After a lengthy early access release on PC VR, Garden of the Sea has now brought its whimsical and peaceful farming adventure over to the Quest 2. It’s a game that’s simply oozing with tranquillity, with the charming locales, peculiar creatures, and soothing gameplay loop sure to give players a change of pace to some of the more manic titles they might have played in their virtual reality headsets.
Check out a gallery of screenshots down below:
Garden of the Sea sees players settling on a delightful island, where they’re able to establish their own little home, do a bit of farming, and venture out across the land and sea in order to help out their fellow citizens (who are cute little creatures, might I add) by completing quests. It’s kinda like a mix of Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley in a way, though it streamlines the different aspects of each game into a simpler and more condensed experience. I don’t mean that in a bad way though, and it certainly suits the virtual reality setup of the game and ensures that Garden of the Sea caters for both young and old audiences.
The most obvious thing about Garden of the Sea from the get-go is that it’s a VERY cute game. The lands themselves are full of vibrant colours that will really make players feel like they’re part of an enchanting and peaceful landscape anyway, but the charming creatures you come across really up the ante with their quirky yet lovable appearances. It was always a treat to encounter the different creatures of the world and help them out in different ways, with the animal-life of each area ensuring that you’ll never feel lonely when playing.
“Players have their own home that they’re able to customise, upgrade, and decorate in the game, with plenty of new options unlocked as they progress to give it that personal touch.”
As far as gameplay is concerned, a lot of your time will be spent exploring the islands and collecting items or farming to grow your own assortment of goodies. Farming is a simple but satisfying process, with players able to use the land around them to sow some seeds and grow some plants or vegetables. Of course, you’ll need to prep it first, though you’ll have all the tools you need to ready the soil, plant the seeds, and water them to keep them growing. There’s a decent selection of seeds at hand to ensure there’s a good variety of things to grow in-game, whilst it’s easy to find yourself in a constant loop of re-organising your farming setup to make it PERFECT for you. It’s something I’ve found myself investing hours in when playing the likes of Stardew Valley, so it was no surprise that I was doing the same thing here… you know, just to keep things organised how I like it.
You’ll need to keep on top of your farming though, especially if you want to complete the different side quests found across the world of Garden of the Sea. The creatures you encounter will often tasks you with little jobs to complete, with each typically requiring the player to have specific items. Whilst a lot of these can simply be found across the world, others will need to be grown by the player or crafted by mixing together ingredients. It lends itself well to the farming gameplay loop and adds a satisfying sense of reward to the process, whilst earning new recipes by completing quests gives players more options when customising their own home.
What, you didn’t think you wouldn’t have a place to sleep, did you? Players have their own home that they’re able to customise, upgrade, and decorate in the game, with plenty of new options unlocked as they progress to give it that personal touch. Whilst Garden of the Sea doesn’t have the expansive variety of décor offered by the likes of Animal Crossing, there are still plenty of options in place to ensure that your home will feel like… well… YOUR home. I can always appreciate having a soothing little living space in a game like this, with it helping make the experience feel more homely and comforting.
“You aren’t restricted to exploring just your own island, with players able to unlock a boat which can be used to venture out across the sea to the other little locales in the game’s luscious archipelago.”
One thing I haven’t touched upon yet is the fact that you aren’t restricted to exploring just your own island, with players able to unlock a boat which can be used to venture out across the sea to the other little locales in the game’s luscious archipelago. Now I love using vehicles in virtual reality anyway, so sailing out in the boat was always fun for me, but it was also nice to discover these new little areas that brought with them their own little quests, biomes, and creatures to encounter. It helps make the whole experience feel more expansive, and whilst the world itself isn’t huge, there’s still plenty to see that gives players a grander sense of discovery. You’ll get to use the things you discover to do more on other islands too, with the player constantly on the move and navigating the waters on their boat as they progress through the game’s story.
Admittedly, it won’t take players too long to complete the quests of Garden of the Sea, with the game’s story easily seen through to its conclusion in just a few hours. The quests themselves are all straightforward in design too, with most just requiring the player to have the right items. Whilst there are some simple puzzle-like sections to complete here and there, it would’ve been nice if there was a little bit more variety on offer just to spice up the experience a bit.
“It can be easy to see everything it has to offer quite quickly if you rush through, but if you take the time to upgrade and decorate your home, expand your farmland, explore your surroundings, and keep the other creatures around you happy, there are PLENTY of hours of fun to be had.”
I think a lot of the lasting charm of Garden of the Sea will come down to embracing its world. It can be easy to see everything it has to offer quite quickly if you rush through, but if you take the time to upgrade and decorate your home, expand your farmland, explore your surroundings, and keep the other creatures around you happy, there are PLENTY of hours of fun to be had. There’s plenty of other little things to get stuck into too, with players able to do a spot of fishing (which is actually really addictive), animal breeding, or even just go around taking photos of their favourite things around each island. Whilst the main questline alone won’t push your imagination too much, there’s a good time to be had simply being creative and just doing what you want in the game. The fact that the game’s music reacts to your actions and changes up based upon what you’re doing is really cool too, giving players their own unique symphony as they embark on their journey. It’s all super charming stuff that offers more than enough incentive to keep players coming back to Garden of the Sea’s wonderful world time and time again.
Garden of the Sea Review
Garden of the Sea is a charming virtual reality escapade that lets players embrace a wonderful world where they can live a creative little life. Whether farming, sailing across the seas, crafting new decor, fishing, or helping out the cute creatures of the world, there’s a really good time to be had establishing your new home.
It would have been nice if there was a little bit more variety to the main questline and a lot of the game’s longevity will come down to how much you want to embrace its lovely world, but it doesn’t stop Garden of the Sea offering a thoroughly enjoyable slice of life experience that feels fresh and unique for the Quest 2.
Developer: Neat Corportation
Publisher: Neat Corporation
Platform(s): Quest 2 (Reviewed), PC VR