Looking through my Steam screenshots folder, it reminds me that there are a number of games I thought interesting enough to take screenshots of, but then never got round to doing an article on. Grow Home is one of these, and because it's pretty I'm going to do a post now. In short, you play a robot tasked with growing a special plant to a suitably massive size, probably so it can be harvested for something of value - it's been long enough that I've forgotten any detailed plot information. Not that it matters, since the game is more about the joy of exploring and moving around the world than why you're doing it.
Your robot character moves based on physics as well as your input, so if you are too aggressive with the forward button over rough/sloping terrain, expect to slip over! Climbing is similar, with a button each for your left/right arms, to prompt them to stretch out and try to grab onto any solid ground nearby. It works well, making the act of climbing involved without becoming irritating. Although there are certainly moments where trying to get your arms to do what you want proves awkward, it's usually appropriate (trying to climb up from the underside of a spherical kind of island, for instance).
As far as I could tell, there's no penalty for failure apart from lost progress - you can smash into pieces if you fall from too high up, but reform on one of the teleporters which you activate as you explore, and which then serve as respawn points and fast travel stations. The floating islands have plenty of the daisy-like plants which act as parachutes for you, and you get a jetpack before too long, so there are lots of ways to avoid falling to an inglorious explosion of robot pieces.
And what purpose does all this movement serve? You're aiming to reach certain budding shoots from your objective plant, which you then ride as they grow out, with your aim being to slam them into certain floating islands with the right kind of energy in them. Do this enough times, and the main plant grows much bigger, unlocking access to a new stage. At the same time, you can be collecting the plant or animal life you find, dragging it to a teleporter in order to formally identify it. I'm not sure if this serves any game purpose or if it's just for fun, but I enjoyed it. Watching my little robot trying to drag huge plants almost as big as him around was most amusing.
However, despite all the fun I had with the game, and how lovely it is in terms of visuals and atmosphere, I only have 58 minutes recorded in Steam, and after my first play session I haven't returned. When I quit that first session I had just grown the main plant, and had been climbing it to get to the next bit of floating landmass, when I slipped, or tried an overambitious jump, or something. Either way, I lost my progress and couldn't be bothered to climb the plant again at that moment.
The game most likely has more to offer, but I'm not sure the core gameplay is going to hold my attention enough for me to play long enough to find it. I bought the game on sale, and I honestly feel like I've probably already got enough out of it to justify the price, but then I have so many games I haven't found time to play yet that it's almost a relief to not feel like I need or want to play more of this one. I very much enjoyed visiting Grow Home's world, but having had a taste of the general ambience, I'm not sure there's anything truly exciting left to discover.
What's All this then?
I like making and writing about PC games - mostly strategy games. Expect after action reports, thoughts about design and gameplay, and maybe even a few prototypes.