Viridi: A non-review for a non-game
I'm not quite sure what to make of Viridi, the latest project from Ice Water Games. Even as I write these words, I don't know if this is supposed to be a review or just some sort of clever piece of dialogue. What I do know is that, for what it's worth, I've been enjoying the game — er, the experience. I've been enjoying it because it's completely unobtrusive. In fact, it's actually quite Zen. It's always present, doing its thing and contributing to my writing environment without being blatant or distracting.
Here, take this virtual plant, free of charge
So what exactly is Viridi? Well, it's a free-to-play take-care-of-a-plant simulator. Yes, a take-care-of-a-plant simulator. And I mean that in the most direct, straightforward, literal sense. This isn't a game where you toss around a plant in a physics-heavy world. It's not a game where you take on the role of a plant and wield guns to shoot zombies. And it's not an adventure game where you have conversations with various plants and hear their life stories. Viridi is, simply put, a game where you take a plant, put it in a pot, and tend to it. That's it.
When you start, you can select between a few different pots, some of which are nicer than others. I chose a blue one with stars on it, because if I ever decide to have plants of my own (which I probably never will), I'd likely go with something like that. It's worth mentioning, though, there's a rad pot with a sunglasses-wearing cat aptly called the "Cool Cat" pot.
Have a few pennies to spare?
After selecting a pot, you choose your plant from a list of succulents (or fat plants, as I've learned they can also be called thanks to Wikipedia). There are a number of different succulents available for free, but Ice Water Games also threw in some cheaply priced plants. You can purchase a plant for as little as nine cents. Meanwhile the snazziest plant will run you 39 cents, which still isn't all that much. This is completely optional, though, and if you're content with your starter succulent, you don't need to put any money into Viridi.
The most expensive item you can buy is a map that unlocks the Grove, an area previously seen in Ice Water Games' walking simulator, Eidolon. This item will cost you $4.99, and all it does is give you an extra area to put one more pot. For something so basic, the asking price is unappealing. But this is taking into account the fact that Viridi is free. It's up to you if you want to drop a few cents, a few dollars, or no cash at all. You can get what you want out of the game with no restrictions.
Alone with your thoughts, your plant, and a snail
You can water your plant, but be careful not to overwater it, as doing so repeatedly can kill it. If you zoom in to your plant, a message will appear indicating that you're singing to it. I've never heard of people singing to their plants. I've heard of people singing while watering their plants, but never have I heard of someone singing to his or her plants. I suppose that could be a thing, like singing in the shower or repeatedly looking at a clock yet still not knowing what time it is.
You can name your pot, which is nice in a dumb way (I named mine Error, for obvious Zelda II-related reasons). There's also a snail that travels around the pot. You can name this little guy, too (I named mine Kirby, for obvious Kirby-related reasons). If you're so inclined, you can pour water on the snail and sing to that little bugger, too. I mean, if singing to a succulent is a thing in Viridi, why wouldn't singing to a snail be a thing? Whether singing to the plant or snail is correlated to their growth remains to be seen.
That's so zen!
One of the most appealing things about Viridi is its presentation. Visually, the game consists of simple polygonal shapes, but the subdued hues are easy on the eyes and kind of infuse relaxation right into your brain. The fact that the only thing moving independently is a sluggish snail means your eyes won't be traveling all over the place but rather observing things at a leisurely rate.
Musically, Viridi consists of a beautiful albeit small collection of songs. They're all very good and highly pleasant to listen to, so much so that I've been keeping the game running in a separate window while I write this piece. Interestingly, I'm writing this on the Ommwriter word processing app, and the blissful sound effects triggered by my typing on the app combine seamlessly with the soothing soundtrack of Viridi. It's ridiculous how calming and inspiring the whole thing is.
See you tomorrow
As much as I'd like to wrap up this piece — I'm still not certain if it'll be a review — I'm going to call it a day for now. I'll be back tomorrow to finish it up after I've checked on my plant. As of this moment, I've had the game running for nearly two hours in the background. My plant is still in its seedling stage, so I'll find out tomorrow if it's grown some. Here's hoping!
Oh, hi again
A day has passed since I first started Viridi, and my Aloe vera has grown a tad. I checked in on both my succulent and this piece in the morning. I did not, however, sing to this article. I suppose it would be okay to do so, because if you can sing to a plant and a snail, I'm sure you can also sing to a collection of words about a game where you sing to a plant and a snail.
Hey, why don't ya download Viridi?
I've decided this won't be a review. Viridi just isn't the type of game you give a score to. It's worth talking about, but I don't think a score would be appropriate. That said, given it's price tag of $0 and the fact that the game itself is a nice companion, I'd recommend downloading it. Viridi is a nice little take-care-of-a-plant simulator that comes with a few bells and whistles, namely a serene soundtrack that's great to listen to while you do other things on your computer and a snail that you can give a name to.