Casual games don't all have to be seek-and-find or match-three style, but you might not realize that after visiting some of the popular casual-game download sites. There are good reasons for casual gamers to welcome titles like The Great Tree
that add variety to what is otherwise a glut of copycat titles. Doing something different always has risks, but carries more than a few rewards if you are successful. The formula used for The Great Tree
isn't cutting edge in gaming terms, but it makes for a really nice blend of arcade/action and casual gaming.
The backstory in The Great Tree is surprisingly deep, maybe too deep considering that knowing all the details won't have a huge impact on how you play the game. The short version is that a life-giving tree must be purged of enemies while you gather pollen and rescue captives from level to level. You also can upgrade your character's agility, health, strength, or magic. The agility could as easily be called speed for how it affects your character. Health would be equivalent to hit points. Strength has to do with the special abilities you possess for going on the offensive, and magic is similar to luck in how it affects the chance of earning special drops from enemies. The additional customization for your character is a set of wings, possessed with special powers that further enhance your abilities. The play style is basically like an arcade shooter, with enemies floating across the screen and you moving the mouse to collect energy, free captives, and sometimes attack. It's possible to play the game without rescuing enemies, but there are major incentives to do so. The thrust of the game is collecting energy and restoring it to the tree. At the point where your collection meter is full, the level will end. At the end of each level, you'll flutter off to a new stage.
Bumping into enemies will result in lost energy, both the kind you are intent on collecting and your vitality. The power-up system is nice in that it allows you to create a character that is well balanced for how you like to play. The best thing about the upgrade system in The Great Tree is that you can retrieve points and "reroll" your character midway through the game. Don't like being fast but weak? Try being slow and hardy... Since the point of The Great Tree is more to serve-and-protect than run-and-gun, it doesn't really serve you to max out magic and go on the offensive, but it's a nice touch to allow players to blaze their own trail.