Garden Story (2021) – Comprehensive Review

Transfiguring Adoption’s Overview:

The target audience appears to be children that are 10 and up due to the reading skills needed and the RPG game styling. It also appears this game would be best for most families that enjoy a low-adrenaline adventure RPG with their children. This game is also friendly to children and teens that identify as LGBTQ due to the characters identifying as non-binary and using preferred pronouns they/them.

** Spoilers Could Be Ahead **

How Is This Relevant To Adoption & Foster Care?

While this game is not directly connected to foster care the main character, Concord, appears to be the last of his kind as a little grape born from a vine and raised in the Kindergarten. This almost seems to function like a group home. At the start of the game they are moved from the Kindergarten for their safety (due to the advancement of the Rot) and given a new home and a host of new friends upon moving. Though the change is good for both Concord and their new neighbors this is a large change as Concord must learn to defend themselves and others from the Rot. Concord shows promise as an up and coming guardian and is quickly promoted and is able to travel about to the various townships (Spring Hamlet, Summer Bar, Autumn Town, and Winter Glade) and help them rebuild after Rot attacks in addition to fighting the Rot directly in little puzzle-based dungeons. Children may relate to Concord’s sudden change in lifestyle and lodging and their need to adapt. Caregivers can talk to their children about adapting to change and investing in their communities.

This game has low risk for cyberbullying or connecting with strangers due to there being no online or multiplayer features for this game.

Discussion Points:

  • Adapting to Change
    Like Concord, your child has likely been through many changes in their short life. Between traumas, moving several times, and having to learn new rules and new skills all at once I’m sure they feel overwhelmed quite easily. But like Concord your child has you, their awesome caregiver, to help them through these difficult transitions. Children will often find more success with adapting to change when they have an attuned caregiver ready to help them process their emotions, connect their feelings to behaviors, and make a new play using newly learned skills. Much like when we were young children need help learning how to process information of this sort and reminders of when to use new skills and coping mechanisms since stress often interferes with the ability to use the prefrontal cortex to make logical decisions. So when your child has endured trauma it is likely that they have missed out on opportunities to hone these skills and will need extra support when making connections and enduring stressful situations.
  • Investing in Our Communities
    Throughout the game Concord is shown how Rot has infiltrated the various areas of the forest and has seriously affected the communities. This includes physical effects (i.e. – broken buildings, rough terrain, unsafe areas, missing decor, etc.) and emotional ones (i.e. – loss of neighbors, loss of community connections, loss of loved ones). Much like how Concord is able to participate in these communities and be an agent of change, your child will need help in learning how to participate in their communities before they can also invest in these communities. Concord is helpful and definitely starts building relationships by helping others but what maintains these relationships is a sense of togetherness built by enduring hardship and working together to encourage the communities to rebuild. As a result this is a great way to teach children how to be a part of a community and invest back into the communities they care about when they are able as they grow.

Cautionary Points:

  • Mild Fantasy Violence
    While Concord moves through different areas he must defeat the Rot in several different forms. He uses various tools and weapons to do so but nothing especially graphic or dangerous for a little grap Especially with the pixelated designs and lack of blood and such this is a fairly low-adrenaline game though and will likely be a lower trauma risk. Some younger children may struggle with the concept of fighting but the target audience should be okay.

  • Character Death
    Throughout the game it is discussed how other guardians are killed while trying to defeat the Rot or surviving elements of different parts of the forest. While none of these are main characters that Concord has bonded with children may still experience some difficult emotions in being reminded by their losses.

About the Reviewer: Rachael Rathe

Rachael B. Rathe is an East Tennessee native with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology with a Minor in Child & Family Studies from The University of Tennessee Knoxville. She has worked in mental health since 2013 and in foster care/adoptions for a private provider agency since 2014. Rachael was inspired to work in the field after working with children and teens on a volunteer basis 2008 – 2013. Rachael’s ideal self-care day involves snuggling on a couch with her kitties (Tabitha, Fergus, and Rufus) while enjoying a good movie or book. She also enjoys galavanting around conventions concerning all things nerd and geekery.

**Transfiguring Adoption is a nonprofit organization seeking to nurture growth in foster and adoptive families by giving a HOOT about their families. Transfiguring Adoption does not intend for its reviewers nor its review to be professional, medical or legal advice. These reviews and discussion guides are intended to help parents to better be able to connect and understand their children who come from traumatic backgrounds.

Lost Password

Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.