How Strange Horticulture’s devs went from Flash to one of the best games of the year

Strange Horticulture sets you up to think it’s another cozy game about running a shop—a puzzle game where you flick through your book of plants, examine the fungus and ferns and find the right medicinal herb or decorative flower for each customer. Slowly, as it goes on, Strange Horticulture trowels a layer of creeping dread over this wholesome setup. A narrative grows out of it, a story of mystery and ritual murder that plays out through the customers, no less strange than the horticulture, who keep returning to your shop.

Though Strange Horticulture didn’t come completely out of nowhere, having a demo at Steam Next Fest in 2021 that made everyone’s list of favorites, it was still a surprise just how good the finished game turned out to be. Chris Livingston gave it a score of 90 and called it “the best detective game I’ve played in years”.

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