In the past few years a fascinating genre known as “clickers” have become increasingly popular. The interesting thing about this genre is how self-aware they are, regarding their lack of depth. Clickers are often openly shallow in terms of mechanics and decisions. But for what they lack in terms of classical games design, good clickers make up for in pure satisfaction and mind-numbing relaxation.
Platera has you planting crops, trees, taking care of animals in the goal making money to do more of the same. The spritely music makes you instantly feel at ease, giving you the impression that any form of threat thrown your way won’t be very stressful, or much to worry about. Carrots will be the first crop you plant, once a carrot has grown clicking on it will make it pop out of the ground, one more click and it’ll disappear giving you some cash. You’ll be craving the satisfying pop and the jingle of cash that tickles your brain. You are also aided by a small blue automated helper that will also harvest your crops, albeit at a much slower rate. With every bit of money you make a meter will increase, leveling you up, giving you a larger selection of crops that will give you a much higher profit.
Platera presents itself in a rather clever way, not once did it give me an explicit tutorial. Tool tips don’t contain text either, merely a few pictures, anyone could play this game and figure it out for themselves. While it doesn’t take many brain cells to figure it out, it gives you a nice illusion, making me feel clever, a simple example of the perfect tutorial. Within half an hour you’ll have a thriving garden, apples dropping from trees left right and centre. You’ll never be left twiddling your thumbs with the sheer abundance of crops that get generated. There is certainly a joyous mania about it.
As you progress you’ll have to fend your farm from a number of critters. Small bunny rabbits will hop their way on-screen with the only desire to steal your carrots. Birds will target your fruit-trees from the sky, foxes and wolves will prowl after your livestock too. They can all be deterred by a few clicks, but none of them will do any long-lasting damage to your garden, even the predators. After you make some progress you’ll be able to fend off these “pests” automatically with the use of scarecrows or guard dogs.
After an hour or two, you will have undoubtedly unlocked everything Plantera has to offer. It quite literally doesn’t require any skill to play it, but the game is well aware of this. Varagtp have made a game that doesn’t demand much of you, and that’s why it’s enjoyable. With so many “hardcore” games such as Dark Souls or The Binding of Isaac demanding your full attention it’s nice to catch a break. Plantera gives you a choice of either relaxedly soaking up the bouncy atmosphere or frantically clicking on every cabbage, orange or beetroot that you see with no adverse consequences when you miss a pest.
Clickers walk a fine line, their incredibly simple nature could easily land them a very unsatisfactory experience. The cutesy graphics, gorgeous soundtrack and punchy sound effects ensures you this isn’t a waste of time. A few more crops and upgrades would be nice, but with the cheap price tag you can’t really go wrong. I couldn’t tell you if this game will remain memorable, but a few players will be keen to chase after the numerous steam achievements, and I certainly enjoyed my time with it.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary PC code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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