Room to Grow, Image Mischka Kamener

‘Room to Grow’: A Deceptively Tricky Cactus-Based Indie Puzzle Game

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What Is Room to Grow?

Room to Grow is a cute puzzle game in which you play as a cactus. In each level, you must manipulate your environment by growing yourself and pushing against walls and hedges to push another small cactus to the given target.

Age Rating

Room to Grow has not been given an official rating, but I would happily consider it to be the equivalent of an ESRB E or PEGI 3.

Moving Between Levels, Image Mischka Kamener
Moving Between Levels, Image Mischka Kamener

Available Formats

Room to Grow is available on PC and Mac via Steam.

System Specifications

  • Processor: SSE2 instruction set support
  • Memory: 1 GB RAM
  • Graphics: Intel HD Graphics 4000 or better
  • DirectX: Version 11
  • Storage: 200 MB available space

Room to Grow Trailer

Gameplay

Room to Grow is a game that is simultaneously incredibly simple, and also one of the most fiendishly difficult puzzle games I have ever played. The concept behind every level is the same: push the small, potted cactus (or cacti) onto the marked target/s, however, actually achieving this is always a whole lot harder than it sounds. Perhaps my brain is just not wired correctly for these kinds of things, but I really struggled pretty much from level two!

The controls in Room to Grow are about as simple as they come. Use the arrow keys (or WSAD keys) to grow your cactus in that direction. Z is effectively a backspace, undoing your most recent move, and you can also hit R to restart any level. You can move around the level space (but not cross your own body—think Snake), push against certain edges, and use those push movements to push the target cacti around, and even move the whole screen. It’s far easier to understand when seen in action. I would recommend watching some YouTube videos to really get a feel for the gameplay here.

A Room to Grow Level, Image Sophie Brown
A Room to Grow Level, Image Sophie Brown

As you work through the levels, you will discover new backgrounds and new targets—such as moving two cacti to target spots instead of just one. Thankfully, you can skip over levels as much as you want so you don’t risk getting stuck early on and being unable to progress further.

There’s really nothing more to it than that, making it a delightfully simple game that delivers exactly what it promises.

Expansions and In-Game Purchases

There are no expansions or in-app purchases in this game.

Room to Grow Verdict

I really enjoyed playing Room to Grow, even though I found it almost impossible to actually play! By the time I got to around level nine or ten—so very early on in the game—I was having to skip levels or search for solutions online. I roped in my husband and eleven-year-old son to have a go, and between the three of us, we managed to solve some more but, even then, by around level 12 we were all entirely flummoxed. This isn’t a fault with the game—when you finally see someone complete the puzzle it always seems so simple you wonder how you never thought of it—it just requires a certain way of thinking that apparently isn’t a strong suit for any of us!

Solving a Level Causes the Cactus to Bloom, Image Sophie Brown
Solving a Level Causes the Cactus to Bloom, Image Sophie Brown

I also loved how Room to Grow really focused on the core puzzle mechanics. There’s virtually nothing extraneous here: no timers, move counters, or other elements such as a story. The entire focus of the game is on solving the puzzles, and with the ability to skip levels as much as you need to, it actually does a great job of keeping a tricky game relatively free of frustration. There are over 100 levels included here (I can’t even begin to imagine how challenging those later ones must be) which gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

Finally, the artwork in this game is absolutely adorable. If you ask your cactus to move in a way it can’t, it will blush, and if you try to double back so it runs into itself it will squeak in surprise upon bumping its head on its own prickles. Yes, it’s all very simple—there are no hi-resolution photo-realistic graphics here—but that’s all you need in a game like this and I defy anyone not to burst from sheer cuteness the first time you spot your cactus blinking.

GeekMom received a copy of this game for review purposes.

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