An original and bizarre space tale with reasonably challenging puzzles and a feel-good factor.
Genre: Puzzle, point & Click, Adventure,
Developer: Wabisabi Play
Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg
Release date: 21 Oct, 2021
Growbot is a third person, 2D point and click space adventure with a variety of puzzles, based around a musical theme.
You are Nara, a trainee growbot, hoping to fill the position of captain aboard one of the six space stations protecting your asteroid homeland, Kew.
Whilst on board, an attack on the station leaves the captain injured, the crew missing and inflicts substantial damages.
It is up to you to uncover the mystery of the incursion and stop the perpetrator before the station, and possibly your homeland, is destroyed.
Growbot is a simplistic version of a point and click adventure. You have an inventory, but it is rarely full, and when you are required to combine objects, it is always obvious and painless.
You can examine objects in your inventory which gives you basic feedback, but there is no turning or manipulating objects like in some games of the genre. It really is very simple.
Some objects, called consumables, will come and go with puzzles, and others will become important powers which you can use, called keepables. For example, a consumable might be a set of items to make up a potion whereas a keepable might be the power to destroy crystals.
Walking around the space station you can examine any interactable object, which can be highlighted using the space button if you so wish. Some will offer clues to puzzles ahead, some will offer light relief and funny moments, and others you can collect. There is a text bar at the bottom of the screen relaying any useful information about the object.
On your mission to rebuild the space station and stop the infiltration you will encounter many different characters. You can start conversations with these, and your questions will be displayed for you to ask. Some of these can be branching, but mostly you’ll get a short answer to your question. There’s not much time for chit chat.
The six space stations surrounding the asteroid of Kew make up a network of shields, and offer protection against enemies. The shields are generated by power flowers, which give off musical notes when interacted with. Each flower has its own signature tune.
To manufacture a shield, you need to find a shield and place it in the flower arranger. The shield will have a song which you can listen to. A flower has its own note, so by collecting and placing flower notes into the grid in the correct order will replicate the sound of the shield and build it.
There are three shields you need to build and they get more complicated, with some flowers having more than one note.
This makes it a little more difficult to decipher the shield tune and find the corresponding flower notes. If it does get too difficult you can turn on the hint system and it will tell you which flowers you need to choose.
There are a variety of different puzzles like mazes, slider puzzles, number puzzles and putting different shaped wheels on cogs, for example. Some of them are very imaginative but none of them are too difficult, especially with the hint system. It just about hits the right difficulty level, leaning slightly towards the easier side.
The game took me between six and seven hours to complete with most of the achievements.
📺 Graphics 📺
Beautiful hand drawn artwork with charismatic characters and gorgeous environments. Everything is colorful and imaginative and extremely original.
The sound is beautiful and very atmospheric, matching the aesthetics perfectly, and creating an unusual vibe. Special effects noises are very good and the characters voices are full of character, even if you can’t understand them.
The beauty of the game is in its simplicity.
There are no heavy inventory mechanics and hardly any backtracking through locales. Puzzles are kept within a small area for you to concentrate on, which made the whole experience seem light and fast paced. The most I moved to solve a puzzle was between three screens, and they are always short and painless to navigate. You won’t need to worry about moving across the screen too slowly or whether you can exit screen quickly. It is all designed so that movement is really not an issue. Solve one puzzle and then you’re on to the next. They come quite fast and feel like a chain of puzzles, linking the story elements together.
The puzzles bizarrely center around music. There wasn’t much of an indication that this was going to be a musical game but a lot of the puzzles revolve around listening to musical notes and then playing them in the correct order. Although this is the major theme, there are plenty of other puzzles to keep game play varied. Some of the puzzles are quite difficult, and the instructions can be a little vague. On a few occasions I was left scratching my head as to what to do or even what the game was trying to ask me what to do. There is a hint button which you can turn on and off which will help you immensely on some puzzles but occasionally you’re left to work it out yourself. If you miss the small tutorial explaining the puzzle you are unable to play it again which can be frustrating. Overall, I completed all puzzles without guidance but they did feel challenging in places.
The characters you meet along the way are adorable and just as bizarre as the environments they dwell in. Everything feels whimsical and full of eccentricity. Even the characters voices sound strange, with their unintelligible ramblings, but at the same time are charming and pleasing. There isn’t much character development. Encounters are quite brief and not much personal information is provided. This makes the characters a little shallow but entertaining nonetheless.
The hand drawn artwork looks amazing and the space station is a place of beauty to navigate.
There are lots of memorable moments created by the artwork and there is a tinge of comedy running through events. The music is very atmospheric with some weird and wonderful sounds and effects. It keeps proceedings firmly mounted on a kooky platform of strangeness.
The story was quite intriguing and I was interested to know who was behind the attack and why, but the narrative tapered off slightly towards the end and I was a little underwhelmed with the finale.
Growbot is a likeable, and highly original attempt at a puzzle game, with some very unusual characters and imaginative puzzles.
It will appeal to those who like something a little bizarre and different. I’m not sure it will offer an amazing challenge but it is easy to get lost in the strange world that’s been created.
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