Games of the Year

Grow Home

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In Grow Home you play as BUD (Botanical Utility Droid), a robot on a mission to save his home planet by harvesting the seeds of a giant alien plant. On his quest BUD will discover a beautiful world of floating islands that are home to some rather strange plants and animals. Grow the giant plant and use your unique climbing abilities to reach ever higher ground, but be careful…one wrong move and it’s a long way down! Key Features Climbing: Procedural animation allows you to move BUD's hands independently, creating a unique and unrestricted climbing experience. Growing: Guide and ride the giant alien plant as you create your own pathways in the sky. Everything you grow can be climbed on. Use it as a bridge, a safety net, or simply as a tool for artistic expression.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Not every game needs to be a 50+ hours epic adventure and Grow Home is living proof of that. An excellent, relaxing, endearing and often funny exploration game that'll serve as an excellent diversion from "gitting gud" in your more demanding games. Recommended.

Review from Steam

The funny robot man climbs
10/10

Review from Steam

In almost every facet, Grow Home feels like an indie title. Yet, this game actually comes from a small team at Ubisoft, a developer who I’ve grown pretty tired of over the years due to a series of bloated, formulaic releases which aim for quantity over quality. It makes me happy to report, then, that Grow Home is not only the antithesis of modern Ubisoft, but also a very unique platforming experience in terms of both mechanics and atmosphere.
The premise is simple; you play as a robot dropped onto an alien planet to grow a huge plant to its limit, climbing as it extends to reach some vital resources at the top. This is all the plot there is to speak of, placing the focus of this game on your journey up to the sky. Unlike most platformers which involve jumping between various surfaces to reach your goal, you will mostly traverse this game’s environment through a free-climbing system. You’ll begin by gripping one hand on a surface using a controller bumper, use the left stick to position your free hand, and then press the alternate bumper whilst letting go of the first bumper. This is a simple yet intuitive system that essentially allows for complete freedom with how you go about your climb, further contrasting from other titles which limit climbing to specific cliff protrusions. Whilst it took a short while to get the hang of it, adopting a consistent climbing rhythm felt very engaging, and reaching the next checkpoint of safety was always rewarding as I had to enact every little movement to make that happen.
The other mechanic that is required for progression involves controlling star shoots. These are placed consistently along the body of the plant which, when grabbed, will fire outwards whilst allowing you to control their movement. You can use them to curl around the main body of the plant, make passage to the local floating islands easier, or just create a crazy-looking plant and avoid the main objective altogether. I enjoyed creating shoots which went upwards initially but end relatively flat, providing extra platforms to break up the climb. How you use these shoots is ultimately your choice; their only essential purpose is to connect the main plant to islands with a light-green body which will give the plant the energy it needs to grow. The plant will eventually connect to two fully explorable large islands, and while you can completely avoid these if you so choose, there are interesting creatures, caves and collectibles to find within them that makes these detours worth taking.
There are also some optional tools that can help speed up the journey and reduce the risk of falling. Growing the plant will reveal many leaves you can bounce on, and the surrounding islands offer flower gliders that allow you to cross larger distances and correct for small climbing mistakes. By collecting a series of blue crystals hidden around the islands, you’ll unlock and upgrade a jetpack which is really fun to use, whilst not making climbing redundant due to its initial limited capacity. While the general procedure of reaching the top will be the same for everyone, the path you take and the tools you use to get there will be different per person, per playthrough; no two journeys will be the same.
The game is clearly intended to be a relaxing experience, with many design choices helping to achieve this. The game features no combat, with all creatures you come across being non-hostile, and no AI that will attempt to halt your climb. It is possible to die by falling a considerable distance, but death ultimately has little consequence, with a series of respawn points placed so that you’ll never be too far away from your point of failure. The soundtrack takes clear inspiration from ambient music, with a light collage of electronic sounds accompanying you through all parts of the world. This all occurs in a world with an art style that is partially inspired by Minecraft with the semi-blocky nature of all objects, but is also partially unique, with bright greens and blues dominating the surroundings, creating a very colourful environment in spite of the limited colour palette. All of these elements help to create an experience that is really serene, easily helping me to unwind after a stressful day.
The game is overall not very long, only taking about ninety minutes to two hours to reach the top, but a couple of extra optional objectives, the collectible crystals, and a varied set of achievements help to extend the value of this package. The game doesn’t want you to stress over checking every inch of the map to complete these tasks: useful hints provide a general sense of direction without an immediate solution, and once you collect enough crystals, a radar will appear when you are in close proximity of the remaining ones. This makes completing the activity quite enjoyable, and the unlimited capacity jetpack at the end certainly makes it rewarding. However, there are unfortunately a couple of achievements which are simply “do X thing for X time/distance”, the requirements of which you are unlikely to complete even if you finish up everything else before realising they’re the only things left. As a completionist, I found these to be very tedious, feeling out of place in a game that otherwise offers a very solid five hours of worthwhile content.
I played this game entirely on the Steam Deck, and I’m happy to report it worked pretty much perfectly out of the box, likely achieving a Verified status when Valve gets around to it. While the frame rate hovered around 30-40fps much of the time, this did not bother me as this isn’t an experience that needs high frame rates to feel good to play. It may be worth trying the Experimental compatibility layer however, as the game felt even smoother on that as opposed to the default compatibility layer which I used to complete the game initially. It is also worth noting that, if you are bothered by Ubisoft’s launcher, do not worry as this game does not require you to install it to play.
Overall, Grow Home is a hidden gem that approaches the platforming genre differently. Its commitment to relaxation and freedom is consistent, and it rarely outstays its welcome despite the simplicity of its mechanics. I look forward to checking out the sequel!
8/10 – Click here to see what my review scores mean!
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Review from Steam

I am playing this single player game with my 4 year daughter at the moment. She loves the robot and the way he moves. The is a simple game, grow the plant and recover your battery cells for some powerups. Plus drag some of the plants and animals into the teleporters to have them scanned.
We both enjoy the visual style and the challenge of growing the plant upwards to your goal.
Recommended.

Review from Steam

It's a fun little game that only takes a few hours to beat and less than 10 hours to 100%. The main character is sometimes finicky to control, but it's still fun to climb up the massive plant to get to the rocket ship at the end. Not hard at all, but falling off can set you back 10-15 minutes if you're not careful. At first I tried to play with mouse and keyboard but quickly switched to the controller as it is the better experience. If it's a few dollars on steam/on a sale, I'd recommend it.

Review from Steam

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Review from Steam

Grow Home is a simple premise done remarkably well in such a small package and a refreshingly unique experience. Growing vines to traverse the floating islands to reach your goal, branching out to find the optional crystals, optional crystals unlock abilities that make getting around easier. Every element of gameplay bounces off the other nicely, the sense of scale once you get really high up is fantastic, and the sound design has some real punch and crunch to it that makes riding around on vines 1000m up in the air incredibly satisfying.

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