Gardening Mama: Forest Friends Review

by on March 3, 2015
Reviewed On
Release Date

6th March 2015


Mama’s smile is contagious; it’s hard not to smile back when she beams at you despite the fact it takes up half of her face. Here in Gardening Mama you’re tasked with maintaining Mama’s garden., Mama herself doesn’t participate in anything except to tot up your points at the end of each day. This means that you don’t actually get to see Mama that often, but when you do, she’s always there, smiling.

Mama’s lack of presence within Forest Friends means that Majesco have had to create other characters to fill in the void that she leaves, so, in her place you have a cast of cute and cuddly animal shop attendants, but also a set of dead- eyed demanding human gardeners who request your help at least once a day. This means that outside of tending your garden there is a considerable personality vacuum, unless you are fulfilling a shopkeeper request that is.

The basics here are that you have a garden of your own, in which you plant flowers, fruit and vegetables. From here you get requests from animals that live in a neighbouring wood clearing who want you to provide stock for their businesses. So, once you’ve grown the required produce you hand it over and the shop gets lots of customers. In return for this, the shopkeepers give you tickets which are used to purchase garden decorations from a separate store accessed from the right hand side of your own garden.

Each day you’ll get a request to go and help someone else in their produce pursuits. Accepting these requests sees you sent via one of a few modes of transport to somewhere else to help some lazy good-for-nothing – with phoned-in voice acting – who can’t be bothered to do their own work. This takes on the usual Mama-style of mini game involving a particular item you can grow. Succeed and you will be given seeds for that item to grow in your garden; fail, and you can try again until you’ve gotten 100 points, where you’ll gain the item anyway. It should be noted that a perfect score of 100 doesn’t have to be attained to be rewarded, as two separate scores via a retry will suffice providing they add up to 100 or over. Like in sister title, Cooking Mama, the inputs themselves are imprecise, with many not registering correctly or at all, making some of these frustrating affairs. Once you manage to complete them you’re free to play them whenever you like via the “Help out” section of the main menu.

It’s kind of imperative that you do these, as you can’t grow new items in your garden until you’ve unlocked them, and once you’ve gotten them you’ll frequently get a request for them from one of your shopkeeper buddies. This means you’ll get into a routine of doing the gardening request, coming back, planting, watering your plants, picking anything that’s grown, fulfilling requests and then moving onto the next day. It’s a good idea to get things planted ASAP as the sooner you fulfill the shopkeeper requests the more customers they have, and the more tickets you get to spend on decorations.

Your routine can be disturbed every now and then by a “crisis” in the garden. By this I mean something easily solved in a 30-second mini-game. For example: you’ll have a plant that is wilting for some reason and after a quick spruce it’ll be right as rain and ready to be picked. Alternatively, you might find your garden infested with mushrooms that need to be removed. This has a dual purpose, as picked mushrooms can also be demanded by the shopkeepers, killing two birds with one stone.

And, well, that’s it. Gardening Mama: Forest Friends isn’t really big on features, which makes it quite disappointing. It’s a mini-game collection with a gardening theme. While it’s nice enough to do the tasks and see your garden grow, progress is a rather slow affair. The lack of Mama in the helping out parts really hits home with the dull throwaway characters whose lines are delivered in such a deadpan way that you begin to wish them considerable harm.

When something like Animal Crossing exists, it’s pretty much impossible to recommend Gardening Mama: Forest Friends at all. Animal Crossing has so much more personality and content. Mama may always be smiling, but you’ll be wishing you were talking to Tom Nook instead.

Review code provided by publisher.

Kids will get some enjoyment
Easy to pick up


Light on things to do
Touch inputs are imprecise
Lacking any real personality

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

After a bright start Gardening Mama’s irritating faults will have you wanting to throw in the trowel.