Mama should stick to cooking.
Let's say you want to learn the basics of gardening without getting your hands dirty. Well, leave it to Mama to teach you a thing or two. Gardening Mama is the latest in Taito's simulation games, taking the lead character out of the kitchen and into the backyard. Like the previous game, you complete mini-games to keep things maintained under Mama's watchful eye.
Unfortunately, Gardening Mama isn't nearly as good as the cooking games because of ridiculously over the top and mundane challenges. One minute, you're watering seeds in the ground, and the next you're blowing away clouds in the sky so your flowers can get a little sun; we had no idea that Mama raised a child with Superman breathing abilities.
The garden interface isn't bad. The further you get into Gardening Mama, the more things open up for you. However, this brings up another problem, multi-tasking. You're asked to not only maintain newer sections of the garden, but also keep older ones up to speed to prevent flowers from dying. This would be a novel idea if the gameplay were any fun. On top of that, the thought of losing precious flowers may not be an easy thing for kids or rookie players to accept.
As if maintaining a garden on your own isn't enough, Gardening Mama also has multiplayer. Here, you can invite others through single-cart or multi-cart play in a number of mini-games. It's a good idea, but without the gameplay to back it up, it's all for naught. Besides, we can't recall the last time we got a group of friends together for competitive gardening.
On the positive side, those that stick with the game may learn a thing or two about actual gardening. The presentation is also on par with previous Mama games, with cute, colorful graphics (especially in the flower arrangements) and a hilariously bad voiceovers. It's actually fun to hear Mama get angry, even though she assures you that "Mama will fix it for you".
If you're an eco-friendly person looking for an ideal DS experience, or you just want to see what planting flowers with a stylus is like, Gardening Mama might be for you. Be forewarned, however. It's nowhere near as fun as the cooking games.
What's Hot: Teaches you a few things about gardening, cute visuals, Mama has a humorous and weird accent.
What's Not: Repetitive and dull mini-games, multi-tasking may throw off rookie players, boring multiplayer.