Grow Home - PC

Release Date:

February 04, 2015

Viewing USA:

Also on UK.
8.0

Summary:

In Grow Home you play B.U.D (Botanical. Utility. Droid), a robot on a mission to find the Star Plant and save his planet. Discover a strange open-world: a planet of floating islands, with precipitous drops, caves and waterfalls to navigate, all rendered in a minimalist but beautiful art style. Control B.U.D.’s hands independently to grab onto any surface and grow the Star Plant in any direction. As you gain altitude, you’ll soon be rapt in the beauty of the tranquil vistas.


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Posted:
2015-02-25

Steven_Shaw

Writer

PC Games

8.0

'Grow Home' on the PC is a platforming, adventure game created and developed by Ubisoft Reflections. The game was published by Ubisoft in February of 2015 and it quickly went on to become something of a cult classic.

2015 is the year of the story driven game and a small robot named 'B.U.D.' may be the most invigorating character that we've had the pleasure of taking control of. Mixing the best of cel shaded graphics and voxel gaming, 'Grow Home' brings an almost spiritual experience to the hands of gamers everywhere. The giant open world is inviting yet comfortable and your adventures never feel forced or frustrating, merely magical. The look of the game is unique and the controls are tight. With the praise out of the way, let's look at the nitty gritty involved in WHY you should be purchasing this game.

A charming look at a weirder than weird life.

You are B.U.D, a botanical utility droid, and your mission is to collect organic elements in order to grow shoots of Star Plants to a height of over 2,000 meters in order to collect rare and special seeds. The slugline to the game sounds absolutely ridiculous yet it is simple enough to captivate while difficult enough to keep players focused, at least to a certain degree.

Upon booting up the game and actually taking control of your robot you will be instilled with a sense of charm that hasn't been felt since the latest Pixar/Disney movie. B.U.D is a fantastic robot that emotes and creates empathy out of tiny little beeps and robotic whistles. The vivid world he lives in is beautiful and awe inspiring while being almost completely unique. Immediately we are reminded of a more refined version of the best N64 games. The polygonal world glows and leaps off of the screen with its colors and scope.

B.U.D. is a truly unique character in the world of gaming. Not unlike the famous film hero 'Wall-E', B.U.D. relies on both movement and bodily sounds to emphasize how he feels in certain situations. His arm and leg animations are smooth and refined and they make him breath in a world that could otherwise overlap the star of the show. When you are running in one direction and have to suddenly turn around you will see all of his limbs jerk in a realistic way so as not to lose his balance and go tumbling away.

B.U.D. may be on this journey alone but he is not without his superior, M.O.M. His on-board companion gives you encouragement throughout your adventures no matter what is happening on the screen. You could find one of the coveted stars or fall thousands of feet to your destruction, and 'her' support would be as strong as ever. She is a maternal presence in a game filled with childlike wonder. The game feels like an elaborate playground that exists merely to give a safe place for B.U.D. to grow as a being.

As you play the game you will be forced to interact with your environment in unique and special ways. As we talked about earlier, your primary mission is to grow a branch to the heavens in order to collect a special seed for M.O.M. As you do this you will traverse through floating islands and mountain rangers. You'll climb through the clouds and then into the stars. Your biggest opponent in the game isn't any single creature, but your own imagination and the gravity that will send you hurtling to death if you run too far with it. There are ways to best gravity, or at least bend it to your own will.

The trailer that released prior to the games publishing showcased an expansive world that B.U.D. could fly, float, fall, and climb through and all of those actions still exist. Some of the most magical moments of the game happen when you are traveling. Grabbing a leaf and floating to a separate level hundreds of yards away with nothing but the sky in front of you is an almost seminal experience. In these moments we are truly living with B.U.D. and his quest to grow for M.O.M.

We've gone this far without mentioning the controls in the game but now is the time. B.U.D. is a unique creature that is controlled via individual commands, rather than a conglomerated button. Don't worry, you aren't playing QWOP. But you are playing a game that insists that you pay attention. Each of B.U.D's limbs are controlled independently by their assigned key. This makes even simple acts like climbing a more interesting experience. The game doesn't want you to fail and that isn't why the controls have been separated like this. It doesn't make sense, but climbing with separate keys for each arm feels more natural. After awhile you won't even notice that you are doing it any more.

As you climb your way to the heavens you will find new power ups that grant your little robot a variety of special abilities. At the core of the game you aren't trying to 'defeat' anything. So don't expect to be shoehorned into odd combat scenarios that counter act the elegant nature of a voxel based platformer. What you want to do is create, not destroy. As you nurture the Star Plant back to life it will reward you. The more you create, the more you are given. M.O.M stands by your side in order to help you succeed. There is nothing in this game that begs you to fail.

Grow Home on the PC can be completed in three or four hours of dedicated playing. The act of collecting the stars isn't intrinsically difficult and adaptive players will quickly find their way to the top. At that point gamers have the chance to finish the game or return to exploring. Exploration is what will keep players in this game. You can find hidden caves, collect the hidden crystals, or build a unique world around your little robot. The game is unique and its lack of decided competition makes it so much more enjoyable. Beating 'Growing Home' feels a little like growing up.

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By:

Ubisoft

Release Date:

February 04, 2015

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