The Undergarden recently hit Xbox Live Arcade from Atari. For those unfamiliar with this title it is a very peaceful and serene experience. It is a puzzle exploration game where you are in an underground world and you have to explore and pollinate all of the flora. As you progress through the game you will see the world come to life and see it evolve before your eyes depending on what you are doing. If you pick up a musician and carry him with you than the flora will respond differently than if you were by yourself. Atari is marketing this title as â€œa peaceful alternative to hardcore titlesâ€. If you are tired of shooting zombies in Call of Duty then you can come and enjoy the Undergardenâ€™s peace and tranquility.
As you progress through the game you will find increasingly difficult physics based puzzles where you have to use the environment around you to open up the path so you can progress. It might be as simple as standing on a wheel and making it turn so that a door can open or maybe you have to use some fruit to add some weight to a lever so it will stay pushed down. One of the main things that you will do in this game is pollinate all of the flora. You accomplish this by hitting the pollen sacks you will see laying around and then gathering as much pollen as you can. As you float by undeveloped flora you will see it react to the pollen you have and you will see the environment come alive. The Undergarden also features local two player co-op so that you can relax with a friend and enjoy going through the 14 stages that the Undergarden has to offer. There are also leaderboards so that you can see what kind of scores your friends are getting on any particular stage. If you are a competitive person this could definitely help to extend the replayability of this title as you try to figure out what you missed out on and why your friend has a higher score.
Overall, the Undergarden is a breath of fresh air. Itâ€™s a fantastic puzzler that achieves what it set out to do. It is completely different than anything else coming out this holiday season and, hopefully, people will pick it up or, at the very least, try out the demo that is available. This is a title for both the hardcore and casual alike as both groups of people will get something different out of this title. Casual gamers will get a very mellow game with great looking environments that look even better as you pollinate more flora. Hardcore gamers will get that as well but will also have the competitive aspect of trying to get to the top of a leaderboard in any given level. There are a ton of games that are either coming out or have just been recently released, however, be sure to give this one a try as well. After spending a while shooting zombies, assassinating people or being the ruler of a kingdom, the Undergarden offers a fantastic, tranquil experience that will have you keep coming back for more.