Developer: Digital Melody Games
Publisher: Ultimate Games
Genre(s): Adventure, Lifestyle, Puzzle
Platform: Switch (Also available on iOS)
Age Rating: PEGI 3
Release Date: 04/06/2021
A code was provided for review purposes
Save the World
With a potential climate crisis well underway, one game has made it its mission to highlight the importance of the natural world. Is Nature Matters a healthy addition to your gaming collection, or will it just pollute an already-bloated games store?
A Healthy Crop
In Nature Matters, you take on the role of a nature spirit who’s seeking out the boy who used to care for her when she was a flower. Unfortunately, the world is being taken over by vast cityscapes, and consequently, the planet is dying.
It’s your job to explore the four different seasons and bring plant life back to a dry and empty world. In terms of gameplay, you need to travel to all the squares on a given board to restore the plant life on each. However, you cannot travel over squares that you have already visited.
As the game goes on, other features are dropped into the mix, like lowering raised sections of the map, or squares that need to be crossed twice to be restored.
The organic way the game mechanics are introduced is nicely done, and the difficulty ramps up at a sensible pace. Solving puzzles is generally a satisfying experience, and the game offers the ability to skip stages if you do find yourself getting stuck.
On the store page, the team declare their intention to make people more aware of threats to the environment. It’s certainly a noble mission, though there’s not really all that much here to challenge perspectives or inform players. The story follows a simple path where the spirit finds that the boy has become callous and even dangerous as a result of his urban environment, but there’s little nuance to it beyond that.
I also feel like squares becoming impossible to cross once they’ve been restored is somewhat at odds with the theme of the importance of bringing back nature, but maybe that’s just me…
While there are some minor changes as you explore the different seasons, each stage looks essentially the same. There’s also only one type of puzzle. If you’re after a varied experience, you may want to try something like Good Job instead (check out our review here).
The controls are generally smooth, though I did have a few issues with the sensitivity at times, with my spirit overshooting squares if I tried to move several spaces in one go. This mostly didn’t impact my experience, though, as restarting stages is quick and painless.
Clearing the Weeds
Overall, I feel it’s worth playing, but at the same time, it’s fairly limited. That being said, Nature Matters is not an expensive game, and there’s an Endless Mode alongside the main story.
The visuals and music come together to create a soothing and magical ambience. Certainly, for the first couple of seasons of Story Mode, it’s a good way to relax and unwind. Towards the end, as the puzzles become a bit more tricky, your mileage in that regard may vary…
If you’re looking for a relaxing way to spend an evening, Nature Matters is a nice game with smart design.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can purchase Nature Matters on the Nintendo eShop.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.