Friday, September 16, 2011

TheAssailant6661 Reviews: Grow for Android

Grow is an Android game with a simple enough premise: eat smaller fish, grow in size, and eat the larger fish until you're the last fish. It could've been an original idea if it wasn't ripped right out of Spore. It also could've been a good idea, if it were executed properly. Perhaps Grow's problem is an identity crisis. It attempts to have simplicity, and implies simplicity with its title, but tries to do too much with a mission structure like Angry Birds, and horrid touch screen controls which detract from the game experience.

The default control method lets your move your fish/bacteria thing around in the tank by directing it with your fingers. However, the developers seemed to have overlooked the fact that your fingers tend to obscure your screen, leaving a mystery as to just what is lurking beneath your finger. Often times, with my luck, it's a larger fish who promptly eats your fish-thing, making you lose. The game would better benefit tilt controls rather than touch controls, tilting your phone doesn't obscure the screen providing safe haven for the creatures of the deep to consume your fish friend in one fell swoop.

Changing the control scheme to the original control setup (a virtual control stick in the lower right hand corner), however provided a much better control experience over the touch controls, which leads me to wonder why would anyone in their right mind make a new control scheme that handles worse than the original, and going out of their way to set the new control scheme as the default? I would understand if it was there for the novelty but why would you make it the default?

Another major issue I have about the game is that fish placement is random at the start of every level. When are people going to understand that there is no skill or strategy when everything in the game is based on luck? Look at any AAA game released and notice how each and every one does not randomize the placement of enemies. Halo, for mere example, does not randomly place Hunters in one playthrough where you found Grunts in your previous playthrough. I don't understand why this developer chose to randomly move fish spawns. On the same level, I sometimes end up next to a bunch of smaller fish, while other times on the same level I find large fish surrounding me from the beginning. It even puzzles me beyond belief why they would also put in a star rank system for each level, a ranking system which is based on time to complete your goal and total coins collected. Again, there is no definitive skill in randomization, and these ranks are completely worthless.

But hey, maybe you enjoy playing games where the default controls are terrible and enemy spawns are random, sometimes causing you to die within the first few seconds. Maybe you're a masochist and prefer being tortured by a game with cute enemies, but feel that Angry Birds is too mainstream for you. In that case, be my guest and buy the game for yourself, but for anyone who has a sense of value, it is in my opinion that this game is not worth $2, especially not on Android, where there are better games than this one, and at the universally acceptable price and currency of Free. I would avoid this game like the plague if I were you.


Reviewed using a Motorola Droid X original model, running unrooted Android 2.3.3, System Version 4.5.596.MB810.Verizon.en.US with Baseband version BP_C_01.09.12P.

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