What the Hell Are the GROW Games?

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So, the GROW games then? What the hell are they? Tee hee. Tee hee hee.

Hey! What are you doing? Pay attention. Tee he-waah. Hey. Sorry. I didn’t realize you were standing there. You’re very light on your feet.

So I’ve been told. The GROW games? Oh, right. Yeah. The GROW games. They’re great. I’m playing one right now and- tee hee. Did you see that?

I did, actually. That was cute. I know.

What is this I’m looking at? This is GROW Tower. You click on icons at the side of the screen to add things to a tower. As far as I can tell, the point is to build it as big possible.

Are they puzzle games? Well, sort of. They’re all Flash games that present you with a bunch of
buttons. When you click on one of them, something happens – a piece gets added to a tower; a lake grows in a park; a cannon shoots at an unrealistically soundly-sleeping man. Depending on the order in which you click on the options, different things happen. Most of them are unexpected and weird. All of them are delightful.

Yeesh. Is this whimsy? Am I looking at whimsy right now? Ugh. You are. But good whimsy, not bad whimsy. Like a very Japanese Michel Gondry, rather than a very Zooey Zooey Deschanel. In GROW Tower, robots appear from places that are unaccustomed to hiding robots (or missiles, for that matter). You might plant a seed in GROW ver. 1 and see it turn into a [spoiler] or even a whole, miniature [spoiler].

What happened to your voice there? You went weird just when you were saying [spoil-]. Hey! It happened to me too. Yeah, that does happen. It’s peculiar. Any time you might be about to spoil one of the features of a GROW game, your power of speech disappears for a second and you get that robot voice instead. I’m not sure why it happens, but I’m glad it does. The games are so simple that every click has to bring some reward to hold your attention – something unusual, something unexpected, something that turns what you thought the game was about upside down – and, luckily, every click does. The games live and die on those little animations, so describing them would just ruin the games for you. Though, oh my god, it is so cute when [spoiler spoiler spoiler].

UW7071-smallIt sounds a bit obtuse to me. It can be frustrating to not have any idea what the buttons will do or even what the point of a game is, but half the joy of the GROW games is that process of exploration and discovery.

They all sound very similar as well. Doesn’t it get a bit tiring to go through the same schtick in every game? Well, yes, the GROW games can be a little formulaic – that seems to be the biggest complaint most people have – but there are variations. There’s a maze, an RPG, a weird clay lab thing

You just kind of trailed off there. Yes. Yes. I did. I guess there’s not that much variation, but the games are still a lot of fun.

Plus cute. Yes. Very cute

Impossibly cute? How can something be impossibly cute? That doesn’t make any sense. I guess the series does give a pretty good indication of how far you can stretch the possibility of cuteness before impossibility hits though.

Fine. I’ll give them a go. Great. You can find them and a bunch of other games by On, the Japanese indie who makes them, on http://www.eyezmaze.com. I’d recommend starting with GROW ver. 1 or GROW Tower, if you wanted.

They’re pretty good. Yes.

Games, Review