The prince is in a tower somewhere and it's up to the gardener to save him from the seemingly evil (but perhaps misunderstood) magician and confess his love to him. To do so, he must climb up winding vines wrapped around cylindrical towers, which are conveniantly-placed for narrative purposes (the game's words, not mine). The Gardener and the Wild Vines is a game about love, determination, self discovery and being brave in the face of adversity.

The Good

As far as platforming goes, it certainly feels nice and responsive here in The Gardener and the Wild Vines. Your main mode of making your way up the towers is by slashing at flower buds in order to turn them into leaves which act as platforms. If timed right, you can pull off some impressive combos but be careful, become overzealous and you could find yourself falling further than anticipated.

With each tower, there is a lovebird to collect which tend to be situated in more challenging (yet optional) places. Not only that but you also need to free the lovebird from its cage whilst adhering to each tower's rules (i.e. saving the bird within the alloted time, having collected the shiny buds scattered around the tower, etc).

There is some fantastic banter-like humour between The Gardener, The Knight and various other NPCs you come across along the way. As the story progresses, the seemingly two-dimensional characters grow into relatable personas with with heart bigger than the challenges ahead of them. The witty dialogue interactions and the comedic timing is exceptional, resulting in a wide smile on one's face more often than not.

TL;DR

  • Responsive and creative platforming
  • Optional lovebird collectible
  • Relatable characters and dialogue

The Bad

The towers grow increasingly difficult and complex, which is expected of any game, but when they get to the point of not knowing which way is forward and which way backward, it comes to a point where some kind of map (or indicator) could have been helpful.

Boy, can that music be repetitive! This is primarily an issue within its opening world as its pluckiness is cute at first but when you hear the same melody across the area's seven levels, it gets old quick. It does ease up though, I promise.

TL;DR

  • Lacking sense of direction in later levels
  • Repetitive music

Final Score: 9/10

It's funny - you can highly anticipate an upcoming title and it turn out mediocre and then you can find another game that wasn't even a blimp on your radar and be simply dazzled by it - that is my impression with The Gardener and the Wild Vines. This game surprised me in almost every aspect, from its smooth gameplay to its heartwarming story, bolstered by impeccable comedic timing and relatable characters. For something that's going to quietly drop onto the eShop with a seemingly low marketing budget, this game deserves to be talked about; so please, tell your friends!

Thank you for checking out our The Gardener and the Wild Vines switch review, thank you to Kartik Kini for providing the review code and thank you to our $5 and up Patreon Backers for their ongoing support:

For more reading, check out our review of Hermitage: Strange Case Files.