Who knew that fulfilling your basic human needs could be so fun? If you’re anything like me, drinking an adequate amount of water each day can be a surprisingly difficult task, especially when coffee is your main source of hydration. Today I’m reviewing the Android incarnation of the app Plant Nanny, a true game changer in the lifestyle app universe that reminds you to drink water regularly. Plant Nanny is a beautiful and functional game that is endearing and accessible to users of all ages.
At the start of the game, inputting your physical stats yields an estimate of how much water you should be consuming. You choose the size of the glass of water that sustains your plant, establish a water goal and pick from an array of adorable plants. Watering is easy – drink a cup of water and tap the glass icon in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. That’s it.
After a day or two of watering your plant levels up, and when he’s fully grown you’re given the option of moving him to the garden. As bittersweet as it is to say goodbye, in the garden he produces seeds you can use for buying rare plants, custom backgrounds, and special water that revives dead plants. If you’ve grown too attached to your companion to plant him, you can watch video clips from advertisers to earn seeds instead.
The simplicity of this app is what fuels it. It’s engaging enough to keep you interested, but it’s also really low maintenance. The only hiccup the game presents is that you are unable to access the tutorial after starting the game, meaning you best remember what is said at the beginning. After I made a drinking cup that was too large, it took nearly half an hour for me to remember the specific place onscreen that I needed to tap to edit the glass size. For your sake, I have circled the thing:
Plant Nanny’s detailed, inviting graphics are such a breath of fresh air (or a glass of cold water…) that I was actually interested in taking care of my little plants to see what they’d look like as grown ups. Everything from the plants to the pots they live in is customizable and beautifully illustrated.
The “gamification” of drinking water is pretty solid – my desire to play the game overrode my innate laziness. I would pay for this app if the developers gave the plants a personality or another level of interactivity, but as a habit tracking app, Plant Nanny does its job well.
There are relatively few sounds, which are mostly just responses to actions – liquid swirls as water fills your cup, and the plant giggles with delight in response. I’m usually an advocate of all things cute, but what starts out adorable becomes merely another obnoxious reminder to turn the sound all-the-way down when everyone in the office knows you’ve just drank your tenth glass of the day.
Additionally, there are some discrepancies I found between the Android system volume and the game settings volumes that MAKE THE SOUND EFFECTS REALLY LOUD. You can easily avoid the mistakes I made by simply never filling up your glass while listening to music on earbuds…
The concept behind this app is simple but powerful, and I love its simplicity. Plant Nanny takes one of those habits we all need to improve but never get around to, and turns it into a fun and dynamic experience. As much as I’d love to say that apps like Lift and Chains.cc changed my life, I honestly can’t, because no emotional bond was ever forged. Plant Nanny succeeds where others have failed by giving obvious rewards and consequences for the upkeep of habits.
If you’re looking for a solid lifestyle app that you’ll actually keep up with, this is it!! Plant Nanny isn’t going to entertain or distract you from your busy life, but it’s going to improve it. Whether you’re a kid who is learning health basics, or an adult revisiting neglected habits, this water tracking app is an excellent way to keep you accountable for your goal. And let’s face it, the little guys are adorable.