Developer: Cooking Mama Limited
Release Date: March 31, 2009
System: Nintendo DS
ESRB Rating: E
Official Web site
In a nutshell: All of the pretty flowers, none of the messy dirt.
0:00 I feel a liberal amount of liberal guilt for not celebrating Earth Day this week, so I'm doing a belated observance by playing this Earth-focused game ... on an electricity-guzzling system. Er...
0:01 A bright sun on a blue sky. Chirpy music as the camera pans down to an insanely happy gardener and little kids hopping in and out of the scene. Blooming flowers bop along to the music in the background. CUTE!
0:02 "Let's Get Growing!" Cut to an overhead view of a green field, with Mama's face smiling in the middle. I can choose from one of two growing stations: red tulips or yellow pansies. I ain't no pansie -- even though I'm playing a gardening game -- so I'll start with tulips.
0:03 Bulb-planting time! I choose the practice mode to figure out what's going on. First I have to open the bag o' bulbs with a few staple-removing swipes. Then I have to pick out the blemish-free bulbs that match the sample. A bit too simple for me, but the tinny "Perfect! Better than Mama!" chirping out of the speakers makes it plenty rewarding.
0:05 Next up is the always pleasant fertilizer pouring. I have to tilt the bag just long enough to fill in a white dotted line area in the soil. I pour too much at first, but quickly get into the rhythm of the thing. Requires a kind of deft touch and some decent timing. I'm digging it.