The space station, home to the Growbots which dwell in order to protect the garden within, are under attack by the very first Growbot created, Crissy. In Growbot, you play as Nara accompanied by Brainapilla who dwells inside Nara's head as you both set out to find the crew and restore order. The game plays like your typical point and click adventure, being able to explore, interact with objects and people, try various combinations and solve puzzles. Top that off with a storybook art style and the accessibility to appeal to players both familiar with the genre and not; Growbot has a lot of promise to be something special.
In addition to being your typical run-of-the-mill point and click adventure, what Growbot has going for itself is its Flower Arranger which allows you to combine the sounds of flowers that you collect in order to create shields. These shields unlock various pathways, which is just a very wholesome and clever mechanic. This game is wonderful for children to recognise note patterns by ear and it does so in such a way that'll give them (and you) the warm and fuzzies.
Growbot is a spectacular-looking game, almost like it's been plucked straight from a children's picture book. This has been a common theme with some of the recent games we've reviewed recently and it's something that I truly adore about many indie titles. Growbot's art was done by the award winning illustrator Lisa Evans, who founded the development company Wabisabi Play back in 2018 because she wanted to see her art come to life. Stories like this speaks volumes to creative passion and it's this love for all things art and digital media which makes a game like this truly special.
- Musical puzzles
- A labour of love
First of all, the cursor, for some reason, can only be controlled by the right analogue stick, which is just a bizarre and cumbersome choice. The idea is so that you can control the character with the left analogue stick but in this case, that function serves absolutely no purpose. Secondly, the cursor moves verrrrryyyy slowly, and there's no cursor settings in the Options menu, so you're stuck with this throughout the game's entirety. This was most frustrating when I entered the maze section and you're required to click where you want to go rather than being able to simply move, which is made all the more difficult when you're needing to strategically place shields and then quickly click away to avoid the enemies. Although, on the bright side, you can play the game entirely with a single Joy-Con, so that's kind of neat. What may have been a saving grace was that Growbot can be played entirely with the touchscreen, however clicking and dragging objects feels clunky and you'll often find yourself needing to press objects multiple times just to get it to work. Point and click adventures always tend to struggle on console, but Growbot takes that frustration to a whole new level.
The world that the game has created is wonderful, however its unique names for objects can make problem solving a little tricky for a point and click adventure. Some of the puzzles' tutorials can also be strangely obtuse, almost like it's deliberately only giving you half of the instructions. For example, when you're in the Music Room, you're presented with a diagram of circles, numbers and arrows which can be rotated, and your only two explanations are, "Rotate the wheels and combine numbers to solve the targets" and "When a number is in the center, use the middle arrows to move it into a different circuit". So all of that is fine but it doesn't explain clearly enough what my objective is. It took a lot of trial and error, which I found contradicts the game's intention to appeal to both children and adults.
This next point is one that I bring up in every review where it's applicable because it's something that can easily overlooked if you do not have the same issue that I have. If any developer is reading this, if you're going to have colour-based puzzles in your game, please, include a colour-blind mode! For those who aren't colour-blind and aren't aware of anyone who is, it's an easy thing to slip your mind, but whenever I come across colour-based puzzles, it just becomes a mindless process of moving items and flicking switches until something happens; either that or resorting to walkthroughs.
- Frustrating controls
- Obtuse tutorial instructions
- Colour-based puzzles without a colour-blind mode
Final Score: 5/10
Growbot's art and presentation is absolutely delightful but its awkward controls put on an unfortunate dampener. While the obtuse tutorial instructions is present throughout every version, the frustrating controls mainly derive from its transition to console and the touchscreen controls just do not save it from this criticism. Many point and click adventure games have transitioned better to console and many have not, and Growbot emphatically falls into the latter category; although if you get past that, Growbot is still a charming game.
Thank you for checking out our Growbot Switch review, thank you to ASHGAMES (via Application Systems Heidelberg) for providing the review code and thank you to our Patreon Backers for their ongoing support: