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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Palm OS games

Plant Tycoon by LDW Software, $14.95
Reviewed November 2003 by Eric Falk

You don’t need a green thumb or a serious passion for plants to play Plant Tycoon. LDW Software, the makers of Plant Tycoon, has raised the bar for the “sim” genre of Palm OS games. I found many reasons to absolutely love this game, and I think you will too.

Plant Tycoon opens with a quick introductory story of 4 magic plants, and sets you on your journey to discover their genetic codes. As you solve each genetic riddle you will gain special enhancements and abilities, which will help you discover the other missing plants. To discover the magic plants, you must crossbreed many varieties and breeds of plants to solve the genetic riddles. To finance your research you will have to sell your discoveries along the way.

The game controls are very easy to learn, and the game is organized in a very intuitive manner. You begin the game in the “main screen” which you can think of as a greenhouse. This is where you pot, water, and cultivates all of your various plants. This main screen is where you will be doing most of your research and discovery as well. You will also pollinate and harvest the plant seeds in this screen. You will also need to take advantage of the “seed” screen, which allows you to carefully organize your seeds and reference the various breeds of plants you are creating. The final screen is the “nursery”. This is where you sell all of your plants that have been harvested. There are many options here as well, I recommend purchasing a fancy water fountain to attract more customers to your store. The more plants you sell in the nursery the more money you make. This allows you to purchase the essential ingredients you’ll need to cultivate your plants such as organic and non-organic insecticides, various soils, and other tools.

The graphics didn’t immediately pop out and wow me. Although I must say that after playing Plant Tycoon quite extensively I began to absolutely love the graphics. What I especially love is the almost infinite combination of plants you can create, all having a unique look from each other. I grew everything from cacti, ferns, and daisies, to very beautiful looking orchids. It is really fun to see what you can create and watch your creations grow before your eyes.

As I mentioned in the beginning, LDW really raised the bar for games in this genre for the Palm OS platform. What I found unique and really loved, although it took a little time to get used to, was that the entire game took place in real-time. Well maybe a little faster, but depending on the speed you set Plant Tycoon to it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours for a plant to grow to full maturity. I would think of Plant Tycoon as a very nice blend of a sims game and a “virtual pet” game.

Hints and Tips

I suggest pausing your game if your not going to check on your plants very often, this will save you many dead plants and much money.  As you begin breeding more delicate varieties of plants, be sure to keep the "radioactive plant food" on hand, as you'll need this to keep the rarer plants healthy for harvesting and selling.  You don't want to run out of seeds or money, so it's also a good idea to keep a little of both in reserve!



screen shot



Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Although the interface design isn’t stunning it is very intuitive and works extremely well. LDW Software has really conquered an amazing feet with the variety of beautiful plant combinations available, your imagination is the only limit to what you can create.
Sound The sound is acceptable, basic beeps!
Fun Meter Plant Tycoon is very simple to play, yet the complexity of this game is truly amazing. It would be difficult to get bored with this game.
Addictivity Ultimately the goal is to solve the 4 genetic riddles and thus find the magic plants. There is so much to get involved with in this game that I believe playing the game is just as fun as actually solving it. This is a game you will want to play over and over.

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