Eight-Step Plan

I the Grow games. I really, really them , even though I’m the kind of guy who’d rather gouge his eyes out with his Big Daddy figurine than ever see, say, a Hello Kitty image again. These, though, are genuine, not contrived, Japanese cute.

If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, they’re Flash puzzle games based around increasing visual reward. You select which one of a handful of icons to push, and a minor or major change will duly occur in the impossibly endearing cartoon landscape above. Push them in the right order and the world will gradually grow into an increasingly complex and charming animated scene, your latest action interacting with previous ones to grow them into new, usually very silly, forms. Push them in the wrong order and it’ll all be over fairly quickly – and tiny bubble men may even die, causing everyone you know to brand you some sort of inhuman monster.

A new installment, Grow Island, has just been released. The theme here is technology – should environmentalism come before aviation, or mechanics before electricity? There are only eight buttons, but an incredible number of combinations – you’ll lose a good half an hour to this single screen. Finding the right order is a matter mostly of luck and memory; there is a vague internal logic behind it, but you’ll only really get your head around it after a lot of unsuccessful experimentation.

Yes, there is a walkthrough, but I’m not going to link to it. It’s about the journey, not the destination, and all that. And also because I’m incredibly churlish. If you do manage to finish it, you can find a whole load more Grows at creator On’s homepage.

On a final note, .


  1. Andrew Mayer says:

    These were really an acquired taste for me. I normally hate games that have a pre-determined outcome, and while they are adorable, there’s still an element of “guess the designer’s intention” that I can find difficult to swallow.

    That’s something it shares with the old point and click adventure games, which this is a clear descendant of.

    But yeah, they’re so adorable and well done that you ultimately can’t help but be charmed by them.

  2. roBurky says:

    This one actually made me grin when I finished it. It’s an island controlled by a supercomputer powered by love!

  3. Schmidt says:

    It’s like my own adorable little Dharma initiative!

  4. The Sombrero Kid says:

    I LOVE THE GROW GAMES, i played through them all one day with my mate both nursing hangovers and shouting WINDMILL WINDMILL!!! LADDERS!! at each other as if it’s the most important thing in the world lol great times & i’m gonna get my grow island on just now

  5. Rock, Paper, Shotgun » Blog Archive » Games For Brains says:

    […] perfect, its lead artist should be On, the chap behind the wonderful and ludicrously cute Grow Games. And it should play a piece of classical music at the end of each level. Say, perhaps the Ode to […]

  6. stranger says:

    Yes alien bounus is.
    coal plant

  7. Rock, Paper, Shotgun: Best In The World At Kate Bush » Blog Archive » Sickly Thing says:

    […] sequence-puzzle webgames always manage to charm my bitter, cynical socks off – here’s me giggling like a giddy schoolgirl about the last one, Grow […]