I told myself I wasn’t going to preview anymore games this year, you know, I’m trying to take some time off. Then we got the trailer for Grow: Song of the Evertree and I was immediately excited. Published by 505 Games and developed by Australian developer Prideful Sloth, Grow: Song of the Evertree is a sandbox game where players crafts the world that they’re in with life management elements and even exploration.
The game takes place in Alaria, a world that has been abandoned and overrun by the Withering. Once a colorful world of life, Alaria has faded and the Evertree, a tree with worlds on its branches has withered to a sapling leaving the beauty as no more than a memory. In typical fashion you must nurture, care, and grow new worlds from the branches of the Evertree as an Everheart Alchemist. As you build the world, old inhabitants return and Alaria begins to take a shape again. Most importantly though, as more inhabitants return, it’s important to speak with them, learn from them, and ultimately through their stories, see the world unfold as you use their stories to create a dream town.
So, we have to be honest, cozy has become a genre in and of itself and many games have this same presence, like Cozy Grove or Garden Story. But while there is a central theme, fight off a dark thing and build a community to make it better and more complete, the execution is what makes the games different. For that part, Grow: Song of the Evertree standouts because of the scope of world-crafting and its art.
First, Grow: Song of the Evertree hosts a bevy of fauna and flora and you’re encouraged to not only explore it all, but to do it as your own pace. You can choose to craft from fauna or you can make friends with them and not do that. You can choose to build the world the way you want to, meaning that your experience is pretty much customized to your play-style. You can focus on exploring caves, farming minerals and flowers, you can fish and catch bugs, and you can form a community by talking to people. There isn’t a timer limiting your activities throughout a play session and there is no push to complete the game quickly. In that way, Grow: Song of the Evertree is very much cozy in that there is no pressure on you to play a certain way, there are no elements of not feeling like you’re missing elements, and to be honest, it’s a game that truly feels like I can just take my time.
The way you build new worlds though, is interesting. Using World Seeds, you generate totally new worlds with unique characteristics, relying on your use of alchemy. You tend those worlds to rejuvenate them and see how they change and develop both with your impact and on their own. And the variance of the worlds is stunning, with meadows, deserts, frozen worlds and more. While I was limited in the preview event, if the games’ full worlds are as lush and layered with character as what I saw, there is so much more in store.
Additionally, vibrant isn’t even a strong enough word to describe the beauty of colors in Alaria. Additionally, the hyper-stylized 3-D art-style makes the world of game feel whimsical and otherworldly in the best ways. The worlds are unique from each other and honestly from other games we’ve seen before. from fun character design to beautiful landscapes, Grow: Song of the Evertree is just stunning. The art also takes on a dynamic life when paired with the soundtrack. Both create a welcoming world that is, well, cozy.
My only issue is that the on the PC, there are small graphics hiccups and controls that feel less intuitive. That said, with the game coming to all platforms, I’m excited to see what it looks like on the Nintendo Switch.
Overall, Grow: Song of the Evertree is a game that will not only feel like an endless world for you to get lost in, but one where the push to play or the stress of completion is absent. It may sound weird, but the ease with which you settle into the game, is its largest strength. It’s cozy, it’s comfortable, and it feels like it belongs to you. So, make sure to add it to your wishlist.