Life-Gun: GROW Cannon

Ah, sleeping. I think I did that once, years ago.

As sure as night follow days, as sure as all of us will one day die, as sure as cats are better than dogs, I will post about new GROW games whenever one emerges. Enigmatic creator On is perhaps guilty of sticking to formula with these web-based puzzle titles, but latest effort Cannon manages to shake things up a little.

The concept is, perhaps unsurprisingly, as it’s always been – press a series of buttons to trigger a series of events, and through a concept of trial, error, luck and beyond-lateral thinking you’ll eventually piece together the order of pressing necessary for great victory.

Cannon’s major change is to drag the interface (and with it, you) into the game – no longer a set of entirely externalised and abstracted buttons, but instead the titular big gun. Choose an area of the screen to fire at, witness the inevitably unexpected results, work out how that relates to the creatures and reactions that result from bombarding other areas.

Your goal? Wake up a phenomenally soundly-sleeping chap on the far right of the screen. If you’ve max-levelled every one of the key items in the game, he’ll come to. If don’t, he’ll suffer a hell of pestering but somehow doze through it. The key’s in the minimalist cuteness, as always.

Not the most oblique one he’s ever done, though I can’t say whether that’s good or bad. I managed to muddle through without consulting a walkthrough, which hasn’t always been the case, but figuring out the final button press took a little while and involved some mildly maddening repetition. As GROW games always are though, it was worth it in the end.



  1. Arathain says:

    “Engimatic creator On is perhaps guilty of sticking to formula with these web-based puzzle titles…”

    I wonder if he’s feeling guilty about it. I’m not sure there’s anything wrong with being very good at doing a thing that only you are doing, and keeping on doing it, if that makes sense. Novelty is a virtue in entertainment, but it isn’t the only one, or even the most important one.

    I sometimes think some of it is a cultural thing. It seems that Asian game developers often prefer to refine and polish pre-existing game-forms, rather than try to come up with new ones for the sake of it. Witness what often appear to be an endless parade of Final Fantasy clones- there isn’t always a lot of variation, but there are some awfully good games to come out of that line.

    This may, of course, be racial-stereotyping gibberish, of course. The Western FPS hasn’t shifted a whole lot since Counterstrike and Half-Life.

    On the other hand: New GROW? Excellent. A good reason to look forward to getting home. I do like these.

    • Bhazor says:

      Where as Western developers are an unconstrained whirlwind of blind unpolished creativity? How many games released this month are innovating with an brand new completely innovative chest high wall based cover system?

    • PleasingFungus says:

      Did you actually finish reading the comment before you posted your angry, sarcastic response? He said the exact same thing.

      For what its worth, it seems On specifically is a bit of a slave to his fans, who punish any deviation. Look around the site!

    • Bhazor says:

      Just highlighting the stereotyping nonsense. If I was feeling really petty I’d point out that Final Fantasy has changed immensely in the past few installments from X’s formation battles to XII’s sweeping political saga in lieu of a soap opera love story and real time combat to XIII’s being absolute shit. Truly god awful.

    • ANeM says:

      The reason for the immense changes between games is the same reason why every second COD game seemed to be shittier than the previous one, and featured vehicles in multiplayer. They have three teams working on the franchise, each doing their own thing and not bothering to communicate with the other teams for the sake of consistency. So you get these massive weird changes in gameplay and style.

      (and here starts the stereoytyping)
      To be honest, I swear the only reason they even make any changes in the gameplay of JRPG franchises is due to what appears to be a culture wide, the near fetishistic obsession with random acronyms.
      Some marketing guy throws out a bunch of random words during the announcement and suddenly they need to change the battle system to feel more Fluid-Reflex-Action-Continuum-Trapeze-y. Half the time it feels like they don’t even know (or care) if having a combat system where vomiting on circus performers is a key component is actually any fun.
      The changes feel as though they are made not to improve the experience, but simply made because it was required.

    • BooleanBob says:

      The mechanic of play might have been similar for each, but I think subsequent instalments of GROW have been astonishingly creative in terms of aesthetics, presentation, narrative and theme. I think there’s a whole lot of innovation going on there that it’s a little unfair of Alec just to be brushing to one side.

  2. CMaster says:

    I’d say the accusation of just doing the same thing over and over is kinda unfair really.
    Sure, he’s done a lot of grow games, some much better than others (grow cube = excellent, grow RPG rather not so. Recent grow islands perhaps a return to form for the series).
    But stuff like the brilliant Dwarf Complete, fast paced Tontie, clever Galve’s adventure or the somewhat failure of Chronon show that he can do different, if often similar things.

    • LionsPhil says:

      How can you not like Grow RPG you crazy person. Although Cube is great, yes.

  3. Spore says:

    That kid’s face kind of reminds me of the Boognish.

  4. Lambchops says:

    Yay for Grow! As wonderfully cute and barmy as ever.

  5. Heliocentric says:

    I always play these things, regret trying to figure it out, get a walkthrough and enjoy the animation.

    *Every time*

    • brecherbernd says:

      Ye, I dont see the fun in those trial and error games. There might be little moments when your thinking helps a little but usually the former is true.

      Nice animation though (but haveing to watch them time and time again is also no fun).

  6. James G says:

    Gah, maxing out everything but the leftmost, which is still on 0.

    • .backslash says:

      Yeah, happened to me too. Shoot the foot with your last ball.

    • James G says:

      Ahh thanks. Was meaning to try that (by process of elimination more than anything), actually seeing it done though made sense. (Had been trying to achieve a similar thing firing at the rightmost spot.)

  7. Theory says:

    I’m amazed that you can now do the “wrong” thing and lose progress. I just didn’t want to continue after that.

  8. Bhazor says:

    Not a fan of this one to be honest. Each section just seems disconnected from the others which is especially shown at the end where everything just takes turns one after the other. Even the animations weren’t as heart melting as normal. Grow Quest and Cube are still absolute classics of flash of course.

    • LionsPhil says:

      The sheer number of possibly combinations by being able to click the same thing twice makes iterative improvement of shuffling about the parts of a near-solution way way way harder too.

      Think I’m going to walkthrough this one.

      Edit: Or not. Just got it.

    • mwoody says:

      This one actually made way more sense than any of the others. Whereas for virtually every grow game I’ve had to eventually resort to a walkthrough, for this, I just had to watch what each spot did. After maybe 10 tries, it all made sense (save perhaps the very last point, which was out of left field but not impossible via elimination).

  9. BigJonno says:

    I found this one of the easier ones by far. After a little experimentation, something just clicked and it didn’t take long to figure it all out. The linear layout made it easy to figure out what was interacting with what.

  10. The Sombrero Kid says:

    They aren’t games but i love grow!

  11. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    These tend to work similarly for me. First I’ll just take a couple of tries to look at the basic thing every position seems to do/progress into, then try to get one or a few of them higher level and see what works with what. And once I reach max (or higher progress) with most.. try to connect them all.

    This one does seem a bit less.. fun and playful compared to some of his other grow games, though. That and I haven’t worked out how to combine Big Foot and Dragon yet.

  12. Dr_Nick says:

    I think dogs are better than cats. I’m not certain any more. :(