Grow: Song of the Evertree PS4 Review
When we previewed Grow: Song of the Evertree, we noted the game was a hybrid of Ferngully and Animal Crossing. Well, come November 16th, the game has launched and everything we observed before still holds. Our preview build was on PC and this time we played the PS4 version on the PS5. The game is just as relaxing on a console as it was on a PC.
In terms of story setup and gameplay, Evertree is Animal Crossing crossed with Stardew Valley. In the game, you are the last of the Everheart Alchemists. As such, you are charged with the care of the Evertree. This care is vital because the worlds reside in the branches of the tree. Some illness has befallen the Evertree, and it is now a mere sapling of its former glory. It is your mission to not only restore the Evertree but also the many lost worlds.
Your journey will not be a quick one. There are many tasks to be completed and much knowledge is lost. You do this by exploring the world and expanding your skills. Maybe, just maybe, you will also rediscover lost knowledge that can restore the Evertree and Alaria to their former glory. However, there is no ticking clock forcing you through the game. This means that you can take your time in restoring the world.
Two Paths To Success
The game takes place in Alaria, a once thriving world that was nurtured by the many branches of the Evertree. The once majestic Evertree no longer flourishes. The Evertree has dwindled down to a mere sapling. To further complicate matters, you must rediscover the lost knowledge of what made the Evertree grow.
You start the game out by farming, which requires you to care for the land using tools, which you craft, such as scythes, mallets, and axes. To start farming, you saddle up your trusty steed, Kazumi. Kazumi is a winged Pokemon-like creature. From the chief town, Kazumi will fly you to the branches. Each branch holds a town which comes with a default name, or you have the option of renaming the town to suit your fancy. Upon landing, you must restore each new piece of land. This involves cutting weeds, planting seeds, and watering them. As a diversion, there are caves to explore. They take you underground where you can solve puzzles and find treasures. Once you restore a piece of land, then more activities – such as building and fishing – challenges, and quests are unlocked. These new opportunities allow you to customize villages and communities, thus increasing the health of the Evertree.
As the Evertree grows, World Seeds become available. At this point in the game, two paths become available. You can either farm or you can explore and increase your alchemy skills. These two activities are the base and strength of this game. With the farming and community building tasks, you pretty well stay in one location, while the alchemy is about being on the move and exploring. The two paths are complementary to one another and both give the player substantial rewards and progression systems. Typically, you will explore during the daytime and farm during the night. You can rest at night, but you do not need to.
With your alchemy abilities, you can use these seeds to grow new worlds in the branches of the Evertree. These new worlds include familiar settings such as forest, ice and desert. As you are doing this, you’ll meet new people, befriend a variety of very cute animals. To aid you in your travels are several companions. First there is Coppertop and Book, who serve as your sources of knowledge. On the more practical side, help comes from the citizens of Alaria, the Everkin. They teach you how to craft and use tools to farm and build.
A “Grow” State of Mind
The farming and alchemy paths are both presented with lush and colorful visuals. This style gives the game a very Japanese RPG feel. Along with the music, the game exudes a very relaxed vibe. This is a game which lets you unwind and relax rather than having to get psyched up to do battle, or enter a heightened state to put your muscle memory and reflexes on high alert. There is no combat anywhere in this game.
With the preview build, the developers urged us to use a controller to test out its usability. The results were excellent and the same holds true for the PS4 version. Controls are responsive and easy to figure out. The only nitpick, and it may be enough to turn some players off, is the constant cycling up and down the menu system to access the controls for needed action(s).
Game developer, Prideful Sloth, places a premium on marrying narrative storytelling with detailed world building. This is a great game for players who just want to unwind or for parents looking for a safe game for their children to play.
***PS4 code provided by the publisher for review***
- Great family game
- Easy to follow quests
- Constant rewards and progression
- Languid pace
- Lots of menu cycling
- No multiplayer