Most mobile games demand your attention. They either want you playing them as often as possible in the hopes of getting you to spend some money on in-app purchases, ask you to watch video ads while you are playing, or request permission to send you notifications so you'll log back in again.
Viridi isn't like that at all. In fact, you can consider it that anti-game since it isn't frantically up in your grill at any time and seems perfectly content letting you proceed at your own pace -- probably because it's about raising a potted plant.
Yes, you read that right. If your first thought was "WTF," there's an above average chance that Viridi is not for you. If you're intrigued, however, then you've come to the right place. Because the game doesn't explain that much to you, we figured laying out a path to gardening success was in order.
Pick your pot and starter plants
In the words of Stan, the restaurant manager from Office Space, you do want to express yourself, don't you? In Viridi, that means selecting one of a variety of different pots, as well as one of three different groups of starter plants.
Does the selection of starter affect the game at all? Nope, and the pot is obviously a matter of personal preference as well. Once you've made your picks and a name for your game save, your first plants are automagically planted for you. Then it's up to you to take care of them.
Water just enough, but not too much
From the main game screen, you can zoom in or out by pinching and rotate the pot by dragging the screen with a single finger. You'll see your seedlings peeking their heads out of the dirt, and at least in our play-through, a friendly snail crawling around the rim of the pot.
Now what? Well, plants need water, and you've got a convenient spray bottle. You can select each plant in turn just by tapping on it to find out its current status. A thirsty plant should be watered by tapping the spray bottle icon in the lower-right corner, a sated plant is just fine, and an overwatered plant means you went too far, probably to the plant's detriment.
Zooming in on a plant long enough will also start you singing to it. We have no idea what this does for a plant's health in the long term, but it probably doesn't hurt.
If you have a plant selected and tap the icon in the bottom-left corner, you can pull a plant out of the pot. The idea here is that you're going to put it in your virtual garden, as it's outgrown its first home. However, you can also simply remove a plant just for kicks.
To add more plants to the pot, you can hit the menu accessed with clear circle icon. If you have seedlings in your inventory, you can hit the plant icon, and the game helpfully shows you where it can be placed in your pot -- red means it's too close to other plants, white means you're good to drop it with another tap.
Need more seedlings? You can use the greenhouse icon to visit the Nursery, where you'll receive a free seedling each week. Additional seedlings can also be acquired via IAP for real money. The Nursery also allows you to pay for an additional environment (or two) in which to start a new pot or repot your original starters.
That's about all there is to it in Viridi.it certainly seems like a best in class experience simply because there's nothing else on the App Store quite like it. Even if you normally go for more frantic fare, it's worth a download just to see what life in the slow lane is like.