Monday, October 15, 2007

Virtual Plants

Another chapter in my sometimes ongoing series of "games to play while doing something else." This time "Plant Tycoon":

Actually, in some ways "Plant Tycoon" is not a 'normal' game. I like searching games and I like some arcade games. This game falls in none of those categories.

It's a bit like a simulation. You start out with a 8 seeds (not necessarily all from different plants) and four potted seedlings. From those you can build up your very own catalogue of plants, cross-pollinating plants in order to create new ones. In order to obtain supplies (like better soil or water, more space for your seeds, plant foot, insect poison and so on), you can sell grown plants (after you've harvested new seeds or without even pollinating them) in your nursery. They sell for different prices, some are quite cheap while others are quite expensive. On the whole, most expensive plants require better soil to grow, so you have to earn money in order to advance. (Currently I'm saving for the best possible soil.) In addition you can catch bugs that will come to see your plants (everything from beetles over spiders and butterflies right up to dragonflies).

Plants have a growing cycle that will advance even while the game is not running (unless you pause the game before quitting), looking like this:

At fastest speed, a plant requires about 50 minutes to mature, this way you can rise one charge of 15 plants for selling in a little under an hour - depending on what plants you rise, it's quite a fortune you have in your greenhouse.

By default, a game in which you have to wait that long before doing something is a perfect game to keep running while doing something else. (I'm currently waiting for some plants to grow, produce seeds and get sold while writing this.) Nevertheless, you shouldn't leave the game alone for too long, as plants can catch diseases and need treatment then, otherwise they die - and dead plants don't sell well, as you can imagine.

I like experimenting with the plants, too, by cross-pollinating them. This way you can create over 500 different plants (or so the in-game help says) and find 6 special magical plants (I've found one so far). Well, I've got about 2000$ to earn before I can buy the best possible soil - and I already have 3 types of seeds that will only grow in this (I used very expensive medicine to get one of those plants each through growing and producing seeds). I'm also planning on cross-pollinating some more plants - the basics are already growing, I keep two seeds of each plant I've found in my seed-box, so I can grow them again whenever I want. Those I self-pollinate to get more seeds and those seeds I replant and sell (or use for experiments).

Well, I will go back to planting and pruning and pollinating now...

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