PocketPlants – A Fitness Focussed Game That Plays Like Junk Food

Smoothly integrating the addictive, by-appointment gameplay of a Farmville clone and mixing it with the feel good obligation of a Fitbit. PocketPlants is satisfying, in the short term.
 
Game Name: PocketPlants
Platform(s): Android, iOS
Publisher(s): Kongregate
Developer(s): Shikudo
Release Date: 10 March
Price: Free
 
 
While the cutesy art style and eco-friendly message may help grab some attention, the big novelty of PocketPlants are the ‘Steps’. Using the phone’s pedometer (or a linked FitBit) your real world exercise can be used to buy in-game resources. 
 

There’s never as many steps as you expect…

As far as gaming gimmicks go this one is pretty harmless. I even found myself walking a little more than usual when I was short rubies. Overall however it doesn’t drastically change the game and feels a little like a premium currency I didn’t have to pay for.
 
Most of the gameplay involves waiting for timers to tick down; waiting for research to finish, a resident to return from an adventure, your plants to grow so you can fulfill an order or waiting for two existing plants to merge.
 

Each plant is visibly different from the others.

 I know these kind of games tend to rely on long wait times to encourage microtransactions, but once you have set all the timers there really isn’t anything to do except close the game and play something else. Progress is reliant on you consistantly playing five minute bursts every hour or so, more of a snack than a full meal.
 
Planting seeds is free, but merging existing plants into new species helps to clean up the environment, opening up space for more plants and eventually opening up new levels. After a while the cost to merge plants became ridiculous, requiring several of these snack sessions for each of the 17 plant unlocks per world.
 

You can always pay rubies to accelerate your progress.

 The bright colours and chipper sounds are fun to experience and each plant is given a funny little name and different sprite that makes them immediately recognisable.
 
The ‘steps’ mechanic is frankly brilliant, and helping to tidy up and bring life back to a dirty and damaged world is really satisfying. I only wish PocketPlants had a little more to engage the player beyond a checklist of quests and saving up for my next plant merge. Something solid to tide me over between sessions instead of a quick hit that has me hungry 5 minutes later.
 
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Great presentation, a little hollow...

Summary

Pros:
 
– Real life exercise as currency
– The world feels real and enjoyable
– Gameplay as satisfying as popping bubblewrap
 
Cons:
 
– Repetitive 
– Not very well balanced
– No active game mechanics
 
  • Great presentation, but a little hollow...
Overall
3.5

About The Author

Luke Jimenez

An Aussie gamer and father of 3, Luke is as passionate as he is time-poor and eloquent as he is sleep-deprived. Mobile gaming has become a platform for unique and experimental ideas on the go and Luke is determined to prove it.