I really liked the first Grow Home game. It was such an oddly charming experience. But it’s also the kind of experience that would be hard to “sequelize.” I don’t know where you could logically take the game since the original already had you climb into space. That was the fun of Grow Home, though: slowly and meticulously growing this gigantic plant and then free-falling from extreme heights as you looked for more secrets. While Grow Up still has some of that in play, the game is much broader horizontally rather than vertically. You can fly around an entire planet, landing on floating islands and tinkering with various flora. While that’s definitely fun, it’s also not as endearing.
Part of the problem is that this sequel wanted to build off of Grow Home, so it wouldn’t make sense to strip Bud of his powers. You much more quickly gain access to the jetpack and glider and can plant helpful flora at will. This occasionally makes for some very entertaining “how should I get there” moments, but I also feel like it takes a lot of the reward away that the original had. Climbing to the top of the world isn’t as impressive when you can plant a flower that will propel you halfway up, then use your jetpack to get the rest of the way there. That said, I still had fun with Grow Up and would recommend it to fans of Grow Home. The original was a better experience, sure, but I’m glad this has become an actual franchise now instead of a one-off pet project.