The sequel to Ubisoft’s Grow Home is a charming follow up that gives gamers more to explore and collect, but ultimately fails to capitalize with further innovations.
People don’t tend to associate Ubisoft with anything less than Triple-A releases. Despite these public assessments, the publisher – known best amongst dedicated game players for Assassin’s Creed – has quite a laundry list of smaller projects releasing under the Ubi banner. One of the titles that only just recently made its way to digital storefronts was none other than Grow Up, a sequel to last year’s uniquely adorable Grow Home. Much to the delight of fans, the followup offers more of the same experience, but utilizes an all too similar formula that becomes stale over time.
For those unfamiliar with the ‘Grow‘ series, players take control of an adorable little robot known simply as B.U.D. as they explore the landscape in an effort to obtain and utilize plant life to go as high into the atmosphere as they possibly can – all while gathering different collectables and ship parts along the way. What’s more, this quirky 3D platformer also utilizes unique climbing mechanics associated with the right and left trigger buttons to scale to immense heights, which in turn helps to make the massive world that gamers find themselves in feel more like the playground that Ubisoft has intended.
While there’s little question that the protagonist is adorable, the tasks assigned to the crimson character are made so much more appealing by the environment that’s present in the final product. The graphical style is inviting and soothing, with the look of various insects and side characters that fill it further roping in users. The pairing of style and diversity is rather impressive, and the variety found across the entire world only helps to draw in those that are playing the game. Fortunately, the area is massive as well.
There are several different biomes that can be discovered, each offering unique flora that can be scanned and logged into the Pokedex-like Floradex 3000. Once filed away, B.U.D. can then unleash the various forms of foliage on a whim – carelessly hurling seeds about with a simple tap of a button. This ability is absolutely key to traversal, although Ubisoft has ensured that players know how intricately tied their own skill is to reaching new heights. Despite this, Grow Up‘s appeal is fleeting as a result of its progressively tiring premise.
The reality is that Grow Up‘s main objective (namely gathering all the parts of a shattered space ship) doesn’t take all that long to complete after several major plants and abilities have been secured. This is where fatigue begins to set in, as those that put a bow on the main game are then tasked with rounding up the remaining collectables. This is a subjective observation that is sure to hit players in different ways – as collect-a-thons are rather polarizing in their premise – but the thrill of gathering crystals is lessened after repeated execution.
With little else to do after wrapping up the core narrative, the thrill emanating from the handful of biomes begins to lose its grip, as redundancies begin to make themselves all too apparent. Admittedly, there is beauty to appreciate in the look and feel of the title and there’s fun to be had in scaling the various mountains and Star Plants littered about the landscape, but those that are looking for more will ultimately realise that it comes up short on that front.
It’s important to keep in mind the price point for this petite adventure ($9.99 USD) makes it an ever-enticing opportunity for gamers to explore the world B.U.D. finds himself on for those looking to kill some time and take in a world so lovingly pieced together by the studio Ubisoft Reflections. Even then, it’s important to keep in mind that the excitement peaks alongside Grow Up‘s invisible ceiling – failing to ascend to bigger heights from that point on.
Grow Up is available now on PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.