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Gardening Mama review

Mama always said I'd make a good ditch-digger!


  • Nice change of scenery
  • Lot of customization options
  • Multiplayer actually a blast


  • Same ol' gameplay
  • Horrible looping MIDI music
  • Oedipal overtones

The Cooking Mama series sprung up around the beginning of the DS%26rsquo;s lifespan, when folks were still pretty wowed by the DS%26rsquo;s touch screen. They didn%26rsquo;t mind that the Cooking Mama games consisted of little more than simple minigame challenges strung together under a cooking theme. But now that the DS and Wii markets are oversaturated with novelty minigame compilations, well, Mama%26rsquo;s got to get out of the kitchen and learn herself some new skills. Like farming, apparently.

So we have Gardening Mama: a new take on the franchise that replaces vegetable-chopping with branch-pruning, salt-shaking with soil-spreading, and dropping vinegar into a beaker with%26hellip; dropping plant food into a beaker.

If you%26rsquo;re looking for a new way to play your DS, this isn%26rsquo;t it. However, to the game%26rsquo;s credit, the new eco-friendly gardening setting feels different enough to remain interesting, and the types of challenges (tap, flick, draw, blow into the mic while looking like a moron, etc) are varied enough that it%26rsquo;s never unbearable. All that said, if you%26rsquo;re the type of gamer who loses interest when you realize you%26rsquo;re doing the same actions you%26rsquo;ve done thousands of times before, or who would like an actual point to all of this, maybe even a story, you can just take that attitude elsewhere. Mama%26rsquo;s got nothing for you.

A map screen allows Mama to teleport to different areas of the garden, but as an alternative to the simple %26ldquo;pick-a-recipe, get cookin%26rsquo;,%26rdquo; it doesn%26rsquo;t add much. As in Cooking Mama 2, you can play multiplayer challenges with friends even with only one cart, and you%26rsquo;ll be surprised by how competitive you%26rsquo;ll become even in seemingly useless contests like who can blow clouds out of the sky faster. As advertised on the back of the box, you can also %26ldquo;decorate your garden and dress up Mama to your liking!%26rdquo;


Read that last bit again. %26ldquo;Dress up Mama to your liking?%26rdquo; Has there ever been a creepier, more Freudian feature in any game, ever? No, we do NOT want to put cute clothes on Mama. Never mind the fact that she%26rsquo;s just a floating anime head with stub-arms; she%26rsquo;s our Mama. Woman cooks our meals, for cryin%26rsquo; out loud.

Apr 6, 2009

More Info

Description<p>Fun multiplayer but same ol' gameplay with a nice change of scenery.</p>
Franchise nameCooking Mama
UK franchise nameCooking Mama
US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating
Release date:31 March 2009 (US), (UK)
Available platforms:DS
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