I have good intentions, I do. I’ll volunteer to help clean a road, pick up trash from streams, clean abandoned graveyards, and plant native berry bushes whenever I can. All of that takes time, though, and can be exhausting when you’re working six days a week and just want some time to veg out on your phone playing games. But what if you could do some good in the world and play games at the same time, wherever you happen to be?

Debuting in April of 2023, Longleaf Valley is a free mobile merge game in which you help Ash Williams, a POC woman biologist with gorgeous pink hair, restore a Longleaf Valley Natural Park. While she remembers playing under the trees as a kid and having picnics there, it’s since been polluted. The beginning tutorial has you making simple merges of tools and seeds to clean up areas and save friends from watery mishaps. It takes almost no time at all to learn how to advance through levels.

The more you achieve in the game, the more you earn things like energy, items, and tree tokens. The tokens are the best part … the more you gather in the game, the more the developers say they’ll plant trees. And if you’re feeling extra generous, want item packs, or want to buy more energy to play longer, you can spend money in the game store to help speed up the planting of trees. Doing any of these things will fill up a tree token bar. Once that’s filled, a real tree gets planted out in the world.

The developers are able to do this because they’ve partnered with Eden Reforestation Projects. According to their website, they “work with local communities to restore landscapes on a massive scale, thereby creating jobs, protecting ecosystems, and helping mitigate climate change.” They say their mission is to connect local communities to the land they live on and help them create jobs that protect the environment, not degrade it. They have worked to renew 241,150 hectares of land with new plantings, and have partnered with a number of businesses to provide funding to make that happen.

The goal is to plant a million trees by the end of the year. In the soft-launch alone, it’s said they’ve already managed to plant over 300,000 trees! We’re excited to help contribute to that!

Longleaf Valley is a “time waster” game that aims to have a positive impact on the environment, making it not such a waste of time after all. That means you can spend more time playing, and thus, more time helping the planet.

Longleaf Valley is available on iOS and Android and is completely free to play, though it does allow you to spend money for perks in its store.

[Reviewed by Rebecca Buchanan.]

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