Japanese studio Bonion Games has released a trial version of its upcoming strategy-RPG Garden Tale in anticipation of this year’s Bit Summit festival in Kyoto. You can download the trial version for free on Windows right here (however: Siliconera has had troubles with it crashing).
Garden Tale has you defending a garden kingdom in grid-based battles against invading kingdoms. You have control over a party of characters with a range of skills including healing magic, ranged magic attacks, and knights with swords. Pretty typical stuff.
However, what marks the game out as different are the sentient plants scattered around the battlefield that explode when destroyed. The idea is to chain up explosions of these plants to issue more and more damage to surrounding units. You take friendly fire during the explosions so you have to try to arrange your unit’s positions so that they take the minimal damage while maximizing the damage your enemy takes.
You don’t have to risk using the plants in this way if you don’t want to, however, if you do you can find a shortcut to victory if your calculations are correct (and you don’t end up destroying your own party).
You can find out more about the development of Garden Tale on its website.