Grow Away

Grow Away is like Angry Birds meets Space Invaders. Sounds like an awesome combination, right? And mostly it is. I’ll admit to spending way too many hours trying to clear a pesky level, growling at my iPhone as my fingers cramp. But that means it’s a good game, right?

In Grow Away, the vegetables are defending the farm against animals and monsters. As the creatures descend down the screen towards your fence, the vegetables slingshot themselves up to kill the attackers. It's like Space Invaders, but instead of shields, you have a fence. And instead of shooting aliens, you’re sling shotting vegetables. Different animals are harder to kill, like the slugs that can move diagonally. Different vegetables act like different weapons in your arsenal, like the almost unstoppable chili that’s basically a flame thrower.

It all starts pleasant enough. You casually pull back the slingshot and send your tomatoes or pumpkins into the enemies. Then the game throws a giant purple monster at you that can absorb damage, and so many of them, that by the time you kill one, three more have eaten through your fence. Your special veggies, like the chili and pumpkins, are only temporary, so you have to use them wisely.

Grow Away

You can buy power-ups to help you. You collect coins and gems during gameplay and you can buy helpful additions like a tornado that sweeps away all the oncoming baddies, or a restore potion that rebuilds the fence. You’re only going to want to buy so much help though. (It actually seems like a backdoor way to make you buy gems and coins with real money.) As a matter of principal, you want to be able to beat the game with only the powers of your own vegetables, not a bunch of cheats you earned.

Of course the levels get more and more challenging, with longer barrages of attacks and bigger combinations of enemies that require dexterity and strategy to kill. That’s to be expected. Some of the controls and game mechanics get a bit frustrating when you know you could beat the level, but some glitch murdered you. The biggest problem is that switching between tomatoes and other vegetables isn’t always smooth, so you may lose a few moves waiting, and it may launch something you were saving for later. It also gets annoying that it takes so long to reload each tomato. I know we’re not using military grade machine guns here, but I want to launch tomatoes, not wait.

Grow Away

The graphics are good with bright colors and funny animations. I mean, angry vegetables, that’s funny. The music is good too with a rousing, peppy melody that totally fits with animated food wars. The vast array of helpful vegetables and enemy monsters are very creative.

It is a testament to the game’s simple and silly premise that I’m willing to stick out some of the technical snafus and play through. The power-ups give me a bit of strategy to employ in the event that I can’t just throw rapid fire tomatoes at the bad guys. Most of the frustrations are only because the game gets so challenging, and I never back down from a challenge.

Store Link: Grow Away for iPhone or iPad | By Chillingo |Price: $0.99 | Version:  |  MB | Rating 4+
6.5 out of 10 arcade sushi rating