Review: Grow Up
With only ten days between its announcement and its release, Grow Home was clearly one of the surprises of 2015 from Ubisoft, which we review on PC. Created by a small group within Ubisoft Reflections studios, it almost became the perfect ambassador of a different approach to games from the giant publisher, adding charm and originality to the industry like it did with Rayman back in the early 1990s.
Platformers in general are all about the accuracy of the pixels in a jump, and most follow this same rules from the iconic Super Mario to the Sackboy in Little Big Planet. This reality has not prevented the 8 developers Ubisoft Reflections studio known for his work on the Driver series, to develop a platformer game with procedural… Well, platforms. And like “the petit Prince”, B.U.D must climb the sky to reach the moon, while searching for scattered pieces of the mothership, smartly named M.O.M. The procedural aspect is built-in the sense that platforms and levels are built on the spot, and our trusty BUD will need to find his way in a 360 degrees radius to reach the missing pieces and moon, as well as one of the wackiest control pattern/scheme I’ve used (which will take a good 10 minute for people to get used to), as if trying to control a rag doll. Once a bit of training done (for you newcomers that didn’t play the previous Grow Home), you will discover than our little robot has a talent for climbing, great power but no real responsibilities.
To control BUD, you’ll need to perform a singular pattern of finger gymnastics by using the back trigger buttons, to control both hands to make them cling to any surface. Once grabbed, just alternate between pressing left and right to let go and grab with each of the hands to climb away. This capability allows the most beautiful climbs but also serves as a safeguard to stop the robot falling to a crash. This learning phase is mandatory and necessary but does not last long as we end up discovering fun place and the rest of the game ingenious concept, which is using plants discovered to your needs, by cloning/planting them at will to create mushroom-shaped trampolines or pollen canon flowers. Absolutely not mandatory to the experience, these plants add to the whole experimental aspect that works great in this game
If the lack of diversity made you add Grow Home to your gaming backlog, Grow Up completely revises the concept from the ground up, with actual objectives, while even becoming a small open world game. Growing upward (thus the name) is greatly described by a gauge that shows up as you destroy your previous record, and adds a lot of verticality lacking from the original. In addition to an arsenal of plants, BUD will also get five new abilities to simplify his life, including the jet-pack for example, which as you unearth the hidden gems across the world, fuel supply will be enhanced for this device to almost allow you to mimic the Iron Man. This kind of sidequest of collecting jewels is a key secondary objectives, on top of challenges and timed trials that add a little spice to the game recipe.
If the jewels improve skills and tools upgrades, beating the challenges allow you to get outfits for Bud, some affecting the way you handle the robot. The most fun I had thought was discovering that BUD can roll itself into a ball and build up speed to propel himself ever further, which was an indirect homage to Sonic.
When it comes to the graphics rendering as well as the technical mechanics of the game, Grow Up is very similar to Grow Home. The game is warm and colorful but can have some weird stutters when it comes to the animations of a giant plant being grown, or as you have too many things moving around. nevertheless, Ubisoft Reflections’ game is overflowing with emotions, with a discreet humor and a way of perfectly fitting for a nice relaxing game session after a hard work day in the real life.
Grow Up was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code provided by Ubisoft Middle East.This game is also available on PlayStation 4 and PC in digital releases. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• A clunky but fun character
• Really colorful
• A more vertical level design
• A rhythmical progression
• Great gameplay additions
• Random freezes and stutters
• Average lifespan
• A bit quiet on the soundtrack side