Plant Tycoon puts you to the task of planting seeds, growing plants of over 500 different species, and discovering the genetic secrets behind 6 magic plants that will make you rich! Become a master horticulturalist as you pollinate adult plants to produce seeds, and even cross pollinate your plants with other species to discover new and rare varieties.
Each game simulates the growth process in real-time with your plants blooming right before your eyes(!), and maturing even when the game is not running. Earn money by pricing your plants and making them available for sale at the Nursery where customers come to browse your prize creations. Use that money to purchase a wide variety of supplies, upgrades and even rare and extinct seeds.
Time control in this game provides four different settings: slow, normal, fast, and stop time. The game defaults to fast time initially since you will likely want to see results immediately. However, you should probably reduce that setting to slow overnight—or to even stop time altogether—or you may wind up with some dead plants the next time you play. Fortunately, only the plants you have growing are suseptible to time; all your seeds remain untouched and safe in the seed box(es) until you're ready to plant them. Pressing the [space bar] toggles time between "stop time" and the setting you choose (slow, normal, or fast). Be sure to look in the Options menu if you wish to change it from its default setting.
There are even a couple of optional activities in this game to discover including bug collecting and sharing snapshots of your favorite plants with your friends. Collecting bugs can even earn you precious money to help you get started by catching bugs you already have in your collection.
Hints and tips:
- Start off by growing all the seeds you are given, along with all the common seed varieties available for purchase. Use these as your base to find the more expensive plants.
- Note the sale price of each variety you grow to find the varieties that can yield more money for you, and focus early efforts on those. This is particularly important to build your bank so you can afford the upgrades necessary to get you further in the game.
- Upgrade your soil as soon as you can since the basic soil will grow only the most common plant varieties. The rare and exotic varieties lose health quickly when grown in common soil.
- Don't waste money on insecticides for the early plants. It's probably better to trash the common varieties than to spend more money than they are worth on a cure.
Analysis: I have been enjoying this game very much. I especially like trying to figure out the cross-pollination sequences required to get to the rare and exotic plants. The attention to detail in the plants grown from seed is incredible. Even plants from the same seed will appear different, as each plant is grown dynamically, and thus with variation. Also, each plant can be pruned right down to its individual leaves and stems. Some supplies can make plants grow and bloom more than usual as well.
Unlike the previously reviewed Alice Greenfingers, Plant Tycoon takes a much more precise approach to growing plants and this may actually turn off those who require a bit more action-oriented gameplay. Since the game is a "real-time" simulation, growing your plants takes "real" time—unless you have available the super effective (and super expensive) Insta-Grow, which super-accelerates plant growth. This is where the time-control settings should be used to your best advantage.
What this game needs is a master blueprint or in-game spreadsheet of some kind that the player can fill out as they progress with mapping out all the different varieties. I've found myself taking extensive notes outside the game, which indicates a shortcoming in the game: the tools it provides are constraining and leaves me wanting more from them.
If you enjoyed Alice Greenfingers but were wishing for something with a bit more depth, then Plant Tycoon may be just what you're looking for. Unfortunately, the 1-hour time-limited demo gives you only enough time to just scratch the surface of this amazingly deep game, and it will keep you wanting more like parched soil for a good watering.