Game Review: Strange Horticulture by Bad Viking


Strange Horticulture is a chill, magical, plant-filled game with puzzles, narrative, and choices. Play as the owner of a plant shop, identify plants, solve puzzles, and make decisions about dangerous occult happenings that affect the outcome of the story.

Strange Horticulture - Promo image showing an older woman, a black cat, and a bunch of potted plants.

Official Description:

Welcome to Undermere, a quaint town surrounded by hag-infested forests and rugged mountains. You are the Horticulturist, owner of local plant store Strange Horticulture. As a cast of colorful customers come by your shop, you are quickly thrust into an occult mystery stretching back hundreds of years.

Explore the lands beyond your store to find new plants, but be careful! The dark woods and lakes are not always friendly to a simple herbalist. You might discover powers beyond your wildest dreams – or lose your mind completely. Use context clues to determine which places to visit, and which to avoid!

Using your trusty encyclopedia and clues found on your explorations, you learn more about the strange plants you come across. By identifying each plant, you will be able to use their effects to influence the story — from hypnotic hallucinogens to powerful poisons.

More Info:

You can get more info and download the game on Steam and the official website

Long Review:

I enjoyed this chill, witchy, magical, plant-filled game! (Ok, it feels a bit weird saying this was chill and magical when it actually gets quite dark, especially in some endings, but the gameplay is chill, and there’s magical sort of stuff happening, so *shrug*)

I loved how organic the gameplay felt. You can move items around on your desk. You can put things into the little side drawer. You can label plants and type out the labels yourself. To solve the puzzles, you actually have to read letters, look at the map and find locations, use tools, etc. Occasionally you have to find a plant, but the game doesn’t tell you the name, just a quality of it, or a use for it, or a nickname, and you have to look through the entries in the identification book. (I’d actually have liked if the game worked this way more often, since most of the time, when it came to giving plants to customers, you were told the name of the plant you needed. That’s a small gripe though, not an actual problem.)

Speaking of which, there was so much detail and thought in all the plants, and that added a lot to the vibes and fun of the game. Each one has an entry in the identification book that explains what it can be used for, if it’s dangerous, lore attached to it, or whatever is relevant.

There’s a narrative element too, a plotline about occult happenings and murders. You get to make a few decisions in the game that determine what ending you get. And what I loved about this was that 1) the choices felt like a natural part of the story and made sense as something your character could and would do (depending on what kinda person you wanna be), 2) the choices actually had an impact, and 3) the impact made sense (for the most part, though one character does act pretty differently for no apparent reason in some endings). I also like that you get not only an ending but a brief explanation of how things pan out for some of the important characters in the story.

The art is lovely, especially all the plants! The plants are just so pretty. And there are so many of them, all unique! (I know I keep talking about the plants, but that’s, like, the main thing of the game, so it’d be weird if they weren’t really great.)

The music is ambient and sort of sad. I think just one song throughout, except for near the very end to match the intensity of the story. Nice ambience though.

It took me about 6.5 hours to finish my first playthrough. It took me 9 hours to get all the endings, with the help of a guide (so that I didn’t have to solve puzzles and identify plants all over again) and the advice on this site for how to get all the endings with essentially one playthrough, using the auto-generated save points. I’m glad I did my first playthrough without looking at a guide though because I enjoyed seeing what ending I got and what consequences my choices had before I knew anything.

Overall, I enjoyed the art, the puzzles, the choices, the story, and all the lovingly crafted plants in this chill little game.

*Source/Cost: I purchased this on sale for $10.49 on Steam.*

Screenshot from Strange Horticulture showing a notification of a new plant identified, named trimblehuff. It has a bunch of flowers that look like little blue cups. Behind the notification is a bunch more potted plants on shelves and a window for customers with a black cat sitting on the counter.

Short Review:

– Really organic-feeling gameplay/puzzle element
– Interesting narrative about occult happenings and murders
– Choices that actually impact outcomes
– So many beautiful and detailed plants
– Lovely art
– A chill, magical game!


(May not include everything)
– Not accessible for blind / visually impaired players and screen reader users.
– Can choose sans-serif font.
– Can choose auto-labeling for plants.


Talk to me!

Have you played Strange Horticulture?
Have you ever played a game with lots of plants?


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8 thoughts on “Game Review: Strange Horticulture by Bad Viking

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  1. Greg

    Oh yeah- love the sound of this. I’m fascinated by herbalists anyways. And all the different plamts and the magical qualities.

  2. Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity

    I’ve been eyeing this game up for a while as it came in a few times on TikTok saying it was a good cosy game which wasn’t a farming game! It sounds like the perfect easy game to escape into so I’ll definitely need to buy sometime soon.