In 2015, Grow Home appeared out of nowhere as a side project from Ubisoft’s Reflections Studio, the studio made famous by the Driver series. I enjoyed it when it was first released, but I had a craving for a colourful bit of platforming recently and I decided it would fun to finish it. In the game you take control of a gangly little robot named BUD who has to, quite literally, grow home. Even a few years later, I am still impressed with the game’s art style. Its simple shapes that form the world are full of colour and everything is easy on the eyes. Even BUD himself is a simple, yet spirited creation, with floating limbs reminiscent of Rayman.
The ultimate goal of the game is to grab onto giant plant stems, growing them up into the sky and reach your MOM. The game’s core mechanic as a platformer has you using the triggers on your controller to grab onto any surface, including mountains and giant plants. It’s surprisingly fun. As you grow the main plant higher, you’ll reach wonderful floating land masses with strange animals, caves to explore and crystals to collect. Collecting crystals allows you to unlock upgrades to BUD, like a jetpack.
I found Grow Home to be a relaxing game to go back to. The primary challenge is wrapping your head around the climbing mechanics and movement of BUD. Once I got used to it, I was flinging BUD all over the place, climbing hundreds of meters into the sky. I managed to reach the the top of the game when I first played it, and going back to it in the last few days I finished collecting all the crystals. Picking up a glider leaf and soaring around those floating islands is still really fun. There are still more items to collect, but I feel like I have done enough now to cross Grown Home off my list.