Rod Humble recently commented in an interview that someone should take another look at Cultivation and it's a good thing I did. Replaying this game has proven to me something I should have seen a long time ago: Jason Rohrer is a commie.
Who else would be inspired by a community debate involving Wal-Mart to make a game that features Kermit-The-Frog-eyed gardeners sharing resources? I don't know about you, but sharing resources isn't what I was raised to do, no free rides. And why else would he make the games' characters all bi-sexual hermaphrodites? What's he trying to do to America's youth? Apparently, gardening is really important to godless hippies that couldn't appreciate the special sauce on a Big Mac if a cow came up and licked them. This game is trying to tell you that we should all just tend the earth, develop permacultures, and "share fruits" with whatever transgendered wingbat comes along. Not in my country. I like my food grown the way god intended, by pouring oil all over a field of genetically modified seeds. And I only share fruits with the ladies, sir.
Jason couldn't decide which platform he wants to code for, so he went ahead and did all of them. Pick a side. And the content is all procedurally generated, fractal plants, genetic hermits (hermaphroditic Kermits), and "randomly" generated landmasses that look oddly like a hammer and sickle. Why couldn't you contract offshore art assets like the rest of us?
The interface is the worst part about it, it's almost as confused as the people who never realized you can walk down in Passage. You'd expect a one-button-mouse interface to be context-sensitive; you'd click and drag to lay down a garden plot, and you'd pick up water and seeds by clicking on them, and so forth. Good, clean, commercial-quality interface design. Instead, you have to awkwardly click a button to do every single action. Sounds like Central Planning to me. Wake up Jason. Central Planning doesn't work.
Over the long-term, the game requires you to limit population growth. In other words, the game is encouraging abortion and birth control. If you grow your garden enough, and share enough fruit, generations go by, eventually completing a gateway that leads everyone into a magical world beyond. All an elaborate psyop intended to make you accept controlled genocide, the portal is to extinction, naturally, otherwise you'd get to keep playing. Fortunately, it's possible to play this game in an honest way, by blighting the land of all the other hermits, starving them out, and leaving you a precious fraction to feed yourself and your family, with whom you'll proceed to have incest. This is the closest to family values that Mr. Rohrer can get. Note that the game has the word "Cult" right in there.
Skip playing Cultivation and go buy a boxed casual game at Wal-Mart - ask for extra plastic. You'll be doing the economy a favor.