In the world of Grow, even the seafood loves seafood.
In Grow your task is simple, consume everything that’s smaller than you are. The core idea isn’t far different from something like Katamari Damacy but in reality the game plays quite differently. Using a virtual joystick in the corner of the screen you take full analog control of a small fish from a 2D side view, making the game feel more like a goal orientated cartoonish version of fl0w. The tasks you are set don’t have much variety to them; you’re either trying to stay alive for a set time limit or trying to grow to a set size, all the while trying to avoid larger fish that are gunning for you. Fortunately what Grow lacks in variations of tasked objectives, it makes up for in variety elsewhere.
Between the half a dozen enemies each with their own powers and also nearly twenty different upgrades to purchase, there’s enough changing as you go through the sixty odd stages in the game’s adventure mode to keep you engaged rather than fatigued. A typical early power of some of the other fish is the ability to bloat themselves out making themselves larger and thus you’ll have to be larger than their inflated size to eat them (or wait till they deflate) another will draw you towards it making it hard to escape in a hurry. Each of the special powers used by other fish can be collected and used by yourself during a level and once you purchase the ability to store a pair of powerups you can even combo these powers together and do crazy things like increasing your size and also pulling in nearby fish to a rather devastating effect. Combos are also exactly what you’ll be wanting to shoot for if you want to get three stars on each level. Each time you eat a fish your combo meter increases giving you the oppotunity to get high scores as the longer you stay away from the action the further your multiplier drops. Getting a high score isn’t usually a large challenge and I found that I was hitting between 2-3 stars on my first attempt, at least until the last habitat.
Along with boosting your score, eating other fish also scatters some coins that can be collected and used to unlock permanent boosts to your fish such as increasing the duration of the powers that can be found in levels or boosting your top speed. By the time you’ve beaten the adventure mode there’ll still be plenty of stuff to unlock in the shop and this is when you’ll want to turn to the survival mode (or perhaps replay the awesome last world of the adventure) to get those additional coins that’ll make it easier for those completists to three star any remaining levels.
It’ll take a good chunk of time to play through all the adventure levels in Grow even with their simplistic difficulty, but it’s a unique and enjoyable ride that’s worth returning to once its done.