Day 554: Growing Pains

Posted: 2012/05/17 in Indie Games

Now this game brings together a bunch of really, really cool concepts. “Growing Pains” starts with a couple of simple ideas, but the implementation is nearly flawless and the net result really damn cool.

In this 80 Microsoft Point platformer, your character (an amorphous blob) grows slowly as you play. Gameplay focuses heavily on collect-’em-up mores, but that’s where it gets so intriquing. As your character gets larger, you can jump more strongly (necessary for collecting some things) but you will have a harder time fitting into confined spaces (necessary for collecting other things). Grow too big and you won’t even be able to get out of the level though, and that does a better job of driving you along through the game than any timer ever has. You have the ability to grow, or shrink, as necessary, but it costs you energy that you can ill afford to expend unnecessarily; strategic use of these abilities will give you an edge.

Did I mention the game is big? Taking a page out of “PLATFORMANCE : Castle Pain”‘s playbook, the game is one huge level. The twist here is that it grows out in every direction, it’s not simply a matter of going up and down through a big “level box”.

It doesn’t hurt my feelings that some of the visuals remind me of some of the colour-cycling effects done in the Commodore 64 (and, later, the Amiga) demo scene, as that ramps up the nostalgia-o-meter. It even has peer-to-peer sharing of high scores and speed runs which, while not a substitute for global leaderboards, is still a nice touch amongst friends. This game has a lot of neat things going on, and is easily worth 80 Microsoft Points.

Here’s what the developer (Smudged Cat Games) has to say about the game:

“Merging classic platforming with psychedelic visuals and a pumping sound track Growing Pains will blow your mind as ‘the vessel’ continually grows while you play. Featuring 9 levels with 3 difficulty levels that completely change how you play and the ability to share high scores and replays with your friends and the rest of the world Growing Pains is an experience not to be missed.”

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