Xbox gamers didn’t get chance to play the lovable PC/PS4 release Grow Home, so Ubisoft return again with the clumsy robot B.U.D.
First things first, Grow Up feels very similar to the original Grow Home, and borrows the typical 3D adventure genre that was so familiar back on the Nintendo 64.
My initial impressions where somewhat less positive than now, with BUD’s legs flying around all over the place and controls that felt somewhat dated with a slightly awkward camera, however as you step into the Alien world things begin to change.
Bud is stranded on an alien world as his ship is wrecked and stretched to every corner of the planet, you’re quest to save M.O.M means plenty of verticallity and in-particular climbing.
The early stags feel a little awkward, the world feels so large (especially compared the Grow Home) and climbing each and every peak feels like a chore, but soon enough you’ll unlock the new bud feature, where our hero BUD can collect bud’s.
By clinging onto the side of one of the 20 something plants, and hitting X, you can collect a bud and use that to spawn the plant in a new location, this sounds like a game-making mechanic and it does work pretty well, however time and time again, I found the perfect plant for progression, coincidentally placed in the optimum position which kind of took the fun away from collecting the buds and learning about their benefits.
Stretching beyond the main 4-5 hours story, there are about 40 extra challenges you can pick up from P.O.D’s scattered around the planet, many of these give a little more use to the buds, but it’s still a shame it’s not an integral mechanic for the majority of the game, these challenges do however add some welcome longevity to the game once you’ve completed the initial quest of repairing MOM.
Anyone who has played Grow Home or seen a trailer of either game, will be aware that BUD looks a little clumsy, even walking looks messy and we won’t start on his climbing skills, but as you progress, BUD slowly becomes a little more useful in his endeavours to collect and re-build MOM, BUD will soon learn new abilities, which make traversing the world far easier and considerably quicker.
Firstly Air Brakes, flick out from BUD’s head and allow him to float great distances safely, next on the list is the Glider which helps whizz around the planet, with the third major attribute giving you the skill of rolling into a ball Sonic / Metroid style to deflect damage and get from A to B even quicker and before you know it, this larger world feels somewhat underwhelming while BUD just feels more and more like a walking (fast) tank.
Collecting crystals to power-up further adds to the value of the title, but you won’t be spending many hours past the story completion.
Graphically it felt very similar to gameplay in a way it seemed somewhat dated compared to what’s capable, but moving through the game, exploring the world and seeing the view from high above, the block textures suddenly look completely different.
Audio seems to fit the game perfectly, there’s the rhythmic melodies of background music playing along that set a peaceful and serene atmosphere and the chirp and beeps of BUD and POD are perfectly fitting and avoid ever feeling annoying, sadly one issue I kept coming back to was the camera control as this continually left me falling from great heights only to have the task of climbing back to where I was,
Thankfully within the pause menu you can change the inversion and sensitivity which went some way toward helping me keep my feet or hands in contact with something more than fresh air. Settings are pretty limited otherwise with only audio adjustments for music and sound effects, but you’ll also find Ubisoft club access which keeps up recent tradition and offers further rewards for meeting in game challenges, these are well worth checking out as there’s a selection of suits for Bud and three of these especially are well worth considering.
Grow Up might have limited appeal due to it’s more old fashioned approach, but it’s lovable nature and interesting climbing and bud-spawning mechanics make things feel somewhat fresh,
With a price of only £7.99 we can’t always expect longevity, but there’s certainly a good 6 hours (with challenges) which despite getting stuck a few times, was thoroughly enjoyable and easily recommended.
Fans of Grow Home will be pleased to see the franchise return with a slightly different angle, and newcomers may just fall in love with the little robot called BUD.