Sprouts Adventure is the latest in the increasingly long line of casual sim games made famous by Virtual Villagers, Totem Tribe, My Tribe, etc. This one separates itself from the pack by clearing away the bloat to leave a streamlined experience behind. Sprouts Adventure gives you a clear, goal-oriented simulation that meters out its rewards at a careful pace, ensuring you are never overwhelmed with choices and fully appreciate each new upgrade you get to use.
Sprouts Adventure is all about the little sprouts and their daily life of eating flowers, taking naps, and building things around their tiny village. As an unseen guardian, it's your job to make sure each sprout is well-fed and well-rested while pushing them to work on new buildings whenever possible. If a sprout gets hungry, drop him or her onto the garden patch and listen to them munch away. Sleepy sprouts need some time in the nap hut, while unmotivated/incurious sprouts could use a little recreation.
The game is paced by village improvements that become available one brainstorm at a time. With each new building you gain another tool that helps you keep your increasingly large flock of sprouts healthy. Beyond each critter's personal needs, your only concern is keeping as many workers hammering away at unfinished buildings as you can. The rest is up to the slow passage of time.
As the silent overseer, you have access to spells that can be used in several ways. Wind, for example, can perk a sleepy sprout up and give him or her a few extra minutes of awake time. But what would happen if you used wind on that kite? The sun spell helps your garden grow, but don't you think it would warm chilly things up, too? Spells are unlocked by collecting karma points gained from nabbing butterflies and stones that appear from time to time. Certain events also bestow karma points, so explore every inch of this little world and never pass up a chance to gain a few more!
Random items appear from time to time around the village, such as butterflies, clumps of flowers, and shiny stones. Simply drag a sprout to these items to collect them, netting that character a few curiosity/motivation points, some food, or better yet, karma points for you.
Analysis: At first glance, there isn't very much to do in Sprouts Adventure. It's a stark game, especially for the first few hours of play, but after an hour or two that starts to change. This simplicity forces you to do two things: investigate the world around you, and take frequent breaks. Sprouts Adventure is a casual game built for the casualest of casual players. Pick up and play, set it down and walk away, and don't worry about anything other than keeping your sprouts happy.
One of the most endearing parts of this game are the little easter eggs you uncover just by using your sprouts on different parts of the landscape or by playing around with spells. That bridge has one obvious function, but that doesn't mean there aren't recreational uses for it, too. Sprouts Adventure rewards inquisitive players who aren't afraid to play around with their game, and because there aren't any stats to manage or technology trees to fudge, you are more than encouraged to mess around with the world.
New discoveries, buildings and events are sparse, but that rarity makes them a prized commodity. You feel like you earn every spell, every structure, and every happy sprout, and once things get rolling halfway through the game, you'll have plenty of things to keep you busy. Sprouts Adventure is the simulation game for casual gamers who are serious about being casual.