From little acorns big Oak trees grow. So goes the saying and it fits Ubisoft’s new indie-style title, Grow Up, nicely.
The sequel to Grow Home is bigger in every way (it’s now on multiple consoles, too) and yet retains the same DNA and all the same charm of the original game. That’s good, as Ubisoft’s game really deserves to be played by more people.
The challenge remains similar to the previous game; collect parts for your damaged spacecraft, Mother, as you explore the strange planet and find ways to move across (and, usually, up) through the mini-biospheres.
Main character, Bud, now has a few more tricks up his sleeve to get around the sprawling natural world, including a glider and rocket pack. He’s going to need them, too, as some of the parts are way up high. The only way to get to most of these far away ledges, though, is by growing the 4 starplants (the giant beanstalk-like plant from the first game) which he can then climb. The starplants need to be fed with energy from little floating islands, which then grow them more and Bud needs to ride on small branches to guide them towards the islands.
While some of the higher ledges are breath-taking and the whole world, including its humorous insect inhabitants, are pretty cute, the game does often make you lumber through it. You’re not going anywhere in a rush here, but it suits the pace of the game to prevent you from going too fast. The new glider does speed things up a little but its control system is problematic (possibly deliberate) at higher speeds.
Another new feature is your small drone friend P.O.D. who allows you to see the map from a bird’s eye view, giving you markers to head to and checking for hidden parts and items. You’ll certainly need him, the world here is vastly bigger than in the first game and getting lost is easy, even with P.O.D.s help.
In between the main task and general sightseeing, there are races and challenges to undertake. Most of the races involve using your glider and rocket pack, so getting used to using them is imperative (and it does take practice)
Grow Up is a great sequel which expands on the original’s idea and creates new reasons to return to Bud’s adventure. Let’s hope Ubisoft make this a trilogy.