In a few words, GROW: Wild West is an interactive cartoon game. This game is comprised of many different small stories revolving around the townspeople and has varied endings depending on the order you choose to build your town.

There’s no currency which will hinder what and when you can build, only a short delay before you can build again, and it only takes a few seconds to complete building once you select what you want to make.

Build Times? Not In Our Town!

I liked that there was very little waiting time and cost, unlike many other games that can have you waiting for a long time such as mobile games. Though it does make sense why waiting times are minimal in GROW: Wild West. If currency and build times were a feature it would slow down the game dramatically and change how it plays, making it more of a building sim instead of a storytelling device.

The choices you will make determine how the game plays out as well as what achievements you’ll get. GROW: Wild West is extremely accessible to new and old gamers alike, as all you do is select what to make next and watch the stories unfold. You have eight buildings to make: the Sheriff’s office, church/bank, Mike’s farm, the lumberjack’s shop, the town musician, the Saloon, the mine and the Gunslinger. The goal is to max each of the buildings and once you do, you will have completed the game.

GROW: Wild West

Everyone Has A Story To Tell

Each townsperson has their own story. My favourite was Farmer Mike’s, all he wanted was to own cows for his tiny ranch. Building the Gunslinger early in the story, I helped Mike get his two cows and live a happy repetitious life. There is little more to his story, but I couldn’t continue watching him become sad everytime he imagined owning cows. Something else that bothered me was the townspeople destroying the Saloon. No matter what I did, I couldn’t save the owners Saloon. I couldn’t find an order which saved it; it’s possible there is a way, I just couldn’t find it.

GROW: Wild West

Armatur Games Left Things To Your Imagination

The characters are created to complement each other, such as: the Gunslinger and Farmer Mike, the church/bank and the musician, and the lumberjack and pretty much everyone else. I found the church and the lumberjack to have the most interactions in the village. The lumberjack would build many things and because of that he interacted with more characters than many others. I found it interesting to watch the Gunslinger’s activities around town. He would always be up to something. For the most part I was convinced he was a bandit because he had a wanted sign on the sheriffs building, and yet I didn’t notice him do anything wrong. I thought maybe he stole the cows for the farmer, however, we don’t know that for sure.

That’s what I liked most about GROW: Wild West, the base is there for you to add your own assumptions for the townspeople and their backstories; the developer didn’t outright tell you.

Armatur Games choice to use speech bubbles over voice acting made it feel like I was watching a silent film. The characters would speak to each other and you would guess what they said from their over the top reactions. I found myself narrating everything they said out loud, with my cat looking at me like I was crazy. I thought it was quite whimsical and a smart choice.

We Need More To Do

However, I did find this game doesn’t have quite as much replay value as it probably needs. It takes around 10 minutes to complete a game, longer if you wanted to 100% it. In that time all you’re doing is watching the characters and clicking on what you would like to build next. You can interact with the environment in a very minimal way, such as spawning tumbleweeds, shaving a cactus plant and ringing the church bell. None of which are exciting or prompted story progression, well at least nothing that I picked up on. This made me feel more and more like a bystander.

I think the feel of the game would improve if players had more input in the world, not just the order in which things are built. I would’ve liked to let the sheriff know when the Gunslinger in the wanted poster was in town. Little touches like that to make the player feel like they are more involved in the story and less like they’re playing a fast-paced mobile construction sim with only 10 minutes of gameplay would have been appreciated.

GROW: Wild West is definitely an intriguing take on how a story driven video game can be presented. I loved the art style they chose. But even the sleek infographic aesthetic couldn’t help the fact it needed more content to be a continuously engaging game.

 

GROW: Wild West is currently available on Steam.