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?