With the game launching later today on PSN, it’s time for us to tell you how this quirky experience works and why we’re so excited to bring it to the PS3. As mentioned in previous articles, The UnderGarden is not a typical game. If you’ve been following some of the screenshots and trailers, you may be wondering exactly how The UnderGarden works. “There’s this little guy floating around, flowers are growing all around him, and he seems obsessed with glowing fruits … oh look, a giant wheel!”… Yes, it wouldn’t make much sense to us either! Let me try to explain.
The UnderGarden is about exploration. When you first jump in, the world is dark and there doesn’t seem too much in the way of life, but you can change this! The first thing you will want to do is grow some flowers, and for that you’ll need to collect pollen. There are pollen sacks scattered about the caves, and by bumping into them you can collect their pollen particles. The amount of pollen you have is shown at the bottom of the screen.
Now it’s time to start adding color to the world. As you float near the edges of the caverns, plants will sprout up around you, each adding color and different musical melodies. The plants aren’t just for looks — some of them can grow fruit. You’ll want to harvest these, and to do so, you need to get close and pull them off. To grab fruit, just hold down the “grab” button (square), which causes a bubble to form around you, and anything inside the bubble gets tethered to your character. To release fruit, you simply tap the same button. Aside from grabbing and releasing, there is also a light boost to help you pull things along, and a warp to bring you back to the last checkpoint or exit an area.
Back to our level. One of the first areas is blocked by a large stone gate, and there’s a small switch nearby that needs to be pushed down. Your character is too small, but this is where those orange fruit come in. If you gather up enough and release it on top of the switch, this will cause the gate to open and get you to the next section. There are several different types of fruit that do different things, and more appear in the later levels.
The puzzles also get a little more involved than the simple example above. In later levels, wind or fog present challenges, and some of the plants and creatures take on a more active role in your journey. There are other things to do as well: special crystals and bonus flowers are hidden throughout the world, and different hats and costumes will be unlocked as you play, allowing you to change how your little guy looks. Taking a break from playing a shooter? You might feel at home in a flak helmet, although we left out the M-16…or did we? Make flowers, not war…
Then there are the musicians, who are scattered about the levels and play different instruments. As you fly near them, you’ll hear the music change. Try taking some of them along for the ride! As you do this, you’ll add different layers to the music, and even see flowers start to change as you progress.
Now that we’ve talked about how the game works, you may be wondering “But what is the Undergarden really about“? For that, you will need to use your imagination. Are you underwater, or somewhere else? What happens when I bring everything to life? What does this all mean? We hint at something by the end, but we expect you to come to your own conclusion. We’re eager to hear what you come up with!
So how can you get the most of this game? Turn out the lights, get comfortable, turn up the sound and just start playing. Have a significant other join in for some co-op, and decorate the world as you solve the puzzles. Hey, even if you don’t quite figure it all out, we hope you’ll at least say “I don’t know what this place is, but I’m pretty sure I want to go back!”
We hope you enjoy what we’ve tried to do with The UnderGarden. We had fun making it for you! Give it a shot, and enjoy the sights and sounds as you travel around exploring everything in the world. Don’t forget to write… !