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Tiny Garden is a new life sim set in a Polly Pocket toy

Tiny Garden recently eclipsed its funding goal on Kickstarter, and is now heading for a range of stretch goals.
tiny garden ao norte game

Tiny Garden, a new game from studio Ao Norte, has become the newest smash hit success on Kickstarter, for a very good reason. If you grew up in the 1990s, you’ll likely be familiar with a little toy range called Polly Pocket – a series of tiny dolls that came in all shapes and sizes, including cutesy clamshells. Tiny Garden presents a neat riff on these toys, with its farm sim gameplay taking place on a miniature Polly Pocket-like toy.

In Tiny Garden, you’ll plant and grow vegetables on the bottom half of a clamshell, using a virtual crank to water your garden and encourage its growth. Once your plants grow, you can harvest them and then trade them for furniture that is used to decorate the other half of your clamshell toy.

Gather enough carrots or potatoes, and you’ll be able to trade them for a lamp, a bed, chairs, and tables. These can then be placed wherever you like as you build out a tiny, cosy toy home.

It’s funny – Tiny Garden features very simple ideas. Yet I can’t think of another game that’s taken the same approach to a life simulator. Polly Pocket‘s clamshells remain incredibly popular, and there’s even an entire Tiktok/Instagram creator community around them, so it’s great to see the coolest features of these toys realised in the realm of gaming. There’s so much nostalgia associated with Polly Pocket toys, so it’s great to see a nod to this era.

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“Everything happens inside a tiny toy from the 90s. Remember those?” Ao Norte asks on its Kickstarter page. “Their tactile feeling, the unparalleled moment of opening them for the first time or their simple mechanical and almost magical interactions. We want to pay tribute to all the great memories they gave us… with an actual video game on top!”

Per Ao Norte, Tiny Garden is designed to be as relaxing as possible. There’s “no pressure, no score, no challenges” in the game, just wholesome and cosy fun as you grow crops and decorate your tiny toy world. While gameplay seems fairly simplistic, that’s core to the experience. It’s all about kicking back and indulging your sense of nostalgia for the 1990s – that wonderful era of plasticky goodness.

Tiny Garden is currently on track for long-term success on Kickstarter, with its initial goal now surpassed by 378%. Already, the team has unlocked stretch goals including shiny vegetables, physical prints and stickers, more vegetables, and new visuals for these vegetables, and funding seems to be on track to unlock atmospheric backgrounds, free mode, photo mode, and other potential features.

If you’re keen to support the game in this journey, you can learn more about Tiny Garden on Kickstarter. For a very little game, we expect big things here.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.