Catching Up With Eyezmaze: Grow Clay


I used to love the Grow games, that series of hyper-cute, hyper-inventive free puzzlers/animation treats from Japanese dev On, aka Eyezmaze. Then I grew up and decided I hated them. Put away childish things and all that.

Nah, ‘course not, I’ve just been busy trying to grow another lifeform. I was both saddened and relieved to discover that On hasn’t exactly been prolific while I wasn’t paying attention, with the most recent release being February’s Grow Clay. Which is, needless to say, lovely.

It is still devoutly anti-logic and your entertainment dependent on your willingness to accept that everything which does or doesn’t happen is the result of one designer’s completely arbitrary decisions, but really that’s the joy of these things. Press a button and see what happens. Whether or not it’s the button you should have pushed at that time, you’ll be treated to some beyond-charming animations, and will immediately want to experience more of them.

There are some twists to the choose-a-button formula here, primarily that it’s now in stages so you don’t need to go all the way back to the start if you choose incorrectly, and there’s a sort of town setup. The real reason to play is the switch to claymation – the blobby pixel people are now blobby plasticine people, and the extra dose of life and charm this involves is potent. “I’ve challenged the new mode of expression this time,” as On puts it, sweetly.

Sadly, there’s a mid-game request to sign up for a website, which this is a promo game for, but you can just skip through that, although it means missing out on a bonus ending. I grimaced, but hey, he’s gotta make a living.

Grow Clay’s a charmer, though I guess it didn’t grab me like the early games did. Overfamiliarity or just me being older and grimmer?


  1. LionsPhil says:

    There seems to be a lot less possibility space to explore in weird and interesting directions this time, and honestly despite liking claymation it’s not doing anything for me over the vectors of old. :/

  2. CMaster says:

    I was dissapointed by Grow Clay.

    It’s less a toy with a bunch of events that do follow a sense of logic after a fashion (like Grow and the brillian Grow Cube were) and more a case of “push buttons till you chance upon the right order”.

    On has made some great games. Grow Clay isn’t one of them (It’s worth noting that this appears to be a sponsored project, much like Dwarf Complete and Grow Island)

    • mwoody says:

      I agree, this one is very dull. There are no interesting failure states, just clicking in the wrong order leading to – for reasons I don’t quite understand – events not happening. Push a button and a guy makes a potion. Push another and a guy makes a block. Fail. Push them in the other order and the potion guy pours it on the block. It a) makes no sense, and b) the failed attempt was not in any way interesting or amusing.

      That said, maybe it gets better later. I foolishly clicked on the link to the “Tecross” website halfway through, which ended my game. Ugh.

    • BooleanBob says:

      Yeah, it’s a stodgy advergame with none of the logic or flow of the rest of the series. Which is a shame, but at least it throws the wonder and magic of those previous entries into relief.

      Presumably it was made because ON needed some cash, what with his other games being freely available. If anyone wants to help him out on that front the delightful Black Box is available from Playism for basically pennies.

      • CMaster says:

        But as said, Grow Island and Dwarf Complete were advergames too, yet still amazing.
        Although Valley and Maze were kinda “eh”

  3. Scratches Beard With Pipe Stem says:

    It’s good to see some coverage of Eyezmaze.

    I think the one that stuck with me the most is Chronon. It starts out bizarre, but if you just keep at it…

    The more recent Grow Maze is also great.

    These are all browser flash games, so they’re easy to try out.