As I was writing up my thoughts on Everybody’s Gone to the Rapture, another game I forgot to share thoughts on popped onto my head. Everyone should try Ubisoft’s Gone Home. You don’t need to finish it and I recommend playing it on the PC but everyone should give Grow Home a look. Ubisoft put the sense of peril and danger back into climbing with this game.
I always wanted to try Grow Home after seeing Brad check it out on GiantBomb.com but I kept passing on it until Sony just gave it out for free. Then I had no excuse not to try it. I don’t recommend the PlayStation 4 version because it’s not a pleasant experience with the performance issues. You could say it adds to the sense of dread when climbing up high among the clouds but I don’t believe it’s intentional. I thought a game with such a simplistic art style wouldn’t be bogged down by performance issues but I was wrong.
The climbing in titles like Assassin’s Creed stripped out the risk of falling — you simply pushed forward and Mr. Assassin-man would reach out the next ledge. In Grow Home, B.U.D, the robot’s ability to climb was a lot more involved. His hands gripped onto surfaces and could be independently controlled. He climbed with one hand at a time but I controlled where each hand was placed with the thumbstick and I controlled when each hand gripped the surface with the corresponding controller trigger. If I accidentally released L2 before gripping onto a surface with R2, B.U.D was tumbling down. If I had a giant flower stashed away, I could deploy it so save myself. If I didn’t, I would try to aim for water to avoid certain destruction.
Grow Home’s climbing mechanic reminded me of the Shadow of Colossus’ but instead of hanging on a bucking giant rock boar, I was given this open space to collect crystals and explore like all good 3D platformers. I wish the PlayStation 4 version performed better but the crippling performance issues in higher areas was very unpleasant. If you had no other means to try it, by all means, give that version a try. Otherwise, I would head over to the PC to check this unique game out.
I like it (but not this version)