Many farming simulation games are set in lush, fertile farmland out in the country. We play as a farmer, tending his or her cattle, and don’t think much about it. Voodoo Garden turns this idea on its head, putting players in the role of the owner of a hut in the middle of a swamp, growing and producing supplies for voodoo concoctions. Voodoo Garden is a colorful, cute agriculture simulation game set in an area that most games wouldn’t dare to tread.
So, in Voodoo Garden you are the owner of a hut in the middle of a swamp. By growing trees and other plants, you collect ingredients that allow you to craft and sell occult supplies and accessories. In addition to these plants, you can also feed and raise cute pets that can then be sacrificed to summon Helper Spirits that can make your work easier.
There isn’t much direction provided to the player at the start of the game. There is no tutorial, and you are thrust right into the action without so much as a short introduction. You are provided with a few plants, and immediately have to keep watch for bats (who will steal the fruit off some of your plants.) You also need to harvest the fruit, while watching for bees who will nest in your fruit bushes. The bees can be used in the production of bee nests, which are just one of the things you can use to make various products.
As you progress onward, you will level up which will allow you to unlock new things to buy. Things you can purchase in the store are plants that let you make better products or totems that can do a variety of things, such as attracting bees to your plants. There are upgrades that you can buy for your plants and animals as well, which allow you to harvest them faster and reap the animal’s benefits more when they are sacrificed to become a Helpful Spirit. Helpful Spirits can harvest things for you, make certain plants grow faster, and provide a few other helpful effects.
At first glance, it seems like there is a lot to Voodoo Garden, but truthfully it isn’t at all complex. The music is relaxing and calm, but the game follows a similar pattern to idling games like Cookie Clicker. Click on things to harvest them, gain money, upgrade your garden and your plants, rinse, repeat. This is where Voodoo Garden becomes boring, because after a while you find yourself with the game open, just waiting for your plants to be ready to harvest. You aren’t given enough information to set goals as you play, and there aren’t any interesting characters or plot elements to keep things interesting.
The minimalistic nature of Voodoo Garden harms its overall appeal, because despite the creatures and the visuals being colorful and cute, there isn’t much substance to be had at all. There aren’t any real goals beyond getting all upgrades and making the biggest garden you can make. There is no real sense of excitement or victory as you progress either, and as I played I found myself wondering why I was even making this garden. What is the motivation? Why should I care? These are questions that never get answered, and that is the main reason Voodoo Garden is a bust.
My honest, final opinion of Voodoo Garden is that it would be a fantastic time-waster as a mobile game. However, paying any amount of money for Voodoo Garden wouldn’t make sense (much less the $2.99 purchase price the developers are charging,) as there really isn’t enough substance to justify it not being a free-to-play title. I had high hopes for Voodoo Garden, but it didn’t have enough content to truly deliver.
A PC review code for Voodoo Garden was provided by Liu Lidan for the purpose of this review