The worlds of nature and technology have always been somewhat at odds with one another, but in Ubisoft’s game, Grow Home, both worlds exist in harmony. In this game, a tiny robot named the Botanical Utility Droid, or B.U.D., must grow a giant plant stalk that will take him back to his mothership. The graphics are reminiscent of old Nintendo video games, but the animation is fluid and smooth.
B.U.D. responds to every single command the player gives him with momentum. Getting him to move in one direction and then abruptly changing directions will cause him to stumble over himself. As he climbs, he visibly stretches his arms forward when attempting to grab a space. When he jumps, his arms and legs flail around, madly fighting gravity.
B.U.D. can be difficult to control initially, especially when climbing. He has two arms, controlled separately, which require a large amount of coordination. After playing for a little while, it is easy to figure out and by the end of the game every motion is second nature.
Though he never speaks, B.U.D. is extremely emotive through his movements and facial expressions. He is in awe of the world around him, and his childlike excitement adds no small amount of charm to his personality. To emphasize B.U.D.’s childlike quality, his only contact throughout the game is an unseen character called M.O.M., who guides him through the world.
In terms of setting, Grow Home is both limited and expansive. The overall objective of the game is pretty straightforward and there is a definite path from beginning to end that the player can follow. It is entirely possible to complete the game in a matter of hours, simply by following this path to the end.
The world itself is filled with deep caverns, distant floating islands and plenty of collectibles to make exploring worthwhile. Though these side quests do not add to the story, they make the atmosphere of the game more mystical and enchanting, which is what ties it all together. The colors, motions, fluidity, blocky graphics and tiny details throughout are what make this game a delight. The game itself is a basic jump-and-climb game, but the atmosphere adds a level of originality and charm that make it worth playing.