Grow Valley

Imperfect performance

A while back on Act Casual, we featured a little title called Grow Cube, by developer “On” at EyeMaze. The game was simple to play: Click the ten boxes in an order of your choosing, and observe the results and how your selections interplay with your previous selections. Rather simple, but fun in its own way. It’s a pretty straightforwardly casual title.

Now we bring you a new game, also by On: Grow Valley. In many ways, it’s the same game: Click the seven buttons in the order of your choosing. Watch as the results unfold. Try again with a new order. The mechanics aren’t very complicated, but the interplay between each of the seven options is interesting and the feedback can be fun to observe. You could sit down with a notepad and some free time to figure out the optimal order if you’d like, I suppose.

And at this point, given that description, you might be wondering why I’d feature this at all. It’s not just that this is a nice refinement on the Grow series, mere quantum leap though it may be. So here it is: On has added a more intelligible theme to the possible actions in this and the most recent predecessor, Grow Island. Namely, the new idea isn’t just wacky actions interacting, but now themed actions based on a university curriculum in science and engineering. Previous ones were fun, but a bit too “wacky” for me, in a way that conjured feelings of cat-hair mustaches. And Grow Valley’s refinement of that theme actually makes you think about the possibilities in specialized departments working together, rather than making you think about whether the pot and the bricks will somehow work together to make your Grow Tower even taller.

If you do come up with the optimal solution or another interesting combination (There's at least one Easter egg.), let us know! We could discuss whether it seems a worthwhile model of a curriculum, and whether the dynamic between options makes sense to you.

Why you should play this: The Grow series is growing up, becoming more than a fun time waster and now encouraging players to think about how groups can work together. Sure, this isn’t a new theme—especially not in the context of Japanese media—but it’s a respectable theme and a nice step forward for the series.

[size=18]Play Now![/size]

IndieCade Side note: Be sure to check out the recently released list of the 32 IndieCade 2010 Finalists. You may notice a few familiar titles!

Comments

I some how beat this game second try interms of the maximum outcome. The final outcome takes a really long time to play out but is indeed very cool. I liked these games... And this one is very intuitive as to which you should pick before the others.

I'm looking forward to the tactical shooter / flash toy outing, Grow Ops.

Glad to see another Grow game! I love these guys!

Took me a while because I kept watching the animations and apparently forgetting what I was doing before. There is enough going on that even though it's very logical what each step needs to continue on sometimes you don't notice.

rickyyo wrote:

I some how beat this game second try interms of the maximum outcome.

Feel free to use the spoiler tags to show your solutions here.

Have you gotten the underground ending?

Interesting. A flash game I can play on my Droid!

Interesting. A flash game I can play on my Droid!

does it tell you whether you've reached the max level for each? I assume some can reach higher levels than others.

I've got as far as the maglev so far

Spoiler:

design, architecture, electricity, mechanical, matters/chemical, mathematical chemistry, life sciences

I love these Grow games. They always seem overwhelming at first, but after enough tries you begin to grasp the various causes and effects, and getting the optimal solution is oddly satisfying.

Mr. Chairman, you are very close.

Spoiler:

Design, Architecture, Electricity, Mechanical, Mathematical, Chemical, Life

Mr Crinkle wrote:

I love these Grow games. They always seem overwhelming at first, but after enough tries you begin to grasp the various causes and effects, and getting the optimal solution is oddly satisfying.

Mr. Chairman, you are very close.

Spoiler:

Design, Architecture, Electricity, Mechanical, Mathematical, Chemical, Life

Haven't looked at your spoiler yet, but will it let me know when I have the optimal solution?

Yes, at the end it will say "Lv. MAX" for everything.

There's actually two endings to this one. The MAX ending and the UNDER ending. The latter is kind of bizarre.

Spoiler:

Magnifying glass, cog, heart, microchip, compass, pickaxe, vial.

UNDER is a good time.

I like these games but I inevitably play once or twice, then look it up on YouTube or hunt for a walkthrough. There is some logic to the interactions but since you don't really know what people are aiming to do till they do it, it's hard to tell what you did wrong.

wordsmythe wrote:

UNDER is a good time.

How to form a subterranean civilization: piss off the designer?

LobsterMobster wrote:

I like these games but I inevitably play once or twice, then look it up on YouTube or hunt for a walkthrough. There is some logic to the interactions but since you don't really know what people are aiming to do till they do it, it's hard to tell what you did wrong.

wordsmythe wrote:

UNDER is a good time.

How to form a subterranean civilization: piss off the designer? :D

I'm mostly trying to piss off designers with my actions in most games. Why stop now?

PopEsc wrote:

Interesting. A flash game I can play on my Droid!

Yeah, having just gotten one myself, it occurs to me that these would be great games for mobile phones. A port packaging them up to run as an app would probably be the first time I paid for a phone game.

As is, I'll have to bookmark the link to the list of them.