(Review Version – iOS)
Have you ever thought about throwing vegetables at monsters with a huge catapult? No, us neither but thats exactly what you will be doing in Grow Away. The aim of the game is simple, a clan of hungry monster are descending the hill towards you and you need to use a catapult and your vegetable characters to take them out before they reach the bottom of the hill where you are vacating. Grow Away is a game in its own right but it really did remind me of Plants Vs Zombies in the way the whole experience is all set up.
Using the catapult at the bottom of the screen is easy enough. Pull back and aim left or right and let go to release. That is basically it. Its very simplistic in the way its implemented. Each level features a different style and amount of monsters for your to deal with. The first couple of levels that are thrown at you are simple affairs that take just one hit with your character (a tomato I might add) to kill any monsters that are progressing your way and the early stages will not cause too many problems for your progression further. The further you do progress though, Monsters with hardened shells and lumbering monsters make an appearance which will keep you on your toes. With harder monsters to deal with the further you progress, you are equipped with stronger vegetables that have special abilities and can cause more damage to the nasties that are trying to attack you. Pumpkins for instance can take out a group of monsters at any given time while a chestnut will cause an explosion. Grow Away also features power-ups that can help you out in a tight spot such as fire bombs and tornadoes can cause destruction with one hit. The game also features a shop where you can buy more power-ups using the in-game currency you have collected from each level.
Grow Away features 64 levels spread across 4 worlds (Green Plain, Plague Jungle, Chilly Mountain and Yellow Stone Ridge) and at the end of each world, a boss awaits you, which for many games these day, especially on a mobile device is a rarity. Hats off to Chillingo for implementing this as its a refreshing change to the norm.
Although Grow Away is an enjoyable game in bursts and in its implementation, it does everything fine, there are still issues with the package as a whole. First off, the gameplay itself becomes slightly repetitive over a long and sustained period of time due to the simplistic arcade style gameplay and because the gameplay is very linear and basic, it starts to feel a bit dull and bland. Graphically it isn’t a showcase either unfortunately. While its bright and colourful, it looks very dated and lacking that added polish that we see in so many other mobile games these days. The last slight issue is with the way the game runs itself. While for the majority of my play-test with Grow Away felt and run smoothly, there were parts where lag played a part and the gameplay became sluggish and slightly unresponsive but with an update, this can be fixed I’m sure.
Grow Away is a game that at first feels enjoyable, but due to its repetitive nature, becomes rather stale quickly. It’s a shame as with more a bit polish and variety on the gameplay front, this could have been a title that deserved its place at the top of the pile . Yes, it will give you some fun moments along the way, but for the most part it’s a title that feels like its trying too hard.