Grow Home

Grow Home is a fantastically creative game that needs to be lauded as one of the best things that has come out of Ubisoft in years.

By Artemis, Posted 30 Aug 2015

The Unity engine has come under fire as of late for being the engine of choice for people putting less savory products on Steam Greenlight. What happens when a big developer like Ubisoft Reflections uses its assets to make a game that is quite different from their normal line up? Well, you'd get Grow Home, a delightfully quaint title about a little Robot named B.U.D. (Botanical Utility Droid), who is trying to oxygenate his home world by growing and climbing the Star Seed in order to harvest its seeds.

Grow Home BUD vine

Grow Home is a brightly colored game with low-polygon minimalistic graphics that never once takes away from the world of this odd little planet. The music is simplistic and otherworldly, giving one the sense that they are indeed on some sort of alien world with the tiny robot. There are only three tracks but they never drone on forever, it just sounds like it's part of the background in a good way. The player can run around his open world, doing whatever they want within B.U.D.'s current capabilities. The player uses the little robot's hands to climb up big things and can gather small things from the world, like flowers that help you fall slower and leaf hand gliders that allow you to soar across the planet for as long as you hold on. While this isn't necessary, if B.U.D. collects crystals that are scattered all across the world, it'll give B.U.D. a jetpack boost. Whenever you collect a certain number, the amount of time you can hover or fly around gets doubled. It's a brief power up, but used in conjunction with the other items it makes the experience all the more enjoyable.

Each environment is varied in some way and you're given opportune time to explore while you're trying to ride the start seeds up to the nearest floating island in the sky to make that beanstalk thing grow taller. The climbing controls are solid; one arm after the other, you move our little robot slowly up the stalk with expert precision. Note how I said expert precision; Grow Home is a game that is very on the nose with the controls, you need to be careful constantly as you move because at any time you have the potential to fall. At the beginning of the game it is implied that B.U.D. isn't the first of their kind and they certainly won't be the last. It's just another model in the long line of the same Robot and because of that, one might expect slight bugginess to his movement, but the problem is that at times when B.U.D. is stumbling about because of a strong gust of wind, or because you're moving too fast it may cause you to accidentally misstep and fall to your death. It's understandable that they wanted to convey that B.U.D. was not a perfect model, but the tiny issue with this is that Grow Home is partially a platforming game, and having your little Robot friend suddenly stumble and fall off a floating island can get frustrating. Once you get used to it and are able to tell when he's going to fall or completely collapse in on itself it gets considerably easier, but still this could potentially be a massive turn off for people since this does interfere with the preciseness of the plat forming that the game expects you to have. It's not enough to ruin the experience, but it does sour it slightly.

Grow Home BUD jump

Throughout the game you can also do little side missions beyond just gathering crystals, such as taking pieces of wildlife or plant life over to the scanning machine so you can find out just what it is from M.O.M. It's a difficult task since the animals actually fight back if you try to drag them to the teleporter and you actually get an achievement if you manage to do it. What makes it worth it is the fact that M.O.M. Is like a less murderous version of G.L.A.D.O.S.; she makes witty commentary about your actions and will often comment upon the plants and animals you bring to her. Some of it is quite cute as she's trying to figure out how things like dodo birds have survived for as long as they have, and some come off as delightfully sinister, like talking about the possibility of eating a dodo bird, but then she remembers she's a machine and doesn't have a stomach. Whenever you die she tends to say something in response and it never gets old. It's not quite pitch black humor, but she does say things like “You're doing great,” after you see B.U.D. smashed against some rocks as it fell from several stories up in the air.

Grow Home MOM fungus

The game on its own isn't that difficult, mostly because it leaves you tons of options to progress throughout the game. It's pretty open ended on what sort of vine route you want to make in order to get the Star Seed to grow larger, and it allows for tons of different growth possibilities and ways for you to get the job done. Whenever you start growing a shoot out of the Star Seed, B.U.D. finds himself tossed and turned around, forcing the player to knuckle down and get control of the vine before it grows to its full extent. A great thing is that the vine isn't rendered useless if you don't hit your mark, you can actually use other parts of it to continue growing and that shoot has the possibility of growing more shoots from the Star Seed. There's no one way of doing things, there's dozens of different ways that leaves the world itself very open ended.

Now, after you succeed in your mission, you are given a chance to continue in your world with a secondary main mission, allowing you to gather more Star Seeds and still explore the word. When you complete certain tasks, you unlock new outfits for B.U.D., so it does pay to attempt to get the achievements for some bonus content in game.

Grow Home is a fantastically creative game that needs to be lauded as one of the best things that has come out of Ubisoft in years. It's warm, it's fun, it has some dark humor and it's just a wonderful ride for everyone.

Angelina Bonilla, NoobFeed (@Twitter)

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General Information

Grow Home


Platform(s): PC, PS4
Publisher(s): Ubisoft
Developer(s): Reflections, a Ubisoft Studio
Genres: Platformer
Themes: Open World, Adventure
Release Date: 04-02-2015

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