Cooking Mama, if you aren’t aware of it, came out on the DS years ago to rave reviews. Not only was it not a typical hack-n-slash or driving game, but it was one of the first games to really utilize everything the DS’s touch screen had to offer. You chopped, pulled, blew, stirred, and created something you could have actually applied to real life.
In other words, girls everywhere squealed with joy, and boys begrudgingly became addicted when they failed at making rice.
The followups (Cooking mama 2 & Cooking Mama for the Wii) tried to do the same, but somehow fell a little flat when it came to the ingenuity and excitement. The wii became difficult to manage and the followups felt too much like the look-alikes (“Happy Cooking” anyone?).
With Gardening Mama, some of that magic has come back, spiced up with a touch of Nintendogs, and with a little of the “Dolphinz” urgency thrown in for good measure.
You get to mix up dirt, pull bugs off leaves, blow away clouds (getting horrendously dizzy after 3 screens), decide flower colors, decorate yourself with said flowers, make rainbows, and get graded on how well you do it all. Like Nintendogs, you earn Gifts based on how good you do (which you use to decorate yourself, the garden, and add Unique flowers). However, like Dolphinz, your constantly on your toes about all the flowers that are wilting if you haven’t tended to certain plants while you’ve been tending to others.
There is always something to do, always a reason to turn it on & play, always some new vegetable to plant or flower to see.
Unfortunately, there are NOT multiple logins, so you have 1 garden that everyone gets to tend. It’s not too bad, though if you’ve been looking forward to cutting the kiwi you tended to so well, I suggest hiding the cartridge until it’s done. Also, the map is very difficult to manage (seriously, would it have been THAT HARD to let people use the direction pad to move around?? Or given us a zoom-out??), and you still have the same problems as previous versions, when they give you an arrow, and you get to guess what the hell you’re doing. So, the frustration level does occur, but not as much.
I definitely suggest BUYING this one, not just renting it. You’re going to feel horrible when you have to send back the garden you put so much time & energy into.