If there’s anything inherently more boring than watching paint dry, it’s watching plants grow. You water them, they grow. You leave them alone, they grow. So why has Viridi, a game that’s about watching plants grow in real time, picked up thousands of positive reviews on Steam since it was released last summer?
It might just be that good.
Viridi is exactly what it looks like: a game about planting succulents and growing them in real time. You water them when they need watering. You pluck out any stray weeds. You watch the snail that hangs out with your plants. And then you wait, resisting the urge to water them again too soon. As any plant owner knows, overwatering can be just as bad as underwatering.
It’s free to play, assuming you can live with the settings and seedlings you start with. Once a week, you get a single additional seedling to plant for free. You can buy more. You can also buy an extra pot (with its own backdrop and soundtrack) and get a third if you own Eidolon, also by Ice Water Games.
The joy of Viridi is the joy of routine. Whether you check back once a day or leave the game sitting on your desktop while you do other things, it provides a pleasant accompaniment to your day. Its soundtrack is soothing, it demands very little–it’s just there to keep you company and give you a reason to check back every so often.
Viridi’s community is even a cheerful change of pace. Players trade plants freely. Some post pictures of their own real life succulents and gardens. The biggest complaint is that a couple of the game’s achievements require you to get rid of plants, and some players simply can’t bear to do that.
After all, it’s easy to get attached to something you’ve helped grow–even if it’s just a virtual plant.