Cloud Gardens early access game review

Cloud Gardens

Developed by Thomas Van Den Berg

Published: NOIO

Platform: PC/ Mac

Genre: Puzzle

Head in the Clouds

I was not sure what to expect when I sat down to play Cloud Gardens. But what I experienced was a calm, quiet and frankly nourishing time.

In Cloud Gardens players use plants to overgrown abandoned chunks of wasteland. There is a linear campaign players can follow and a sandbox mode ideal for just building these dioramas and snapping photos. I played Cloud Gardens whilst still in early access and encountered very few issues. It ran well, was clear in its instructions and is just really enjoyable.

Reclaim the world

Players are invited to twist turn and examine these platforms, referred to as dioramas, before choosing where to plant seeds. Once the foliage has begun to take hold I was drawn in and totally focused on the task at hand. A lot of what I think drew me into Cloud Garden was the combination of the brutalist landscapes and nature. I am always a sucker for civilisation being reclaimed by nature- see my love for Horizon Zero Dawn and The Last of Us. It’s that idea of nature, these plants, vines and trees that existed before us, will continue long after us.

Road sign covered in vines, with crows in the foreground

Cloud Gardens is not without challenges

What comes with completing each level is a distinct sense of satisfaction. Playing through the campaign, there is a degree of balancing/ problem solving to do. Some solutions reveal themselves quicker than others and some will have you questioning everything you thought you knew about gardening!

ruins of a green house, flowers and trees grow up the building on a gradient background

A plant god

Still in early access with no release date as yet, Cloud Gardens is the perfect balm for the current stress and strains. Currently, 3 or the 6 levels in the campaign are playable and I heartily recommend you just get stuck in and let the lo-fi vibe wash over you. Do what I did, imagine you’re some sort of plant god restoring the world, as a group of crows watch over you.

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