I have a beautiful clay pot filled with thirteen succulents. Every week I am given a new seedling and I plant it, spray it with water occasionally, pull weeds from the surrounding dirt, and help it grow by singing it soothing melodies.

Viridi is a free-to-play simulation game by Ice Water Games. It allows you to care for a pot of succulents (or more than one pot, for a price) as delicate instrumental music plays in the background. The game is designed to give you a time out from your work when you need five minutes to pause and relax.

My little pot of plants reminds me of a flash game I used to play. I was given an aquarium and had to collect coloured fish by buying and breeding different varieties. Watching them swim around their fish tanks was relaxing, and I returned to them after school every afternoon for a number of months.

As somebody with anxiety, I am always looking for ways to quieten my thoughts. I love the new colouring-in trend, and sometimes I use puzzles to remind myself to be mindful. Viridi is the most recent addition to my anxiety-fighting toolbox.

There is something incredibly calming about watching a snail—who I named ‘Little One’—slowly gliding around the edge of a decorative pot. There’s comfort in spraying thirsty plants with water and watching them subtly brighten and perk up as they feel sated. There’s joy in returning to your pot and finding a flower growing from one of the succulents that you have so lovingly cared for.

That’s not to say Viridi doesn’t have any flaws. Sometimes those colourful flowers disappear as quickly as they grow, but their fleeting beauty almost add to their value. I have encountered some strange issues with navigating the user interface, and sometimes the weekly free seedling button doesn’t work. Other people have mentioned their own grievances on the discussion board, including the lack of reset button and the hard-to-escape presence of micro transactions.

But Ice Water Games should be commended on their quick response to discussion board comments and their regular updates to Viridi. It’s definitely a game that is in motion, constantly improving through community engagement. And I can’t hold micro transactions against them; there’s nothing forcing you to spend a few cents on a new plant, and game developers have to feed themselves somehow.

If you have trouble taking time out for yourself, I recommend you download Viridi and give it a try. Maybe you will find it easier to pause your busy life so you can care for a pot of virtual succulents, and in the process, you will accidentally help yourself too.

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