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The Grow games are a series of quirky Flash puzzles. You control a Sugar Bowl world, which you can fill with cute people, equally cute monsters, strange items, and odd architecture. The gameplay is simple: the game displays a selection of items, and the player must pick the items in the right order to advance the story. The items grow each turn and interact with ones previously chosen, providing clues that the player can use to figure out the correct sequence.
The appeal of the games lies in the cartoon humour and surreal events that you trigger as you explore the possible sequences and get closer to the solution. Sometimes, the wrong choices can be almost as entertaining as the right ones.
All the games are available to play online at the author's website.
The series currently consists of:
- Grow ver.3: The original Grow game, remade to include a secret second ending. 12 items - the most in the series.
- Grow RPG: The second in the series. Fantasy-themed, but not otherwise hugely RPG-like. 8 items.
- Grow Cube: Third game in the series, set on a cube-shaped world. 10 items.
- Grow ver.1: A departure from the classic Grow gameplay. You have an egg. What will you do with it? Choose between 2 items to advance to the next stage.
- Grow ver.2: Some very strange woodland creatures. 6 items.
- Grow Tower: Build a tower so you can turn the sun back on. 5 items.
- Grow Island: Construct an island utopia. Commissioned by the Shibaura Institute of Technology, which is why all the panels are related to science and engineering. 8 items.
- Grow Valley: a Spiritual Successor to Grow Island, and commissioned by the same university. 7 items.
- Grow Cannon: Wake up a sleeping man by firing a cannon at different plots of land to evolve them. Seven locations, ten shots.
- Grow nano ver.0: A departure from the classic Grow gameplay. While keeping the "growing" theme, this is a mouse-clicking test of reflexes and memory.
- Grow nano vol.1: Another departure from the usual style; this is a Pixel Hunt version of the previous game. By popular demand, later games returned to the original format.
- Grow nano vol.2: Rescue a baby bird. 3 items.
- Grow nano vol.3: Help your little guy get well. 6 items.
- Grow nano vol.4: In early 2011 a fan made the creator an Eyez Maze ceramic figurine, and this game has you create the figurine. 4 items.
- Grow Ornament: Decorate a Christmas tree. 6 items.
These games provide examples of:
- Battle Theme Music: At the end of Grow RPG.
- Beneath the Earth: The cyclops creatures from Grow ver.1 and the secret ending of Grow Valley.
- Big Bad: The demon guy from Grow RPG. Notable in that this is the only one of the games that features an antagonist at all.
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment: The lava creature from Grow Island.
- Bizarrchitecture: Grow Tower is all about this, and Grow Cube is pretty screwy as well. Grow nano vol.1 is like a Lighter and Softer Salvador Dali piece. Then there's the secret ending of Grow Island...
- Bizarre Puzzle Game: The games are pretty much their own genre.
- Christmas Episode: Grow Ornament.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Men are light yellow, women are white, children are dark yellow, and babies are light green. In Grow Valley, your engineers are all colour-coded by occupation.
- Combining Mecha: The ending of Grow ver.2.
- Cool Car: The car in Grow Valley eventually gets redesigned into a dragonfly-like hovercar.
- Cool Train: The Maglev bullet train in Grow Valley.
- Continuity Nod: items and creatures from earlier games frequently show up later in the series.
- Drinking on Duty: Watch the designer closely in Grow Valley as he works at his desk. He appears to be powered entirely by beer and lollipops, which may explain some of the stranger architectural features in the game.
- Ear Worm: Most of the games contain at least one.
- Easter Egg: Grow nano vol.2 has a small one. The secret endings of some of the games might also count.
- Elaborate Underground Base: You can construct one in Grow Valley.
- Green Aesop: Not explicit, but the ideal solutions for several of the games show people and technology coexisting harmoniously with nature.
- Hammerspace: Examples abound throughout all the games.
- Hard Work Montage: Shown at the end of Grow Valley. On a smaller scale, the little designer working furiously at his desk in the same game.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: Your hero in Grow RPG, as well as all the other good guys.
- Idea Bulb: One appears whenever one of the little game-world people gets a bright idea.
- Little Green Men: The aliens from Grow Island and Grow Valley.
- Mecha Expansion Pack: Your construction mecha in Grow Island. Its upgrades let it dig harbours, drill tunnels, lay tracks, fly with rocket engines, and create sheep. To appreciate this fully, please note that it starts out as a small road-paving machine.
- Medieval European Fantasy: The game world in Grow RPG.
- Mini-Mecha: The mole mecha from Grow Valley, and the road-surfacing mode of the Transforming Mecha from Grow Island.
- Multiple Endings: Several of the games have a secret ending. Grow ver.1 makes every ending uniquely interesting.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Your little engineer guy in Grow Island. Averted in Grow Valley, in which your scientists and engineers must work together on most of their projects.
- Pink Girl, Blue Boy: Mostly averted, but shows up in Grow nano vol.3 (although the little guy is only blue because he's not feeling very well - he turns yellow again when he gets better).
- Pixel Hunt: The entirety of Grow nano vol.1. Thankfully, it is not a hard game.
- Prequel: Grow ver.1 and Grow ver.2 arrived after Grow ver.3. The original versions 1 and 2 were simply earlier, less fully-featured, versions of Grow ver.3. So many people asked the author what versions 1 and 2 were that he created entirely new games to fill those version numbers.
- RPG Elements: Grow RPG isn't really an RPG. It's a Grow game with a fantasy setting and characters who have hitpoint meters.
- Science Hero: The scientists and engineers in Grow Island and Grow Valley. Technology, yay!
- Shout-Out: Look carefully for Waldo in both endings to Grow Valley.
- Sugar Apocalypse: The game world can become a very grim place if you get things too badly wrong.
- Sugar Bowl: Most of the game worlds.
- The Quest: You have to enable the hero to complete one in Grow RPG.
- Transforming Mecha: The awesomely cool construction mecha from Grow Island.
- Trial and Error Gameplay: Getting the correct sequence on the first try would require lottery-jackpot amounts of luck. However, there is a certain logic to the way your choices interact with each other, so the challenge is to spot the connections and use them to guide you closer to the solution.
- What Do You Mean It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: All the games, but Grow Cube ends up particularly trippy.
- Widget Series: And how!
- Write Who You Know: The programmer wrote Grow nano vol.3, in which you help him get well, while he was recovering from an illness.