A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Grow Home is a downloadable adventure that's good, clean fun. Kids will appreciate the open nature of the world, which encourages exploration -- and although the world seems vast, it actually is focused and does a great job of clueing you in to where to go even if you feel lost. Your objective is to plant seeds, guide beanstalks to other floating island-pods, and keep climbing up to make your planet come back to life.
What's it about?
GROW HOME is light on story, making all the room for delight and dazzle. You play as B.U.D. (Botanical Utility Droid), set loose on your home planet to oxygenate and nurture it back to health and prosperity. You can investigate fauna and local lifeforms, but your main objective is to keep planting, climbing, and repeating. It sounds simple and as if it might get repetitive, but it isn't and it doesn't -- even though that really is all the action of the game.
Is it any good?
Simply put, Grow Home is sublime. Kids will love the exploration and B.U.D.'s goofy, underdog nature: He awkwardly steps and hops around like a baby chick and emits fascinated gurgles and digitized "uh-oh" beeps when he finds himself in precarious situations, which will happen a lot. You'll spend most of your time in Grow Home climbing bean stalks and seizing growing flowers to grow more vines that take you to other faraway floating islands. Some of these islands contain gems you also can scoop up to unlock new abilities for B.U.D., such as zooming out for a better lay of the land, or you can get a jet pack to buy you some more time in the air as you float and follow your whims to save the planet.
From the get-go, you catch on to how the game works. It's simple but can be deceptively challenging -- it's able to goad you into doing ridiculous stunts such as jungle-gymming your way with B.U.D.'s gripping claws all the way under floating islands. Since there are no enemies, you're free to try going anywhere and everywhere. And since you're rewarded for wanderlust by uncovering spooky caves and save points, the point of the game is to tinker and go wherever you think you're supposed to -- and wherever you think you might not. It's fun and focused and a really enjoyable time.
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