Grow: Song Of The Evertree Review - Magical Town Management

Grow: Song of The Evertree is an open-world simulation game with alchemy, farming, and town management mechanics that look like a moving storybook. Developed by Prideful Sloth and published by 505 Games for the Nintendo Switch, PS4, Xbox One, and PC, the game is completely different than the developer's recent game Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles. With a mixture of well-balanced gameplay and diversity, Grow: Song of The Evertree is a captivating blend between exploration and simulation.

Following the story of a young Everheart Alchemist, players must rebuild a world that has been ravaged by a disease called the Withering. Guided by a talking book and a helpful alchemy cauldron, the alchemist will create unique world seeds to plant on the Evertree, nurturing the budding lands while rebuilding the town at the base of the towering foliage. Similar to town management games like Animal Crossing: New Horizons, players can customize everything in the town, from the placement of every store and home to the paint and decorations of each building. This gives each save file a unique and rewarding atmosphere.

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Like many other simulation-style games, days are broken down into several major tasks, like town management and Evertree care. Starting the day, the alchemist will leave their home and travel up to the town, greeting new guests that have arrived at their airship dock. These characters can be invited to live in the town, acting as employees for shops and caretakers for public locations. Players can also help the town's inhabitants by fetching them items, fixing up buildings, and adding new structures to the ever-growing map. Doing these tasks builds the town's happiness level, and rewards the alchemist with needed alchemic essences, decorations, and other useful items.

Once town management has been finished in Grow: Song of The Evertree, players will then fly up into the branches of the Evertree to care for each of the unique worlds. When the worlds are first planted, they will spring up diseased with the Withering. By pulling toxic plants, planting seeds, removing debris, and singing, the true beauty of each world is slowly unravelled. To make the experience more rewarding, the worlds of each seed are not determined by procedural generation or predetermined maps, but by the essences used when creating the seed in an alchemy session. This allows diversity in numerous worlds, with new fauna, flora, and creatures to discover. Once the worlds in the Evertree have been restored, players can befriend animals, go fishing, and catch bugs while harvesting the unique plants and fruit.

While there aren't any glaring issues with gameplay, Grow: Song of The Evertree does have a frustratingly long tutorial similar to Story of Seasons for the Nintendo 3DS. This tutorial takes several in-game days and locks specific mechanics like fishing, bug catching, and alchemy behind the completion of each tedious explanation. In the case of basic mechanics like the use of tools, players actually go through the tutorial twice, once in the Evertree's first world, and then again at the village of the Everkin. Grow: Song of The Evertree could benefit from a starting option to skip the tutorial days, similar to Stardew Valley's setup menuwhen setting up the game, or potentially moving the tutorial of the Everkin to the first day, so players aren't stuck repeating already known explanations.

One of the best features of Grow: Song of The Evertree is the art design. The environments of every location are saturated with color and clean detail. Blades of grass blow in the breeze, the water ripples as fish swim through, and flowers stand out with vibrant hues. These details mixed with the relaxing soundtrack make it easy to lose track of time while playing and allow easy immersion into the world.

Grow: Song of The Evertree is a great game for fans of both the simulation and relaxing exploration titles. It's also an ideal title to introduce younger players to open-world exploration thanks to forgiving gameplay and clear explanation. With so much to discover, it is likely Grow will offer a fresh, exciting journey no matter how many times a player restarts.

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Grow: Song of The Evertree is available now on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam. A Nintendo Switch code was provided to Screen Rant for the purpose of this review.



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