Drawin’ Growin’ is one of those games we really wanted to like. It starts out fun and quaint, with engaging, creative gameplay and a terrific look. The story is particularly amusing for a puzzle game: It seems the land has gone barren, with nary a weed or tree in sight, so the king calls in Meu– a master gardener capable of bringing greenery and color to the land again.
To perform this feat, Meu will have to channel the right elements to each kind of plant. The basic orange-potted plant, for instance, needs only drops of sunshine to make it grow, while the plants in the blue pots need rain drops. To feed the plants, the player must draw a line on the screen that will let the right drops roll to the appropriate plant. Feeding the wrong element to a plant will actually cause it to wilt, and there’s an intriguing challenge in channeling drops on multiple lines at once to feed all the plants on the screen.
Scarier than Dead Space.
Double-tapping a line causes it to disappear, which is an important skill since you can usually only place a couple lines on the screen at a time. The weather also changes frequently. So, when it starts raining, you’ll have to protect the sunshine-loving plants while flooding the water-hungry flowers. Pests will start to appear, and these need to be actively smashed by tapping on them. It doesn’t take long for the game to get incredibly hectic, and likely too challenging for younger gamers.
That’s a shame, as the graphics have a wonderfully cute, crayon-drawing quality to them, which lends a child-friendly sensibility to the whole thing. The bigger problem, however, is that after a while, the only challenge comes from crowding the screen with the same obstacles over and over. It just starts to feel repetitive and artificially challenging.
It seems like the reason for the heightened difficulty is to get players to spend real money on power-ups. Now, the game does provide you with a modicum of basic, one-use power-ups occasionally, but it largely relies on players actually buying them outright through in-app purchase. We suppose it is possible to beat the game without ever spending a dime, but it would be an incredibly frustrating time filled with trial and error.
Drawin’ Growin’ isn’t actually a free app– it does cost a buck. So, this over-emphasis on spending more money just to get some basic abilities like being able to draw more than two lines at a time, or longer lines is incredibly annoying. We realize that the whole in-game purchase thing makes money for developers, but it’s being over used here.
For a while, Drawin’ Growin’ is really a neat little puzzle game. Sadly, it falls apart quickly enough thanks to the uneven difficulty level and emphasis on sucking up more money when there’s no good reason to do so. If you’re in the market for something a bit different, it’s not a total loss, but the game could have been a lot more polished and user-friendly.