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There are two aspects to the gameplay. Part of it involves the player building their own garden, and part of it is playing games in which you have to find hidden objects, similar to the popular I Spy books for children.
The game takes the player through various scenarios in time with different period-specific characters. For example, the first area in the game is Egypt, and the areas are based around Egyptian pyramids and rivers. The scenarios in the game are called "adventures". To play an adventure, you are drained 10 energy. Your energy refills once every three hours, or you can buy more energy with gold. Gold can either be earned in the game naturally or you can buy it with real money.
While in adventures, there are tons of objects and it can be difficult to find one specific object, so there are powerups in the game to help you. One of them is simply a hint button where a circle of light focuses on where an object is. Another powerup is the goggles. When the goggles are used, you have a circle of light that is controlled with the mouse. When you highlight over an object that the game is asking you to find, the object will glow. The goggles only stay in use a short amount of time.
Depending on your skill and speed during the adventures, you are given gold and silver to spend on objects in your garden. The more you build up your garden, the more levels you unlock within the game. The objects you can put in your garden are based on recognizable objects or events in history. For example, you can put a Sphinx in your garden, or a round table, or a sword in a stone. You can earn up to four stars on a level based on your overall score for the level.
There is a social aspect to the game. You can have your Facebook friends as your garden's "neighbors". They can visit your garden at any time. When they do, they have two choices. They can either go on a 60-second hunt for all the objects they can find within an adventure, or they can choose to hide a gift somewhere within your garden. There are also times when your neighbor's avatar will show up in your garden. If you click on them you get a small amount of experience. You can send your neighbors gifts of energy or objects, and you can ask that they return the favor. The game gives daily bonuses for logging in every day without missing a day. They are mostly giving you silver to spend in the game but sometimes you receive a "mystery gift" for the game. When you build an object to go in your garden, you get reputation points. These are what unlocks more adventures to play through. It takes time to build objects, and each object is different. Objects are built in real time, whether you're online or not. Some objects take a few minutes to complete, while some take multiple hours.