No one in my immediate family has anything even remotely close to a green thumb. We basically only have cacti in our front window, and even those keep getting chewed on by our cats. But I can at least live vicariously through the gardens of Mutazione, losing myself in their dulcet tones and musical harmonies. When I saw that there had been a new update since I’d last played, I just had to check it out.
For those unfamiliar, Mutazione was released on September 19th, 2019 by developer Die Gute Fabrik and publisher Akupara games in conjunction with the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union, which is a support network for Europe’s cultural and creative sectors. The base game follows the adventures of main character Kai in a “mutant soap opera where small-town gossip meets the supernatural,” as she works to care for her ailing grandfather and unveil the history of the Mutazione mutants. A large part of the gameplay and story revolve around the cultivation and maintenance of 7 distinct gardens around the island, each with their own musical mood and tone. As of the Garden Mode update in January 2020, players could explore the gardening aspect separate from the story in the cloud garden.
More recently (as of 10/22/2020,) an additional Gardens update has allowed all 7 Gardens to be accessible separate from the main game, alongside the cloud garden, with several unique seeds exclusive to this mode of play. Unlike in the Story mode, where the player can find the various seeds they need by talking to villagers or harvesting them from existing plants around the isle, Garden mode starts the player with a handful of starter seeds that they then can cultivate and grow, allowing other seeds to randomly sprout in their gardens as time passes. While it may be challenging to collect all the seeds on your own, you are able to pool and trade seeds with friends who own the game as well, making the collection a group endeavor.
Maintenance and composition of the gardens can be quite relaxing, especially if you have a penchant for music and music theory. While the cloud garden can support any plant, the other 7 gardens in the games are each designed with a specific ‘mood’ in mind, which the plants that naturally thrive there reflect. Each plant has its own instrument or motif that, when planted in conjunction with each other, combine to make moods and melodies unique to your style of garden. If you want a stronger flute overtone, plant more Crimson Lilies. More harp means more Blackpool Lilies, and so on. And nothing’s stopping you from experimenting with more unusual combinations, like the mix of strings from Cerignola with the sine waves of the Cliff Shrub! It’s your garden, and outside of Story mode, there’s no obligation to keep your plants all in line.
There’s something therapeutic about cultivating a colorful garden, even a digital one. Creating an ambience of colors and sounds, a quiet moment in a chaotic world, is something to be treasured. So if you’ve got the time to spare, consider taking a trip to Mutazione and cultivating your own garden in the sky.