Enjoy your vegetables
We’ve all had it happen to us once or twice: binging on junk and other food that tastes good, but isn’t exactly good for us. Afterwards, all you really want is a good salad or maybe a wrap to help flush that feeling out of your system and balance things in your diet, if only just a bit.
Such is the case in Grow Away, Chillingo’s latest offering in the App Store. However, in something of an amusing twist, it isn’t your objective to cleanse your palate with fresh veggies; rather, it’s to destroy an oncoming army of produce-hungry monsters by hopping into a slingshot and splattering yourself across the countryside.
Indeed, much like Angry Birds (among other games), the key to preserving yourself and those you care about involves what appear to be rather suicidal tendencies, though if that is indeed the case, at least Grow Away doesn’t make a big show of it. The basic idea feels like a slingshot game meets Space Invaders, with an advancing army of various critters attempting to break down your de-fences (because you’re protected by fences, see) and nom the night away.
Fortunately, you and your slightly-anthromorphized tomato troopers aren’t going it alone. As new types of threats emerge, so too do new allies from the front of the grocery store: Pumpkins, onions, chili peppers, and so on join the fight, each bringing with them a unique punch. Holding the slingshot back before firing also allows you to charge up special abilities for each, leaving a curiously uniform blue splatter where the various rats, snails, and such once stood.
In addition, you can call on different power-ups to help even the field if the odds appear to be too overwhelming. From fire and ice bombs to new materials to fortify your fences, there is a modest variety here to appeal to the strategist, with some items granted from snagging gift-wrapped presents on the field, and others purchased with the frequently-dropped gold coins or the less-frequently dropped rubies (which can, of course, be purchased with real-world money).
There is an interesting dynamic at work which at once feels varied yet uniform; the vast majority of the action is just pulling back and shooting enemies who march in a forward formation. At the same time, the variety of different enemies moving in different formations and allies/items which appear keep things mixed up enough to remain addictive. You might feel like you’re doing the same thing over and over again, yet find yourself compelled to keep playing.
Grow Away isn’t especially revolutionary, but it’s surprisingly good, solid fun that will keep you busy for a while, coming back for just a bit more.