Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Gardenscapes/Homescapes - Are They Worth Clicking On?

Disclaimer: Once again this is not a sponsored article. This is just the opinions of an internet troll who has nothing better to do with his free time than review free-to-play games on his phone. 

Question: Have you seen this man popping up on your ads? Usually in some sort of peril?

This is Austin. He is the star and mascot of Gardenscapes and Homescapes, heretofore known as the Scapes games for sake of simplicity. The ads usually have Austin swimming away from sharks or in the middle of a home improvement disaster and is asking you to pick the correct tools to help him.

Spoiler alert: That's not what the game is about.

The Core Gameplay

The Scapes games at their core are a hybrid of Bejeweled and The Sims, where you do color matching games which in some way help Austin with whatever home improvement task he has for you, afterwards you get to choose ether the color or style of whatever piece of furniture he was working on. The idea is that as you play you get to build your own customized house, to a point, and say that it was your creation. All good in theory, but theory was once that hippopotamuses were amphibians and that if humans traveled more than 50 miles per hour their heads would explode. Theory is not a sure thing.

While the Sims comparison is relatively accurate, you only get three options per design choice, all of which are just variations on things you'd find in your standard RC Willy. The aspect of true customization is only an elaborate scoreboard and a flimsy context for why you're matching colors.

Where They Get You

As simplistic as everything sounds the color matching games are actually extremely difficult, starting at around a level 60 level in any other game and ramping up from there. The game graciously gifts you with some tools, like rockets that clear out entire rows and bombs that wipe out sections, again with no connection to home repair unless you use C-4 in reupholstering and I didn't know about it, in which case I am in the wrong profession, but I digress.

Of course you can earn these handy tools in the game through coins and lotteries the game has, but the number they give you is woefully inadequate considering the difficulty. They will however be happy to give you more explosives if you just give them some real life money, and there we see the catch. The goal is to get you frustrated enough that you buy a power up, then another, then you're hooked.

The Verdict

In case you didn't get it from my subtext, the Scapes games are not worth clicking on. Starting with the false advertising and following through with them trying to frustrate the user base into spending money, the game is just not very good. If you've been wondering about the ads, know for sure, here, that the Scapes games are not something you want to try.

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