When it comes to the indie game front, Japanese doujin titles are probably my most favorite to observe. Usually known for putting together some harebrained ideas (like any creator) that should never seem to work out, I’m glad that they oddly do and really remind me why I like and play games in the first place. So why not make a game about growing plants? In an oversimplified nutshell that is the premise of Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden, a tale that follows a girl named Organa, that is working as an apprentice at her master Irene’s shop that specializes in growing plants…that produce organs instead of fruit? Yeah, told you it would be out there, but that is apart of its charm.
Title: Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden
System: PC (Steam Store)
From kidneys and hearts that grow on trees to whatever grows on vines are just some of the oddities you will have to cultivate and all you have to do is simply click on a water can, click on the plant in question, and watch the growth happen. Sounds simple, right? Well, that is because it is, but don’t let the simplicity fool you. As you progress through the game and unlock other plants, items, and even animals that can assist you with everything from quicker growth for organs to refilling your watering can at a faster rate, things can become somewhat difficult to manage. However, with no penalties or strict time limit on your actions, you are free to take your time and once you get the hang of micromanaging your resources, it becomes a very zen and relaxing experience. Of course, you won’t be growing organs without some kind of purpose and where the quest system comes into play. Like most fetch quest in RPG’s or item collection task in other genres, from time to time you will have different objectives you will be ask to accomplish. All of them are pretty simple and require you to either grow a certain number of organs or level up your animals, equipment, or plants to a specific value which will happen as you go. While only a handful of quest are needed to move the story along to the next chapter, there are various others that will help you accrue funds to buy more resources as well as provide extra vignettes that help flesh the world and what Organa and Irene’s day-to-day lives deal with.
Speaking of the story, there is one to My Organic Garden, with Irene trying to train up Organa so she can go traveling knowing that her business will be in good hands, but it is definitely nuanced to some degree – which isn’t a bad thing for a game of this nature. As aforementioned, as you complete quest to move the story forward, scenes will play out in a visual novel type fashion that reveal the nature of Irene’s business as well as the customers that come to her. Some the scenes are pretty short and straightforward, yet there are a few that border on a reflective and even deeply contemplative bent, but the writing is very simple and easygoing that it never feels stuffy or imposing (putting it nicely). It adds a lot of character to the otherwise simple and addictive gameplay that can stand on its own just fine.
The avant-garde artwork adds to the character as it features a very seemingly monochromatic palate for the background on top of an optical art style that doesn’t play the viewer’s eyeballs, but does look extremely pleasant. As simple as the character designs are, they also look very nice and give off a very haunting ambiance to what seems like a cheerful and relaxing title. Of course, if you consider grinding organs to create food…well, that is pretty unsettling in a sense. But I disgress. The game does have some animation work, yet nothing horribly too interesting to note except for visual cues when organs are ready to harvest or animals scurrying in a stop motion style when they are doing a task or resting. Music also isn’t much to write home about, but works for what the game is.
All-in-all, Forget Me Not: My Organic Garden is a very different and pleasant game, and do think that is worth checking out if you like the concept and gameplay style. Even though I’m only a few steps into playing (Chapter 4 as of now) and still feel that I have more of the game to see, the simple and addictive clicking gameplay coupled with story bits is managing to keep me satisfied, and can’t wait to I get my hands on the next introduced resource. I would be remiss if I didn’t say that it seems like this type of play can become repetitive, but with so much to do and events staving off that monotony, I don’t feel it sitting in now or see it happening any time soon. I do believe fans of anime and visual novels will definitely find this up their alley, but even if you’re not, still a neat and crazy idea you will want to look into.
Pros: Unique concept, charming art style, simple and addictive clicking mechanic, visual novel portions are short and sweet.
Cons: Keeping track of the management can get in later parts of the game, can feel a bit slow in the beginning.