Grow Big (or Go Home) Ultimate Edition – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle
Developer: Quarant Inc.
Publisher: Quarant Inc.
Platform: PC
Tested On: PC

Grow Big (or Go Home) Ultimate Edition – Review

Site Score
4.0
Good: Good music, decent graphics
Bad: Gameplay
User Score
2.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (1 vote cast)

The best puzzle games are those that make their players feel smart after finding a solution to their challenges. In order to achieve this, the puzzles presented must contain a certain amount of difficulty while still being fair instead of relying on cheap tricks. Grow Big (or Go Home) is not an example of this and is quite the opposite.

Story

Grow Big (or Go Home)’s story doesn’t feature much content, mostly serving as little more than a setting and a few quirky paragraphs presented at the start of each section. The game’s plot revolves around Bruce, a marvelous gardener capable of handling any plant in the planet who, throughout the game, will visit different settings and time periods hired by personalities such as Cleopatra or the Devil. That said, none of these other characters are ever seen, reduced instead to mere mentions in the aforementioned paragraphs, styled as newspaper cutouts which also contain the tutorials.

Graphics

The game’s graphics are surprisingly good, with quite decent pixel art and great level design. Each of the different levels is unique in its own right while still reflecting the style of the area it belongs to. That said, there are plenty of occasions where the hitboxes in said levels don’t actually match the visuals, leaving the players awkwardly stumbling to interact with the setting.

Sound

Similarly to the graphics department, the game’s sound is overall good, with a soundtrack including several different songs which play throughout the different areas. That said, the SFX are not as good, with some sounding cheaply made and out of place when compared to the rest. It is worth noting how the music often doesn’t match the gameplay, with highly energetic tracks playing in the background while the player stands in place waiting.

Gameplay

Grow Big (or Go Home)’s gameplay belongs to the puzzle genre, more specifically being a timing puzzle. Players will be tasked with providing plants with enough light and water for them to grow, using an array of mirrors in direct sunlight in order to do so, all the while preventing them from burning.

In each level, players will encounter one or more rays of sunlight slowly moving across the screen. Upon reaching a plant, these rays will provide it with light, increasing a meter on the side, at the risk of making them burn upon being too high. For those plants not in the path of these rays, players will need to position the mirrors provided in the sunlight in order to redirect part of it towards them. As one may guess, this soon becomes a wild goose chase, as the player must manually reposition and rotate the mirrors.

At seemingly random intervals, the plants will also need to be watered, their growth being hindered otherwise. To do so, players will need to fill their watering can on the provided fountain and manually water the plant, having to repeat the whole process for each of them. The watering can has another more specific use, that being putting out the fires started when plants receive too much light; if left alone, burning plants will quickly start to deteriorate and lose growth levels.

Later on into the game, a few other mechanics will be introduced, these boiling down to fans and “enemies”. The fans will be utilized to blow away the toxic powder emitted by certain types of plants in order to water them, while on the other hand the enemies will be little pests who will knock down the plant pots if left alone. In order to prevent these critters from achieving their misdeeds, players will need to scare them away with a broom or alarm button.

In each of the levels, players will obtain certain scores depending on their performance, with the highest rating being achieved by growing all the plants to their fullest. By obtaining stars, new costumes for Bruce will become available on each area.

After beating all the levels in the game, amounting to 16 in total, the hard mode for each of these will unlock. These hard mode levels will present the same structure as the original level but with more challenge, increasing the total amount of levels to 32. To top this off, the final 17th level will be a randomized one each time, offering some amount of replayability.

Conclusion

Grow Big (or Go Home) is a rather bland and uninspired so-called puzzle game where the mechanics barely develop past the starting point. At a selling point of $8.99/€7,39/£6.19, the game is not particularly expensive, although waiting for a sale is more than encouraged, with barely an hour of gameplay offered for those uninterested on achieving perfect scores. It is also worth mentioning how much of a buggy mess the game is, with the already mentioned hitbox issue being one of many. Other notable bugs include Bruce starting with one of the costumes equipped, interactions not triggering and achievements staying locked after completion.

Personal Opinion

“It is pretty surprising how much of a boring mess Grow Big was. By forcing players to rely on slowly moving sunlight rays, the game effectively makes them do nothing for a while before throwing them into a frenzy once they need to move the mirrors and water several plants at the same time. It is even worse in the later levels once the other mechanics are introduced, being mostly dropped after their designated area and only brought back on a pair of levels. It was particularly annoying how most of the perfect scores relied on incredibly precise timing with barely any workarounds, in one of the most egregious cases of artificial difficulty I’ve ever seen. Each time I missed a smidgen of a sunlight spot I knew it was time to give up and restart, since I wouldn’t be able to interact with one of the plants anymore. Funnily enough, if players don’t bother attempting to get these perfect scores, the game is incredibly easy, with 4.5 scores out of 5 consistently while barely trying.”

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 2.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
Grow Big (or Go Home) Ultimate Edition - Review, 2.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

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