Tend a cozy garden and stave off corruption, with the help of some cool gnomes, in Horticular

 A pixel art garden from videogame HOrticular.
Credit: inDirection Games

A pleasant new game about gardening is on the way out this week, with the gnomes of Horticular asking you to revitalize a wasteland into a nicely-sculpted ecosystem of plants and animals that can stand up to the decay of the corrupted world around it. The little game is an indie with some real scope to it for such a simple premise, giving you all kinds of aesthetic and magical tools to tweak your landscape and bring in inhabitants like new animals, plants, and eventually housing for the various gnomes that will aid your cause.

Horticular is a strange little game and a hard one to categorize, with the publisher describing it as somewhere between Rollercoaster Tycoon and Viva Pinata. I think that's pretty reasonable, as there's strategy here but not particularly tough stuff to tackle... unless you're chasing the most optimal layouts and cleverest garden features while still aiming for aesthetic beauty.

When Horticular launches on July 11 it'll have a full campaign story to play through with three difficulties and a sandbox mode with three difficulties of its own. It'll have controller support, work on the Steam Deck, and include modding support with Steam Workshop.

We first got a real look at Horticular almost exactly a year ago, with its first demo. The game's come a long way since then, and a lot of the more pointlessly fiddly features have been streamlined out into something quite nice. There's still a demo to try, and you can get quite a lot of time from it, if you're interested.

Horticular is developed by Robert Kaufman, a Swedish indie, and published by UK-based Slug Disco Studios. You can find Horticular on Steam, where it's set to release on July 11, 2024, and on horticulargame.com.