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Garden Dash Review

Garden Dash is the latest game in the Dash series of games. It’s a time management title set with the business woman, Barb, from the Diner Dash games – where she turns from a business woman to a gardener. It’s an OK time management title, not too terribly long, but it’s not as polished or fun as the other Dash games. There’s also no endless mode, something the recent Dash games have lacked and we miss terribly.

The story is simple – Barb is overstressed working the corporate grind and is forced to take a vacation. Flo suggests she take up gardening, and being the overachiever she is, she can’t do it half way. She starts gardening and selling plants. There are five zones and fifty levels total (ten in each zone), ranging from a playground to the rooftop of her job. There is a second difficulty unlocked for each zone once a zone has been completed, but the only difference appears to be in making expert impossible to get – really not much of a bonus mode at all.

The game takes after the other Dash games. Each plant has a color and matching colors to planters yields bonuses. In this case, though, we’re not looking at a score we need to achieve. Instead, all the plants requested need to be delivered in a certain amount of time. This is a challenge to get expert mode in a few levels, but generally, fairly easy to do. Seconds are added to the clock for certain accomplishments, like chaining and matching colors, and there’s a power-up that can be activated once a certain number of relax tokens are obtained. Relax tokens are gained by successfully harvesting a plant and have to be manually picked up. They disappear pretty quickly and are very useful, so it requires a little bit of attention to be paid to that aspect. The difference between completing some levels at all in expert time is definitely judicious use of the relax tokens. It adds time to the clock and restores all the hearts on the plants.

As in all Dash games, there’s the opportunity to upgrade each garden in between levels. Some upgrades are useful, like speeding up Barb and the instant soil aerator, but some we hardly ever used, like the restore hearts on a plant spray. The planters themselves can be upgraded with one item, and those range from useful (auto-harvesting or auto-watering) to pretty pointless (music box that is only used on one plant). We did try the music box and it hurt our game, making us revisit those levels and choose another power-up to get expert score. Players also get to periodically choose the types of planters they want to add to the game, from single boxes to ones that hold multiple plants. The instinct might be to go for the big planter, but we discovered that the middle option was usually the smarter one – where it gives multiple plants, but not the most. The more boxes there are, the more relax tokens players can obtain as well.

Garden Dash is not the best Dash game out there. It’s mediocre and after playing through one, we doubt many people will feel compelled to play it again and again, as in other Dash games. The omission yet again of an endless mode disappoints us, because that mode can take an average game and make it great, depending on how the endless mode is implemented. Regardless, it doesn’t matter here because it doesn’t exist at all. Why the Dash games no longer have endless mode boggles our mind. There are trophies available, although earning them is met with little fanfare. Although it’s nice to learn a little more about Barb, Garden Dash lacks any compelling components to make this a must-play. It’s a try it before you buy it title.

Score: 6.5

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