If you’ve ever played the game Flower Garden (see my review here) then you’ll feel right at home with Lorax Garden. And well you should, since Oceanhouse Media recruited the fine folks that developed Flower Garden to bring this particular tale of Dr. Seuss to electronic life. I rather enjoyed Flower Garden, and personally I think Lorax Garden one-ups that product by feeling a bit more like an actual game. I’d still call it more of a simulation, but it’s entertaining, it’s good for kids, and it might just be the best non-ebook Dr. Seuss product on the iPhone to date.
The Truffula tree forests have been decimated, and it’s up to you to help the Lorax regrow them to their former glory. To accomplish this you must raise trees and plants using the intuitive interface designed for Flower Garden. At the bottom of the screen you have a pot, and at the top of the screen is a water meter controlled by a watering pot. When working on a tree you’ll fill the meter to the right edge of the green, and then let the tree grow and use up some of that precious liquid.
Growing plants is a bit more complicated. Each plant growing session is timed, so you will only get so many plants per session. The watering meter has an “overwatered” level on the right that you don’t want to reach (it’s yellow in color). Weeds will also sprout up which you must pull by dragging them out of the pot. Weeding is actually kind of fun (within the context of Lorax Garden only), and feels kind of like a mini-game. Any plant grown successfully during a session will earn you a heart that can be used to help grow trees more quickly.
Once a plant growing session is over or a tree is fully bloomed, the foliage will be removed from the greenhouse and relocated to the garden you’re working on. Each garden has its own set of requirements in order to be completed, and you can opt to completely regrow a garden at any time. As the game progresses you’ll earn more types of seeds for plants, as well as unlocking characteristics of the trees that will let you customize them to your will. The one thing I would like to see is the ability to position the plants and trees in the garden yourself, sort of like how Bloomies works.
Lorax Garden looks pretty sweet. At any time you can go back and view any of the gardens you’ve completed, which really look like they came straight from a Dr. Seuss book. When you’re actually in the greenhouse it is fun to watch the plants and trees grow in 3D. The contraption that lets you specify the characteristics of the tree you’re planting also looks like a vintage Dr. Seuss gadget. The sound effects are decent enough, with the gentle patter of rain as you water your foliage and background effects that shift from the howling winds of a deserted landscape to the lively chirps of a populated garden. The only thing missing is some soothing background music.
I’m still not 100% sure I’d classify products like Flower Garden or Lorax Garden as games, but Lorax Garden certainly comes closer in that regards. Whatever the case might be, it’s fun growing plants and Truffula trees, and it’s always nice to see the fruits of your labor as you gaze upon a loving regrown forest. And, if you’ve got kids this would be a great game to play with them.