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Free from the claustrophobic Fordism that increasingly robs series like Assassin's Creed of their sense of wonder, this is a game that's taken shape at its own pace, and that has been allowed to find its own voice. Pick a point to aim for and jump. Jump!
Take your time, play with the flora and fauna (although be careful, it's not all friendly), search out the gems (some are cunningly hidden), and enjoy taking your time. This isn't a game to rush, but to wobbily savour.
In the end, in spite of some control and gameplay issues, it's easy to see why Ubisoft developers fell under the spell of Grow Home. The alien world is verdant and alive, the sense of progress and discovery intoxicating, and the hero B.U.D. truly lovable.
Grow Home is utterly lovely. It's welcoming and sweet, and its simplicity is as elegant as BUD is adorably clumsy. Little experimental treats like this are worth a dozen Far Creeds and Assassin's Crys. More of this, please, Ubisoft!
Grow Home isn't awfully deep, nor does it provide any real story to hook you, but this game taps into the pleasure centers of seeing something and going there... however you may choose to do so.
You can probably get a good three to four hours of gameplay out of Grow Home, and more if you decide to search for every crystal and seed. It's relatively short, but it oozes charm and personality. I got more than enough enjoyment out of exploring the world, free falling through the vines, and watching BUD be all adorable and weird. If you're still unsure, just give it some time. I bet it will grow on you.
The spirit of Grow Home lies in its unforced exploration, leisurely collecting of items, and experiencing those "oh $H#@" moments as B.U.D. loses his grip or you miss your jump at 2000 meters in the air. There is added value to the game as you unlock skins with abilities and other items. After the end credits, you also have the choice of accepting an extra mission. All of these features add to Grow Home's appeal as a special game where it pays to be curious and daring, and you are properly rewarded if you are thorough.
Grow Home isn't a game that I expected to fall in love with but after playing for a while and letting it wash over me, I can easily say that it's one of the most imaginative and enjoyable gaming experiences that I've played so far this year.
Simply put, Grow Home is a fun little game. It's not such a big game that you would spend more than a couple days playing it, but even after you've finished the story there is plenty to do afterward.
Grow Home is a masterpiece that gives out a strong core mechanics as a platform game that can make you play the game out its charm despite its lack of narrative, replay value, and dull dialogue.
If indie gaming is just a state of mind then Ubisoft is getting increasingly good at encouraging it in their developers, especially in this novel plant-based platformer.
You should be left feeling bubbly after playing Grow Home. It's not perfect in execution, but given it was never meant to be a commercial product, it's easy to see why Ubisoft couldn't resist turning it into one - it's a bright, charming and original little game that has an irresistable sense of happiness to it.
The gaming mechanics of the title are quite fun and when mixed with these powerful vines that the player controls, it does create a sense of gaming wonder. Sure, it does lack replay value but if you want a few hours of escapism, this is definitely the answer!
While its intoxicated physics can lead to occasional despair, the overwhelming joy of the whole experience is a strong tonic, over the handful of hours it takes to get through, I couldn't help maintaining a smile.
Grow Home is a gorgeous title which acts as yet another example that not all games need to be hours upon hours long. Its unique climbing mechanics make for a tense and often terrifying time, while its endearing story grounds the entire experience. There are some niggling control issues, but the stunning presentation and subtle soundtrack round things out, ultimately making for a satisfying and adorable game.
Perhaps one of the biggest surprises is that Grow Home only costs eight dollars, which is a bargain for such an intriguing and inventive little game. Whether you're spending your time scrambling to out-of-reach grottos, enjoying the view from your glider, or harassing the sheep, Grow Home is well worth the climb.
Grow Home is fun and innovative experience that, unfortunately, gets weighed down by bugs with the climbing system, the iffy camera, and the repetitive audio effects. It's still a blast to play but it could've been much more.
For those with patience to get the hang of the quirky controls, Grow Home provides a lot to like. It's a cute game with nice ideas and a somewhat relaxed atmosphere. It's certainly pleasing to see a big publisher like Ubisoft trying out fresh ideas and, in Grow Home's case, it pays off well. The title only disappoints fundamentally in terms of its length - not because it's bad value at $8/£6, but because it causes cravings for more. With any luck maybe Ubisoft will see fit to take Reflections' project's little seed and grow a more fully-fledged game from it, because the ideas and style shown deserve to be seen again.
Rather clever physics-driven climbing mechanics marred by the game's lack of willingness to actually do anything with them. Still, Grow Home manages to be a cheap, pleasant surprise of exactly the sort we ought to encourage.
Grow Home is a better experiment than a game. The procedural animations of B.U.D. will instantly make him one of the best interactive robot companions you've ever had (no, seriously, HK-47 better watch his back). But the wondrous tension of ascending this Star plant is constantly hampered by the need to waste time collecting arbitrary trinkets so you can waste less time on your main mission.
Ultimately, Grow Home ends up feeling like a product you really want to love, but is unable to produce the content required to hook your attention. It presents a lovable character, but that character lacks a meaningful world to participate in. If there were better visuals or a stronger story, the strong main character would have been able to develop more and become an integral part of the game. As it is, the game is focused on sprouting vines, which is, no doubt, fun as hell. But that fun begins to fade away when you are forced to slowly make your way up a large tree, in what seems like the slowest way possible. As previously stated, Grow Home feels like a piece of a very enjoyable video game, but by itself it lacks the power to stand on its own two feet.
I can appreciate what Ubisoft Reflections was trying to attempt with Grow Home, but perhaps it should have been left as an experiment or a demo instead of as a game. Its appearance is intriguing, I'll give it that, but appearance doesn't make it any less tedious or frustrating. I noticed on Metacritic that several people have loved it, but for me, it was absolute torture.
The sad thing about the controls is that everything else in Grow Home is so well done. Exploring the world, gliding around on a leaf, climbing to the bottom of an island, and growing shoots to new areas are a lovable traits.
Even though its puzzle isn't very difficult, minus the falling, it does provide an entertaining experience. Perhaps Grow Home will evolve into something more someday. As it is right now, it's a short and sweet experience with a lot of free falling involved.
Grow Home is an endearing title. Throwing BUD around like a robotic rag-doll is a satisfying and heartwarming affair. For the price and duration it can’t be beat, a completely self-contained game that sets the expectations low and manages to deliver an amazing experience. It’s a cheap, silly, and quick experience that will leave your hands sweaty and MOM very proud of you.