STAFF REVIEW of Alchemy Garden (Xbox One)

Saturday, September 30, 2023.
by Peggy Doyle

Alchemy Garden Box art If any game has the genre listing of ‘simulation, lifestyle, and indie’ all listed for them, you may as well just tag me when you see it because I must play it. I was lucky enough to have this experience recently with Alchemy Garden, developed by MadSushi Games and published by JanduSoft. Alchemy Garden is very inexpensive (at only $12.99 USD) and is rated for everyone, so it’s a great family-friendly title as well.

First released on PC last year, it has now made its way to console, and if you’ve ever wanted to manage your own alchemy shop, it’s now time. Start this delightful indie by creating your character and giving your shop a name. That personal touch was nice. There are several hint blocks that pop up to help you out but no real tutorial to follow, so you are really left to your own devices when you first wake up in your room above the shop. You are provided with your basic bed, the place to save your game and move to the next day, a basic shop counter, and an alchemy table. The rest of how you decide to play Alchemy Garden is up to you. Not knowing what to do, I immediately opened the shop. The first customer wanted a health potion (the only recipe you are given to start with) but since you have no ingredients to start you can’t fulfill the request. I closed the shop and went outside to see what I could find.

Immediately outside your door, you’ll see a mailbox, and you’ve got mail. The Alchemist’s Guild is giving you a set of tools to help you gather materials; an ax, pickaxe and garden hoe, as well as a watering can. Your watering can won’t break, but the others will. You can repair them once you buy a workbench, or you can buy replacements in town.

Surrounding your shop are gardening areas, the spot right outside the door is available immediately to you, and the additional plots will cost you money. Gardening in Alchemy Garden is similar to other games of this type. Use the hoe to break ground, plant your seed, water and wait. You need to remember to water each day (if it isn’t raining). Watering doesn’t require any of your stamina bar to be used but all other actions will. You can recover energy by eating food or sleeping. Plants are divided into Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter as to when you can find them in the wild, or buy them in shops, but there is no restriction on the time of year you can plant and harvest them in your garden plot. This is important as the potions you need year-round require plants from all seasons.

Watering and other gardening activities were both satisfying and frustrating at the same time. The controls were very inconsistent. Sometimes I could water 5 or 6 squares at a time, other times I couldn’t even get two to line up properly. I would often water or harvest or plant in the wrong spot. I would think I was lined up with one spot and I wasn’t. You can move between third and first person perspectives, and this is important. There is no tutorial or hint telling you that you can only do certain activities in one of those perspectives. For example, I bought a pond so I could refill the watering can faster, and I could place it in third person but could only move or rotate it in first. This was entirely found out accidentally. I went to place the item and while it told me to use the trigger to rotate it, it placed it. I assumed a bug, but when I was using first person at another time while refilling, I noticed it gave me the option to move the pond and I was able to rotate it and place it where I originally wanted to.

Now that I’ve covered basic gardening, collecting is simple. Cut trees, mine rocks and minerals, and harvest plants. Your trusty journal will track everything you’ve collected. There is a small town across the bridge from your home shop that has vendors which you can buy and sell items there. There is also a mission board where you can fulfill requests for material or potions you brew. You can buy seeds, tools, shop items, clothing, etc. from the vendors in the town. Everything from additional counter space to an automated alchemy station can be purchased. You will need to ultimately upgrade and grow your shop to make more money. This money will buy more items or upgrade your house that is in desperate need of repairs.

There are shops where Francois Toupe will allow you to change your appearance for 500 coins. You’ll have the same choices of faces, eyes, hairstyles, skin colours, etc., but it's nice if you feel the need to change. Patchy Goldthread will sell you clothes and shoes. This store was difficult to shop as you couldn’t preview the items you were buying and colours were often hard to distinguish in the menus.

Once a Season, a unique traveller will arrive and sell special items only available then. During Spring, I purchased the pond to make it easier to water my plants. There is also a minigame during each seasonal event that, although basic, does give you a special decorative item for your home shop or garden. In addition to the little town, there is a mine to gather minerals and a swamp area where you will find some of the rarer plants. Luckily you can also grow these rare plants in your own garden plots.

Now onto the alchemy part of Alchemy Garden. You are given one potion to start, the healing potion, which requires you to mix three plants with healing properties. Your journal tracks the properties of each plant you collect to make this process easier. As you experiment, you will unlock other types of potions as well. They can cover a variety of things like magic, stamina, and even love potions. Add three items to your mortar and pestle, grind them up, add them to your cauldron, and use the bellows to heat to the proper temperature indicated. The potion-making is quite simple, even if a bit time-consuming. It could feel stressful until you find the rhythm, especially when customers are waiting for a particular potion, and they only allow you a certain amount of time to make it.

There are 31 potion types to find in the game. When you first encounter customers, they will ask for things you don’t know how to make and that’s alright. You will be able to sell what you do know, as well as place bulk materials and ingredients on tables to sell as well. You should try to stock up on potions before you open the shop in order to try to maximize profits each day. Every couple of days you will get mail telling you about something of interest happening and it will tell you there will likely be an increased need for certain types of potions as well. Pay attention to those tips as they will benefit you. There is one minigame within Alchemy Garden, and it occurs when a customer wants to haggle for a better price. You can reject their request entirely, losing a sale, but haggling can possibly earn you a higher price, or lower, as was the case most of the time for me. The minigame involves clicking a button when a cursor is in the green area of an indicator bar. Seems easy in theory, but a bit more difficult in practice.

Control wise, I already mentioned some of the issues with gardening, but also trying to place items in the shop felt finicky. Alchemy Garden was clearly designed for a mouse with a click-and-drop mechanic. It didn’t translate very well to a controller in my opinion, but I was able to make it work.

Five minutes in real time equates to one hour in-game, so each day takes approximately 30 minutes to pass. Time still ticks while in menus or your journal, but will stop on festival days allowing you to complete everything you want to on those special days. One of my biggest complaints involves accessibility options in Alchemy Garden. The font size isn’t able to be changed, and when browsing menus for shops, the highlighted item is only a slightly darker shade of green than the general listing colour. I struggled with this slight shade difference, often accidentally buying the incorrect item. There really should be more of a variation in colours to assist in.

The animation was a blocky pixel style and played well into the family-friendly chilled aesthetic. The music was lovely and in keeping with the simplistic style of the game. Most lifestyle sim games have a certain feel to them, and Alchemy Garden is no different. Although Alchemy Garden has some rough edges, and could really use some accessibility options added to it, it’s a delightful and cozy lifestyle sim, and I will likely continue to dabble with it, creating potions and gardening, for some time.

**Alchemy Garden was provided by the publisher and reviewed on an Xbox Series X**

Overall: 7.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.5 / 10
Visuals: 7.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 78,033
Forum Posts: 725,964
Xbox One Titles: 5,773
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 2,511
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 16,524
Screenshots: 38,456
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

Nacon Unveils RIG 900 MAX HX

Nacon Unveils RIG 900 MAX HXLicensed for Xbox, the 900 MAX marks the pinnacle in wireless game audio, merging capabilities such as a personalized Dolby Atmos headphone experience, dual wireless connectivity with Bluetooth audio, and a seamless charging base station.

Nacon Announces New RIG 600 PRO Headset Line

Nacon Announces New RIG 600 PRO Headset LineThe RIG 600 PRO HX is officially licensed for Xbox and includes Dolby Atmos for Headphones. Gamers can experience three-dimensional precision audio by simply connecting the USB-C wireless adaptor to the Xbox console or PC.

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

KeyWe Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 20183 Views

2021: XBA is still here
Post by shrew king
37 Replies, 173969 Views

Watch Dogs: Legion
Post by Nato King
0 Replies, 110454 Views

Xbox Series X or S
Post by Nato King
5 Replies, 129615 Views

Spellbreak Grand Magus Pack (3) and Starter Pack (7) Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 121235 Views

I pay $ 1000! I search the Element 54 Canadian launch Team signaturen Faceplate
Post by Smill
0 Replies, 139629 Views

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 132496 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
3 Replies, 190496 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 148328 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
7 Replies, 238556 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
3 Replies, 136618 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 235514 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 167348 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 289487 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 158068 Views

© 2000-2023 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics