Growbot – Review

In Growbot, we solve puzzles to repair a biopunk space station. Did we like it rightaway or did it grow on us? Here’s what we think.

Describing Growbot’s plot doesn’t do justice to the act of actually experiencing it happen in front of you. I could tell you that the protagonist, Nara, is a ‘growbot’ – but you need to see the actual character with her brain that hosts a pool of water with lily pads. I could tell you that she is trying to fix a space station, but you need to understand that this space station’s reactor is a fluffy alien that runs on literal space jam. Perhaps the only way to describe the surreal world of Growbot is to call it ‘Amanita-esque’. Although Growbot does feature dialogue, it certainly carries on in the utterly whimsical ‘wait, what’ tradition of Samorost or Botanicula.

The storytelling gets surprisingly involved, even bringing in topics of politics and revenge, but it’s all handled with heart and compassion. Despite the lou and unsettling blackouts that the game’s antagonist imposes on you every now and then, the game never delves into dark themes. Far from being a sugar overdose, it’s got just the right level of depth to be a well-balanced chocolate instead. Apart from the usual point-and-click business of collecting objects and using them on each other, you will also be operating a ‘flower arranger’: one of the game’s biopunk elements. You will be collecting musical notes from flowers in the game, which you must then arrange into melodies of six. As someone who is practically tone-deaf, I was dreading the flower arranger once I learned what it was going to involve. Thankfully, the game offers a Hint system for the flower arranger that shows you which flower is required by text.

Growbot screenshot

In the same theme as the flower arranger, the game’s puzzles usually involve operating bizarre machinery reminiscent of a children’s storybook. You’ll be rotating a maze to free water dragons, and operating valves to take tiny gnome-like beings to a birthday party. You will perform a fire ritual to heat up a cup of tea, and you will delve into a mind to break it out of a downwards spiral. Growbot is beautiful not just in its kind spirit, but also in the art that fuses natural elements like lush greenery with more industrial gears and pipes. With all the colorful flowers that adorn the game throughout, I can say without hesitation that if there was ever a game I wish I could smell, it would be Growbot.

Growbot Screenshot

The game leans on the easier side as far as puzzles go, and it isn’t very long either. I finished my playthrough in 3 hours, satisfied with the peculiar experience of mixing colours and talking to robots tending to plant-based space station. Sure, a few puzzles were on the more tedious side, but not enough to be roadblocks.

If you’re on the lookout for whimsical, magical games that remind of you of Amanita Design classics, Growbot is exactly what you want. It’s equal parts adorable and bizarre, and it’s got heart enough to power a space station.

Developer: Wabisabi Play
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Publisher: Application Systems Heidelberg
Release Date: October 21, 2021 (PC, Mac, Linux)

This review is based on a copy of the game provided by the publisher. The PC version of the game was played for this review of Growbot.

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Growbot is equal parts adorable and bizarre, and it’s got heart enough to power a space station. It’ll scratch your Amanita Design itch, and leave you with an abundance of flowers.

This Article was written by: Rahul Shirke

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