The History: Plant Nanny is a “game” which aims to get you to drink 8 glasses of water a day in order to stay properly hydrated. It was made circa 2013, although the internet can’t seem to give me a specific date due to the developer’s website, fourdesire.com, being entirely in chinese. It uses your weight and activity level to calculate how much water you need to drink a day. It’s in all three phone app stores: Google Play, Istore and the Microsoft Phone store.
-Design (Good to look at, easy to use)
-Fun (Does it feel like a chore to do, or like a game)
-Worth (Does it help you do the thing it says it will help you do)
Obviously not everything worth doing is fun, not everything fun is easy to do, and not everything pretty is substantive.
As per the norm we’ll look at content layout, aesthetics, and progress tracking icons.
Layout: On the main screen, prominently displayed, are your plant, a glass icon, and 4 circular buttons. Throughout the day you’ll rarely have to go beyond this page, and you’ll rarely do anything but press the glass of water button. It’s beautiful in its simplicity, and, for the main purpose of keeping the plant watered, it’s incredibly well designed. All of the other buttons: Water of Life, Photos, Daily intake tracker, and menu are lined up at the top of the screen in slightly translucent white. The content is designed around the plant and the giant glass of water.
The shop and the menu are where the layout starts to become a little less pleasing. There are few, if any, navigation buttons back to the main page beyond your device’s back button and the settings and shop buttons just take you to line object lists that look more like something from a flash game than a best selling app. The settings page has very few actual settings, and the whole thing is slightly transparent, causing a little distraction.
Aesthetics: The plants are cute and well designed, as if the ghost of your dead tamagotchi possessed your window cactus. All of their growth stages are interesting, and seeing exactly what they evolve into is the most fun part of the game. As mentioned earlier, the aesthetics of the shop and the settings page leaves a little to be desired, but if you find the plants cute the rest of the game won’t disappoint you.
Tracking Icon: An easy to understand circle that fills with water as you drink, as well as the emotions and stage of your plant, do make it easy to understand if you are doing well enough.
Overall design score: B+
There isn’t much “Fun” to this game. The more you take care of your plant, the more it grows, the more it evolves, and the more in game currency you get to buy other things. There are achievements that try and add to the experience by coercing you into collecting certain types of plants, but there simply isn’t much “to do” on a daily basis. You drink your water, you press the button, you watch it grow. Or you don’t and you watch it be sad and die. I suppose it’s more fun than just drinking water, but it felt more like another chore instead of something to entice me to complete another chore.
Overall Fun: D
8 ounces of water 8 times a day is a myth that has been debunked in recent years. Yes, your body needs water, and it needs close to that much water (depending on weight and activity level), but it doesn’t need it solely from water. Here, let Adam Ruins Everything explain it better: https://youtu.be/FwdqFHBaPwY
You should drink when you are thirsty, and when you are thirsty you should drink water. This App’s entire premise is based on what is now old science, and you shouldn’t be forcing yourself to drink just to keep a little green piece of data alive. But, that said, there is another avenue here.
This app’s main premise is flawed, but it has a salvageable one. If you use this app to encourage yourself to drink water instead soda when you are thirty, not as a water tracker, but as a reward, this app is worthwhile. Sure, your plant might be thirsty when you find you can’t make all 8 glasses in a day, but you can always change the ounce level to fit your daily drinking habits better if you lie about your activity level or weight.
Initial Worth Score: F
Salvaged Worth Score: B
This game felt like a chore to me, and I never felt like I was having fun or bettering myself. I just hated water more because I had to drink it when I wasn’t thirsty. But, if this app helps you choose water over soda, I won’t blame you for liking it.
Initial overall score: D
Alternative overall score: C+