What if you were a tree? What would your life be like? What would be your goals in life, your motivations?
Presumably that’s where the designer of Photosynthesis started. Players are trees, collecting sunlight in order to grow to bigger sizes and spread seeds to plant more trees. When your tree reaches its maximum height, you can then harvest it for points!
Okay, so it’s a little abstract. Also, players are in direct cuthroat competition with each other. As the sunlight rotates around the board from round to round, trees cast shadows that block other trees from collecting sunlight. You need sunlight to perform actions – to grow and harvest your trees. You score more points when your tree is nearer to the center of the board, but it’s also likely to get hidden in shadow more often.
This is a tough puzzle game that has plenty of choices to make. the board starts out with a few small trees, and grows into an epic forest by the time you’re done. It’s definitely a unique concept and a very beautiful game, with some layers of strategy that will take multiple plays to grasp fully. Is it interesting enough to have lasting replay value? Only time will tell.