Grow Up, the sequel to Grow Home, is a cute little game about a clumsy red robot named B.U.D. saving his mothership, M.O.M. after they crashed into the moon and pieces of M.O.M. were spread out across the planet. You get a friend named P.O.D. who helps you through your journey and teaches you that you are not the best person on the planet, and inspires you to find your strengths.
Throughout Grow Up, you bring pieces of M.O.M. to the Moon to reassemble her. To do this, P.O.D., who has the ability to fly, and has an extremely strong magnet ability, puts their magnet just above the pieces of M.O.M. and instructs you to grab the magnet and lower it to pick up a piece of the mothership. At first, this seemed normal, but then I realized P.O.D. could just lower the magnet themselves if they chose to. I suddenly felt powerless, thinking that the whole game could be completed by this random NPC and that anything I could do they could do better.
After completing Grow Up for the first time, listening to all of P.O.D.’s instructions, growing huge starplants, giant plants that extend upwards, allowing you to easily reach every floating island, and lowering P.O.D.’s magnet every time they asked me to, I felt somewhat good. The experience was nice, the art direction was cute, and I liked the gameplay. Seeing the mothership get put back together and seeing B.U.D. see his M.O.M. live again was a great moment. Then M.O.M.’s screen displays the amount of objectives I completed. All four starplants were grown, and I did that all by myself, with no help from P.O.D..
Then the truth hit me. Growing the starplants, the one thing I did correctly, was not necessary because my mission was not to find starplant nutrients, it was to save the mothership. I was completing a task that was not assigned to me, and it made my goal so much easier, but it made the whole experience lack any challenge. Noticing this, that I was still relying on the same hand-holding support from Grow Home, where you use the starplants to gather the nutrients in them, I realized that the B.U.D. in my first playthrough wasn’t grown up, he was still a child not able to do anything himself.
So I restarted the game, and had one goal in mind: complete the game without growing any starplants. This took some time, as the game only gives you a handful of abilities and only some of them are useful for traversing long distances. I spent hours planting plants that throw you into the air, and gathered as many crystals to power my jetpack as I could. Everything went well, and P.O.D. would show off their ability to fly freely every time I reached a piece of M.O.M.. It didn’t hurt as much during my second playthrough, though. P.O.D. had their strengths, but I finally had mine too. I finally grew up.
I think Grow Up, with the use of starplants, does not depict growing up very well, but I believe that the playthrough it led me to depicted growing up perfectly. Growing up is about examining your life, your past, and finding your strengths so that you are prepared for the future, but also about examining other people’s strengths and not letting their success make you feel weak. You must realize that you coexist with people who will be more successful than you and stronger than you, but that doesn’t make you any less great.
Never forget that you are strong, special, and important. Regardless of other people’s successes, and the occasional failure, you are so important. That’s what growing up taught me, and that’s what Grow Up taught me. Keep living and moving towards your goals, find your strengths, and be the best person you can possibly be.