October 21, 2021
Application Systems Heidelberg
The moment you begin this hand-drawn point and click adventure, you’ll be forgiven for thinking you’ve fallen right into the pages of an illustrated children’s book. Growbot is the brainchild of a very creative artist-turned-game dev Lisa Evans of Wabisabi Games. A very tiny team with an imagination of galactic proportions.
Growbot offers a very unique style, something I can only describe as “floral sci-fi”.
The story takes place on the asteroid home Kew and its surrounding space station guardians. Kew is home to a small population of Growbots, forgotten mascots of a human mining company, left behind on this asteroid. One of these ex-mascots is our small protagonist Growbot, Nara. Her training for captaincy takes her off-world onto one of the stations, to learn from the alien geologist lifeforms and fellow Growbots. Instead, a bizarre occurrence has her working to save her home from dark forces. The threat takes the shape of crystals rapidly spreading its destruction through the Ventral Space Station.
Nara is new to the environment on this space station, so as the player, we get to learn and discover along with her. Growbot takes a unique direction on its gameplay. As you point and click your way around the station, you will discover that there is an abundance of plant and spiritual life everywhere. In the world of Growbot, it seems like nature takes the place of technology in its many marvels. Bees can produce energy from the backs of water dragons, Bioengineered blooms power robotic life, and even a psychic octopus can go through an identity crisis, just like us!
The game consists of collecting items and solving puzzles that focus around plants, music, and the many curious and adorable creatures you will come across. It could be that your long noodly-armed Starbelly friend may be a bit hungry, or that the light sprites have some surprise guests to usher out. Whatever puzzles you come across, they are unusual in the most fantastical of ways. The atmospheric sounds and music meld perfectly with the cute illustrative art style, and once you start thinking like a true biopunk, the puzzles become much easier to solve. They will challenge your problem-solving skills while leaving you thinking “Wow, that was a really cool concept!”
There is one puzzle mechanic I found so interesting that shows up multiple times throughout the game. That is the flower arranger, or shield maker. As you find your way through the station, you will come across various types of flowers. All flowers have their own song unique just to them. When you come across shields you cannot pass through, it will play you a tune where you must organize the flowers to match the song.
I’d never really seen anything presented similarly before in point-and-click games. Wabisabi Games has a lot of creativity and imagination at their fingertips, delivered in a way that has stuck with me well after I’ve finished the game.
Sometimes the puzzles can seem a bit too out-of-this-world, and there aren’t any help menus or hints to guide you if you feel lost. The only thing remotely close to this is your squeaky Brainapillar who sits inside your head to talk and guide you around the ship for a time. So you must listen well to those you talk to, and pay attention to what you see to find your way forward.
Growbot is just like some curious kind of fever dream, and I like that about it. So much of it needs to be experienced to be believed. It is beautiful and whimsical, while also holding some kind of vaguely dark and ominous touch to it. I still haven’t wrapped my head around HOW yet, but maybe that just adds to the charm of this artist’s vision brought to life.
- Beautiful art and music to compliment the adventure
- Well crafted and unique puzzles
- A cute cast of characters you WILL want plushies of
- Shortage of hints for those who may find the puzzles confusing
Growbot is a wholesome experience with a dash of eerie undertones to it. You will find new ways of solving puzzles you haven’t seen before in similar point and click adventure games and will leave this experience wondering if you were really playing a game, or just dreaming. A shortage of hints can cause irritation, but there is so much whimsy and artistic expression it becomes easy enough to forgive. This is one nature trip you shouldn’t skip.