“A garden to walk in and immensity to dream in–what more could he ask? A few flowers at his feet and above him the stars.” – Victor Hugo
Growbot is a 2D point-and-click adventure set on a biopunk space station where growbot Nara is training to become a captain. When the station is attacked by rapidly growing crystals it is up to Nara to work out what is going on and save the day!
Developer: Wabisabi Play
Released: 21st October 2021
Platforms: Windows, Mac, Linux
Available on: Steam
This game is being reviewed as part of the Indie Game Collective (IGC) showcase.
The titular growbots began as mascots for a mining company that sent 30 to a new asteroid called Kew to be remotely tracked and played with. The company abandoned the asteroid and eventually all communication with the growbots was lost. An alien species named geologists discovered them and brought one back to life with a quasi-crystal. Powerful but unstable, the growbot fled after an unfortunate incident.
Shortly after a tear in space caused cosmic sea to pour out around Kew, the Geologists found a way to resurrect the rest of the growbots with bio-engineered flowers and set them to work in six space stations protecting Kew. The protagonist Nara is training to be a captain on one of the six space stations when Chrissy, the quasi-crystal-powered growbot begins to attack! Nara must work out why Chrissy is attacking and save the station and Kew!
Delivered through the gameplay and dialogue as well as readable documents the narrative is a little obscure but engaging and does a good job of tying the gameplay into the story and providing a level of connection for a more well-rounded experience. Growbot features a great storyline full of adorable creatures, eclectic characters and scenes that would be right at home in a sci-fi fairytale.
Growbot utilises simple mouse-only controls requiring players to click to move, interact or explore the inventory that is divided into keepable and consumable items, the latter of which can be combined with each other. As such, the game features classic inventory-based puzzles, while these can be a little predictable Growbot does it well and in moderation.
The inventory style puzzling is interspersed with sound-based puzzles that tie into the game’s storyline a bit more directly. Throughout the game players encounter shield obstacles, often preventing access to required items or areas. However, different flowers have different musical notes associated with them. By collecting these players can solve sound-based puzzles and use a flower arranger to correctly place the notes to create a shield key. This is a fun addition and provides an aspect of originality to the mechanics.
Growbot features gentle twinkling music made up of chimes and soft vocals, it is magical but with a melancholy undertone. The soundtrack ranges from ethereal and relaxing to upbeat and even becoming quite dramatic in places.
The fantastical 2D art style is made up of hand-drawn illustrations in muted colours with pops of vibrancy from brother shades. The overall aesthetic includes a somewhat granulated effect and is reminiscent of old cartoons and Amanita Games’ titles; indeed Machinarium is cited as a source of inspiration on the Growbot’s Steam Store page.
Growbot is a fairly short game and can be completed in around five hours, which is actually quite a nice length for the type of gameplay and style of narrative. Overall, it was a pleasure to play, featuring an unusual and endearing narrative, a fantastical sci-fi setting, varied and engaging gameplay alongside beautiful artwork and sound design. Consider this a must-play for fans of the point-and-click puzzle genre.
For more point-and-click puzzle games take a look at:
Mutropolis: Brand New Archaeological Adventure set in the Year 5000! – Broken Age – A Game of Two Halves– The Sweet and Sinister Adventures of Fran Bow