Review: Viridi

Table of Contents

Quick Info

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Additional Notes
This game's soundtrack is available! This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)! This game is free! You can buy in-game items with real money.

Summary of major issues
Many supplies, such as new areas for pots and additional seeds, are purchased using real money.

Screenshots


Blooming cacti


Flowers in the evening


Getting a new seed

General Information

Genre:SimulationAge Rating:Children (Ages 6+)
License:Free to PlayQuality Rating:Good
Played on:Martha & Thaddeus
Available from: Gamer's Gate, Humble Store, Steam
Soundtrack:Available as DLC
Save System:Everything you do is automatically saved, so you'll never have to worry about your plants.

Game Overview

There is something innately calming about growing a pot of cacti. Viridi captures this atmosphere and enhances it by adding slow, rhythmic animation and a quiet, gentle soundtrack. Truth be told, this is much less a game than it is an interactive decoration for your computer's desktop.

You have a lot of control over your potted plants. For example, there are many different pots to choose from, and you can place plants anywhere there's an available spot. Beyond this, you can name your plants and even "sing" to them to help them grow.

Even if you don't spend a lot of time singing to your plants, they'll reach maturity and bloom in about a month. Note that this is a month in real time, not in-game. During this time you'll need to occasionally water them and pull any weeds that have grown in the pot. Fortunately, if you're leading a busy life, you only need to check on them every few days to keep them alive. There is also a "vacation mode" that temporarily suspends the game to relieve you of any responsibilities in the meantime.

Ultimately, this quiet little game is a nice addition to an otherwise boring desktop, and I suspect that it might be helpful for people with anxiety issues. Since it's a free to play game, you have nothing to lose by trying it.

Pros

Very relaxing
There's no reflex testing action, no loud noises, no shocking details. It's just a pot of succulents that floats in a void. There's a little snail doing laps around the rim, but it's not going to hurt anything. The game's ambient music is especially calming.


Many real plant species
There are 23 types of cacti that can be grown in your pots. All of these exist in the real world, so if any of them particularly strike your fancy, perhaps you could start a real garden using the virtual pots as a template.


Free plants
Once a week, you can receive a free seed from the in-game nursery. In order to get this seed, you'll have to visit the nursery yourself, but if you have multiple pots this isn't an issue. You can also receive a new starter pot by moving every plant in an existing pot to the garden (ie, throwing them away). A third method of getting new plants is to trade them with friends via the Steam community.


Steam Achievements
This is a game about virtual gardening. Yet, there are forty seven achievements that can be earned by playing it. Most of these revolve around successfully growing a species to maturity or getting them to flower, but a few require you to have raised many, many pots worth of cacti.


Unexpectedly huge and active community
Every Steam game has a discussion board, so out of curiosity and feeling rather silly, I decided to check Viridi's discussion board. To my surprise, it's very busy, with a lot of players discussing growing techniques, trading seeds, and talking about the game in general. To give you an idea of just how big this community is, there's a sixty three page thread talking about what people named the snail that lives on your pots ("Garry" seems to be the popular option).


Cons

Very slow progress
As a game that takes place in real time, and requires a month at that, you probably won't really see much going on when you play it. For some people, this is just too long to wait. Singing to your plants can speed up their growth, but even then it's still going to take weeks for them to mature.


Many features are not available for free
To have more than one pot of plants, you'll need to purchase a key or map to the new location. These are the most expensive things you can buy. More seeds range from ten cents to fifty cents each, but while this isn't much, it can add up if you buy a lot of them.

A suggestion: if you really like this game and don't care about Steam Trading Cards, sell a few of them on the Steam Marketplace. Most of these virtual cards are worth slightly more pennies than your average seed.


Concerns and Issues

In-game purchases use real money
Viridi is a very clean and sweet game, but the detail that will make it run afoul of parents is that you can purchase virtual items using real money. These microtransactions aren't that expensive, and you can limit spending by restricting the amount of money available to the amount in their Steam wallet, but the idea of buying virtual plants might be uncomfortable just on principle.