Unfortunately the rest of the game doesn't get quite as high praise from me. At its core the game is tedious and kind of boring. There's a lot of grab this tool, walk to this plant, trim it, walk back, put the tool down, walk to the sell basket, nod it again, then water all the plants, and then finally sleep and wake up 2 seconds later to do it all again. It quickly devolves into a game of how quickly can I do all the things to progress forward. And if I'm honest, quick isn't the vibe this game gives off. Visually, auditorily, and atmospherically this game is telling you to stop and smell the roses, but mechanic wise it's telling you to speedrun.
I think some of the tedium and problems the game has could be eased a bit with a few additions: a tool belt, a satchel, and a growth timer. A tool belt to hold the shears, watering can, and manacatcher - frankly this would be huge because it would mean less back and forth. Accompanied by a satchel to hold plant trimmings. With just these two I think the game would feel a lot less like a walk back and forth simulator. Lastly, a growth timer to plants so that they grow 2-3 phases in a single day. This means we could trim plants a handful of times a day, and then at the end of the day sell off our haul of trimmings. It keeps us going as plants grow, and we have opportunities to stop and vibe with the game as we wait for our plants to grow. A final minor thought - compost having a use would be great too! Plants grow quicker, or produce more mana when fertilized. These changes would probably require a rebalance of the economy and progression, but I think they'd help make the game feel more enjoyable.
Do I think The Tale of the Greenhouse scratches the itch? Unfortunately no. The gameplay loop of running back and forth is simply too unfun for me to recommend the game. If you're able to slow your roll, and not play the game as efficiently as possible it might be worth checking out. The art, audio, and atmosphere this game has captured is worth praising and applauding. I want you guys to know you did an absolutely stellar job here and there was never a moment where I was bored visually. I know this was a 7 week project so it wasn't going to be perfect, but what I've seen so far has me looking forward to what the future has in store for Magmaplant Studios.