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From the Manufacturer
Welcome back to Gardenscapes! Having restored the garden to its beauty and grandeur, it’s high time to have some guests over to show off! Thankfully, the mansion has a spacious hall for everyone to gather. The only problem is that the hall is in quite a dilapidated state: the wallpaper is curling and peeled, the fireplace cold and broken, and heaps of old newspapers lie scattered about. It’s time to roll up the old sleeves once more, and with the heroic assistance of Austin the butler, turn the hall into a masterpiece!
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I was grinning like an idiot throughout much of this game. Perhaps that illustrates how fun and fulfilling I found it to be?
Plot: You and Austin the butler from the first "Gardenscapes" game were so busy fixing up the garden that...you completely forgot about the mansion itself! It's not in the best shape. Not to worry, all you need to do is hold yet more "jumble sales" by searching the mansion for items that people will buy, so you can redo the mansion's interior in time to be featured on TV and host an open-house party!
Gameplay here isn't much different from the previous game--you search numerous rooms, either in timed or relaxed mode, for various hidden objects and collect the payments customers give you for these items. You also keep your eyes open for hidden coins. You get to choose from three designs each for every mansion upgrade (you can change them later if you have the funds), name the pet dog (again I had fun naming the poor thing "Foofy"), and fulfill various special orders/tasks for certain customers in return for yet more items to decorate the house (for example, one customer gives you some paintings for the walls, another some fireworks for your party, yet another gives you a discount on a big-screen TV, etc.). In a few of these special assignments, you venture out into the garden from the previous game. And just as before, during all this Austin wanders around the mansion making random amusing comments and interacting with the environment. (Click on the dog's bowl, for example, and Austin will give it something to eat.) There's also a bit of drama as Austin has a mini-freakout following a water pipe bursting in the wall (you need to put pots under the leaks--but the dog broke them all in a panic!), and again when his rocking chair breaks, and AGAIN when the TV cuts out just as your mansion is being featured! (Poor Austin has no luck!)
The ending scene features a pleasant surprise for those who are familiar with other Playrix games. Also, make sure to keep your eye on what Austin's watching on TV!
Graphics are about the same as in the first game, though I wish they'd been a bit brighter/more saturated, the better to enjoy the mansion interior as it was renovated. I loved color-coordinating all the different elements, and it was fun to turn on the lights, watch Foofy collapse on his dog bed, read Austin's various quips and complaints, etc. I noticed that whenever you exit the game, Austin hurries to go lie down on the couch. ^_^ From the looks of it, you can continue playing the game even after it's "ended," if you wish.
There is a third game in this series, "Gardenscapes 2," which I believe should more accurately be entitled "Gardenscapes 3" while "Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover" seems to be the real Part 2. Keep your eyes open for my review of that game. :) The semi-related games "Farmscapes" and "Barn Yarn" are also recommended.
I obtained my copy of "Gardenscapes: Mansion Makeover" as a direct download through Amazon.com. The game folder takes up 391MB on my hard drive. I ran this game on Windows 7 with no problems.
(Modified review originally posted at Big Fish Games.)
It has very good graphics and has a few extra challenges thrown in like fixing a leaky water pipe. Some of the characters are looking for 20 of the same items and you don't get paid in coins, but with other decorations for your Hall. You can find hints and use them. It has a nice enough story line, but the game allows you to skip through the majority of it.
I do wish there were more choices in the furniture/décor. There are only three of each, but all in all a fun game that I have played many times.
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