Grow Home was a PS4/PC exclusive when it released back in September of 2015, and now Ubisoft has been kind enough to bring the sequel, Grow Up, to Xbox One as well. Grow Home was very well received on Steam, sitting at a rating of 9/10, but the main question that needed to be asked was whether Grow Up would do as well as its predecessor? As someone unable to play the original, due to lack of compatible format, I was looking forward to jumping into the adventures of BUD and MOM.
Grow Up: PlayStation 4, Xbox One [Reviewed], PC
Developer: Ubisoft Reflections
Release Date: 16 August 2016
Price: £7.99 [Disclosure: Game Copy Provided by Publisher]
After an unusually long loading screen into the starting menu, you are introduced to the story of BUD and MOM. After the spaceship you are travelling in (MOM) crashes onto a planet and breaks into a number of pieces, it is your job as BUD to round up those pieces and rebuild MOM so you can be reunited and get off the planet. This is your main aim in the game, but Grow Up has a whole lot more on offer you. In order for you to find all the pieces of MOM, you’ll have to master and acquire new abilities, as well as put the various plants on the planet to good use.
Each of the different plants on the planet can be scanned by players by jumping and grabbing onto each one. Once scanned, you can then plant a seed and grow any of these plants wherever you need them. This makes traversing the planet in Grow Up a lot easier, as a lot of unusual species of plant grow here. Whether you want a bouncing mushroom or a flying bud, you’ll have the opportunity to find, scan in and recreate them all at some point. A simple DNA style sign will show you new plants, so it’s easy enough for you to find the various plants, but do expect to find yourself exploring a lot to find them all.
In order to help you find each item throughout Grow Up is POD, a little robot that serves as a map for you to oversee the whole planet from above. It also points out all the various ship parts, pickups, teleporters and challenges that you can find, with the ability to put down a waypoint for wherever you want to go next. For a fairly big planet, this makes exploring and giving yourself a direction far more simple, as it can be easy with something that size to simply wander around aimlessly without actually getting anywhere. The aforementioned teleporters that show up on the map too are a handy way to assist you in getting around the planet. Grow Up helps you out with your exploring in a lot of cases without handing anything to you too easily.
While not looking for MOM parts, you’ll either be searching for crystals or completing challenges. Each crystal is scattered about the planet and make a slight noise when you’re near them, giving you an indication of which direction to head off in. There are 150 crystal’s to locate throughout Grow Up, the more the player collects these crystals, the better BUD becomes, thus unlocking special upgrades for your abilities. The challenges are simple in that you must go through a number of hoops and reach the end in the time limit, the difficulty of Grow Up‘s challenges vary from being able to jump through hoops simply to others that require a little more skill and concentration to accomplish. These serve as their own reward though, and are mainly available to offer players something different to do should you want it, there’s also an achievement tied to completing all of them.
BUD himself is a cute little thing to look at, but controlling him is not the easiest task in the world. Prepare to jump further than you wanted to, and struggle climbing up walls without falling off. The longer you play, the easier it becomes to get to grips with the weird movement of BUD. The rest of the planet and the general look of the game has a very futuristic feel to it. Apart from the obvious roundness of the planet, most things have a particular futuristic aesthetic to them, with lots of squares and sharp lines in the objects and landscapes on the planet. The slightly dull colours seem to somehow work really well with the robotic theme of the game and are accompanied by the various beeps and boops coming from BUD over a light and happy soundtrack. Ultimately, you’ve got something that is both simple to play and fun to look at.
One of the best things about Grow Up is that it doesn’t force you to go anywhere or do anything. If you want to simply wander the planet and say hi to the little creatures that inhabit the planet, you can, but if you want to scour for parts and crystals, you can do that too. There’s complete freedom here, and that means that you aren’t forced into anything; the order of completion is completely up to you. Grow Up is fun, simple and more than enjoyable to play and explore, and with only minor niggly flaws, it’s hard not to recommend the loveable story of BUD to anyone.
- Large planet to explore with various scannable plants, collectibles and challenges
- Freedom to explore what you want when you want, not forced into anything
- Futuristic yet simple look and feel to the game is effective
- Movement of BUD takes a while to get the hang of, hard to walk and climb often