It is pretty hard to review a game like Reach for the Sun. This is because this game isn’t designed to be difficult. It isn’t designed to entertain you with its storytelling. This is a game that is designed to educate you.
Reach for the Sun is a lesson in plant biology. Let’s find out if it is a compelling enough study.
The objective for Reach for the Sun is simple. You are to take a plant through the entire cycle of growing period so you can cultivate enough fruit to move forward in the game. Your goal is to gather all of the possible fruit there is to offer for the plants. To do so, you take your seed and sprout roots, leaves, branches and flowers so that you can feed your plant the essential nutrients it needs to get there.
Collecting energy is the name of the game as roots fill with water and minerals while leaves absorb the rays of the sun to convert it into starch. Each time these leaves or roots collect their food, you have a limited time to click on them to absorb it throughout the plant. Once you gain enough energy, you can expand the number of leaves, branches and flowers until you finally are able to pollinate and create fruit.
That’s really all there is to the game. You harvest the seeds from your fruit to purchase farming essentials like a watering can and move to a more difficult plant. Seeing as how there are only 4 plants and 4 upgrades, the game is relatively short. Completion is under an hour which makes it ideal for the target demographic: schools. This is a game designed to be used in inclusive science classrooms. It honestly fits that criteria perfectly.
Fully finishing the game took me no longer than 40 minutes while exploring the tutorial and other plants. This is about the length of a regular class, so it fits in perfectly. For those of you with school age children, it is an interesting option to show the basic foundation of a plant’s life cycle. I just recommend you use it as an accompaniment to some real gardening.
That I guess is my issue with this game. It works as a side lesson. It doesn’t have enough to really keep your child invested in learning the science of Botany and it does have a few little issues. The clicking of your mouse on roots and flowers sometimes doesn’t register due to an overcrowding and it has this overcomplicated wheel system that doesn’t make sense when there is only one option to choose most of the time. I can see it’s merits for touch screens, but when there are at most two options to choose from, it makes absolutely no sense not to just include little pop up buttons. This becomes an issue when the wheel blocks leaves for cultivation forcing you to click around the screen to get out of it.
As a short exercise, it is a great way to get your child interested in a plant’s growth cycle. That’s about it. It isn’t advanced enough to go into cross pollination and I’m actually disheartened that it only uses insects as a means of halting the growth of the plant instead of trying to showcase some advanced pollination techniques.
[+Solid Learning Tool] [+Great for a Class] [+Nice Designs] [-Needs More Options] [-Some Unresponsive Mouse Clicks]