What I also want to highlight is that the developer behind Horticular is very passionate and works so hard on the game. I found a bug 1,5 days before the release. He instantly responded, found the problem in minutes, and fixed it a few hours later while it was in the middle of the night (We are in the same timezone, that is how I knew he fixed it around 3 am). I hope he takes care of his own health and basic needs, but it is also awesome to see such a passionate developer instantly working on it.

The achievements in Horticular are quite challenging. You have to master all animals and get all the badges, this is what is to be expected in this type of game. However, you also have to finish the story on the hardest difficulty. For this achievement, I recommend a second playthrough, especially because there is also an achievement for not having any item ruined and any animal dying. Next to that, there is also an achievement for playing 50 days in creative mode, which unlocks after finishing the story.

I give Horticular 4 out of 5 stars.

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This review for Horticular was written on 10 July 2024, based on the current Steam version of the game which has 41 achievements at the time of writing this review. This information can be outdated, for example, when the developer adds or removes achievements or releases (new) DLC.

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