Plenty of exploration games give you the opportunity to walk through colourful fields or strange, alien worlds. But sometimes it feels like all you can do is wander around. Mendel allows the player to breed plants in order to create wild and unexpected new species.
Created by Owen Bell, Mendel is as much a science lab as it is a cosy park. You control an explorer dropping into a new world. You explore the far reaches of islands and valleys to find new flora. At any time, you can pick up plants to add them to your collection and breed them together to create entirely new species. It’s a chill take on exploration with an interesting practical twist.
Mendel follows in the lineage of games like Proteus or Shape of the World, providing a bright, neon landscape to get lost in. But while those games have a mystical tone, Mendel is more focused. You’re always on the lookout for discoveries that might lead to new plants. There’s something really satisfying about creating a rosy tree or sprouting plant that fits into the landscape.
I play a lot of competitive games, filling my evenings with battle royales or giant mech battles. It’s nice to take a break and create some things for a change. Booting up Mendel is a chance to clear your mind and zone out before jumping back into PUBG or Call of Duty. At the very least, it’ll probably save you from throwing the controller the next time you have a bad round.