Grow Home came about through developers at Ubisoft Reflections messing about with procedural animation in the Unity engine. The developers had so much fun with the little project that they decided to make a game out of it.
In Grow Home you play as the little red robot, B.U.D. As B.U.D you are tasked with growing a plant ( a giant beanstalk) up into the sky, to oxygenate his home planet. To increase the size of the “Star Plant”, you have to climb up the plant and grow “Star Shoots”. These Star Shoots only grow a certain amount, and they need to be directed into a floating island, in order to take its power.
This all sounds rather dull and perhaps a tad complicated, but M.O.M is there to guide you through the blocky, colourful environments. B.U.D is tricky to control, so to have someone guiding you on your way is very helpful. B.U.D moves like a drunk newborn animal, caught in a continual state of almost falling over. He builds up speed as he moves, and turning is quite difficult, but climbing is easier.
You control both of B.U.D’s arms, and they can grab anything. Climbing sheer cliff-faces is a doddle, just as jumping between floating islands and grabbing a hold of them is actually quite easy. It’s fun too. Grabbing animals and plants, B.U.D can drag them back to teleportation pads found throughout the game’s open world. Dragging animals and plants back to these pads scans them in, giving you details on the wildlife through the eyes of M.O.M, the on-board computer.
For a game with such odd controls, it is actually very smooth and after an hour or so, you will pick them up. The trouble is, after an hour, there isn’t much of the game left to play. Grow Home is very, very short, and not particularly difficult once you get used to the controls. It can get a little repetitive too, and climbing up the beanstalk can drag on.
Luckily, to get away from the slight monotony of it all, you can go off in search of crystals. These crystals, once enough are collected level up B.U.D, giving him extra abilities such as a jet-pack. There are one-hundred crystals in total to collect, and finding them all does add some replay-ability to Grow Home, but it’s not the most exciting stuff.
Grow Home isn’t an exciting game, but I found playing it relaxing. With a minimalist score and graphics, I would find myself playing Grow Home after a stressful day, just kind of wandering about, taking in the sights. It’s a pleasant game, sure, but it’s not excellent.
Grow Home is an odd, unique game. It’s fun, but unfortunately it is very short. The controls take some getting used to as well, with B.U.D controlling like a drunk newborn animal. It looks great, and if on sale, you can certainly do much worse.