Sawbuck Gamer


Growing Pains

The beloved Grow series tries something new but gets lost along the way.

By Jason Reich • March 13, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap game ($10 or less).

I defy even the most hardened, bloodthirsty Call Of Duty fan to play any of the Grow games without cracking a smile. It can’t be done. Despite its bare-bones design—typically, your job is to do little more than select items one by one from a list—the Grow series has consistently been an eye-popping exercise in wonder and surprise, thanks to creator Eyezmaze’s cuddly psychedelic vibe.

But Eyezmaze’s genre experiments have always been a mixed bag, and Grow Maze, while diverting, isn’t nearly as inspired as some of his previous attempts. Its dungeon-crawling overshadows the usual growth puzzles, which are scarce and oversimplified here, eliminating the experimentation and discovery that have always been the heart of the series (unlike the earlier Grow RPG, which played with similar conventions while still offering players a satisfying Grow experience.) Grow Maze is definitely worth a look, particularly for a late-game animation featuring some impressively jiggly monkey parts, but it doesn’t quite deliver the magic that fans have come to expect. If this latest effort represents a growth spurt for Eyezmaze, Grow Maze is firmly in the awkward stage.

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5 Responses to “Growing Pains”

  1. Basement Boy says:

    I’ll give it a spin, since the bosses are away. I could use a break from all the viciousness of Bombermine

    You guys should check it out, it’s still in Beta, but it’s a free MMO based on Nintendo’s old Bomberman. I’ve been wasting lotta time there, in 20-minute rounds. Very satisfying to blow up some of the jackass 13-yr-olds that seem to overpopulate it…

  2. HobbesMkii says:

    Oh, man, is the Grow series still going strong? I don’t think I’ve played since Grow RPG.

  3. duwease says:

    Cute.  If you didn’t know it had Grow pedigree and weren’t expecting that angle, it’s a nice little game on its own merits.  The very short “Grow-ish” puzzles were kinda pointless though, with 2 or 3 items.

    Still, nice game.  I like the Tontie Hammer easter egg as well, that takes me back..

  4. CNightwing says:

    The original was fantastic, and a couple of the sequels were really fun, Cube in particular. I always wanted there to be a fully-fledged sequence for every possible order of the elements used though, rather than only semi-completing some of them. I think one game had good/evil endings, but that wasn’t enough!

  5. Effigy_Power says:

    While I liked the first few, this one appears to confuse whimsy with being utterly erratic and a tad annoying.
    A maze puzzler like this doesn’t seem the right vehicle for the game-maker’s otherwise pretty ingenious creations.