Growbot is a 2D point-and-click adventure game in which you play as Nara, a student growbot on her first day of training on board a space station. Before you can begin learning about your new home's ecosystem of alien flowers and strange creatures, an attack by an unknown force infests the station with large and quickly growing crystals. With communication cut off, you venture out of your room in search of help. Along the way you must make new friends, fix the station's strange machinery, and discover the origins of the crystalline force spreading throughout the station.
The game has been designed for an audience who do not usually play games, and it’s intended to be challenging but not stressful. Growbot is not a game of extremes; it’s emotional but subtle, and rendered in a rich, detailed art style.
Growbot began as a learning challenge. I wanted to push myself to learn new technical skills and I was curious about the process of game design. As an illustrator I focus on still images, but as a game developer I wanted to focus on interaction and think in terms of the verbs of the experience.
I wanted to make the type of game I’d like to play: a rich visual world with puzzles I could unfold in my own time, and in which solving those puzzles would serve to deepen the player's understanding of the narrative. I was inspired by the atmosphere of Amanita’s Machinarium and Lucasarts’ Loom. I love how these games use their puzzle design to pull the player deeper into the world.
As a picture book illustrator, visual world building is important to me. The anime Kino’s Journey and the 1980’s animated series The Moomins depict beautiful worlds splintered with moral and emotional complexity. I was inspired by how these shows explored philosophical themes in a simple, light hearted way, and aimed to achieve this in Growbot.
Growbot was built on a broad range of themes, including the future of technology, AI, consciousness, autopoiesis and space exploration.
My goal for the design was to develop puzzles relevant to the environment and which both progressed the narrative and felt meaningful to the player. I’m proud that feedback suggests that the theme of self-accomplishment - delivered via the ability to solve puzzles on your own, in your own time and in your own way - is coming across. As Nara and players move through the station, both build knowledge of the environment and confidence in their abilities.
Lisa Evans, creator.