While I don’t want to show any undue bias against games unfairly, I’ll admit that I’ve slowly become skeptical of games that seem to lean on the “cute factor” as a primary selling point. Garden Paws will let you choose from a variety of animals for your character avatar and customize them a bit to your liking, allowing you to either play offline on your own or attempting to join up with others online (keeping in mind most indies struggle for even short-term viability with their online communities). Once you’re playing the style is somewhere between a dumbed down farm sim in the vein of Stardew or Harvest Moon and almost an adventure RPG, depending on what tasks you decide to undertake. Exploration is certainly a focus, though the space you live in is certainly quite finite, and whether you’re out gathering, helping townsfolk, or taking on a dungeon for a little while there are some novel things to do. The problem is that though there’s obviously quite a bit of overall content for people who stick it out it’s all quite shallow and in many cases not even implemented very well. Quite regularly there’s just a janky quality to the experience, whether with its tendency to feel very imprecise with its controls, abundant pop-in, strange behaviors of other characters you’ll interact with, or just generally walking around. So many features feel like they were implemented against a checklist, and indeed they are present, but they’re fulfilling a bare minimum rather than providing for depth of enjoyment. I don’t doubt “the cutes” may be enough for some people to stick with this title for a while but for more seasoned gamers there are too many other titles on the eShop that do things better than to stick it out with this.
Justin Nation, Score: