Grow: Song of The Evertree (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Nayu 13.06.2022

Review for Grow: Song of The Evertree on Nintendo Switch

Launching on Nintendo Switch in its debut year 2017, Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles by Prideful Sloth was a fun exploration life sim involving the use of creatures called 'sprites' to clear the Murk that pollutes the land of Gemea, with plot twists a plenty and zero fighting being a key attraction. Since then, the developers have created another game: Grow: Song of the Evertree. Published by 505 Games, this is another fight-free adventure.

Grow: Song of the Evertree is set in a world where life essence known as 'Myora' is needed for everything, and is created by The Song, a concept and an act that brought prosperity and people to the Evertree, sung by people called 'Alchemists'. Alchemists use essence from both living and inanimate objects to create items. The story goes that they travelled to the Evertree and set up civilisations in its branches. Unfortunately over time The Song that they lived by became distorted, and the discontent took root everywhere in an event called 'The Withering' which caused all but one alchemist to move away as the land was no longer fit for life. Players must use alchemy to nurture the land and free the Evertree of The Withering.

There may be evil needing to be repelled, but from the start with the beautiful watercolour style Grow: Song of the Evertree is a relaxing game. The story is told through memories of the Evertree throughout the course of the game and also by the protagonist's two main helpers, a living book and an alchemist's cauldron. Book and Coppertop are the dynamic duo who guide the sole remaining alchemist in their daunting task of bringing The Song back to the Evertree. Their distinct personalities bring a great deal of humour to the tutorial. Time passes with night following the day time; once a certain point is reached at night and if the alchemist is tending an area of the tree, they will return to the main ground, as the adorable fluffy flying creature can't fly too late. Time seems to stop when using menus, including building system. The time cycle is important because it often takes just a day for the 'Everkin', tiny creatures who are close to the Evertree and key helpers in the game, to complete buildings, be they small houses or great big libraries and temples. There is a visual clock on screen so it is in theory easy to keep an eye on the time but in practice it is all too easy to get carried away tending to newly created regions, only realising how late it is by being spirited away from the Evertree's higher branches.

Screenshot for Grow: Song of The Evertree on Nintendo Switch

Aside from the very first region which is provided for the protagonist, after a specific story point new areas can be created at any time in Coppertop using a maximum of five types of Myora. Unless exactly the same amount of each type are used, no two regions will necessarily be the same for each game. Some of the Myora have obvious attributes, e.g. using dry or ice themed Myora will create a desert or an arctic like land, but there are many others whose nature is unknown. There must be hundreds of possible combinations for area types. Each one always has plants affected by The Withering that need pulling up, mounds of bricks and planks of wood to bash down which then result in seed plots appearing from the rubble. The tools needed for farming and harvesting can be rearranged in any order on either the tool bar or the tool circle - it is up to the player which system they use. There is an infinite supply of both seeds and water which makes life easier. Each seed becomes either a small sized plant which has just one harvest, a medium sized bush which over time reproduces the nuts and berries, or a tree which grows to dizzying heights and sometimes bears fruit. Each unique region goes through growth spurts, with new areas opening up after the initial ones are tended to, eventually leading to resource rich lands which the Everkin can be set to work in, saving the player some time harvesting the goods. There are small and large animals to tame who can be kept as a pet by the townspeople or set free in nature reserves, and there are many insects and fish to collect in each area, too, which are needed to fulfil quests. Any inanimate object can have its Myora extracted in Copperpot, however, this causes it to disappear so it is wise to keep a few copies of each item in case townspeople need it. There are a fun range of clothes to collect, including various hairstyles and contact lenses to change the eyes. Multiples of these items can be used for Myora extraction but it is advisable to keep at least one extra as many quests call for clothes and accessories, and some seem to be more plentiful than others at the start of the game. It is fun being able to change hair colour and style outside of the initial character creation. The tailor and hairdresser were not unlocked in the review playthrough but judging from items sold in other shops they will probably also provide relevant items for purchase.

Screenshot for Grow: Song of The Evertree on Nintendo Switch

There are regions in the branches of the Evertree but the population grows down on the ground in settlements. Each settlement has specific goals that must be reached for it to thrive and also for the next settlement to be unlocked. These range from decorating the area, over removing obstacles and giving people their dream jobs, to constructing specific buildings. The first tutorial explains the building system well and it is really easy to use. Buildings can be placed anywhere within the town boundaries, but they require specific amounts and types of Myora to come into existence. Once a building is built it can be decorated using various wallpapers and decorations that are collected through harvesting and quest completion. Sometimes quests involve adjusting town decorations which include basic items like street lamps, plants and bushes and more elaborate ones like a gazebo and a well. All decorations and buildings can be moved and destroyed at will. Initially, each house can only house one person, but adding special tokens will increase the number of residents or, for commercial buildings, the number of workers available.

People arrive at the local docks, which often have to be rebuilt for each settlement. Once open, two or three people may arrive each day, some will want to settle and can be assigned a house and a job. There are some main characters who have specific needs and are central to the story, helping drive the plot forward and providing amusement because helping them out or answering in a certain way can make them like the protagonist as more than a friend. All NPCs interact with each other, having conversations that are amusing to watch because emoticons can appear above them, indicating whether they are happy. These symbols also clearly indicate if the person can move to the town, if they are looking for work, or if they have a quest they need help with. Sometimes, at the start of the day, Book will announce if someone wants the apprentice to drop in and see them, which leads to either a side-quest or a main plot point. After a specific pair of individuals arrive, there are regular festivals. If the item that is being celebrated is collected, then tokens are given for each item, which can then be used to purchase accessories and clothes and other key items.

Screenshot for Grow: Song of The Evertree on Nintendo Switch

Outside of maintaining areas in the branches of the Evertree and establishing facilities on the ground, another large part of Grow: Song of the Evertree is exploration. There are secret areas to be found near settlements - finding them does produce rewards. Some areas are reached by bouncing on giant mushrooms which is fun to do as after the bounce there is a glide with a cute looking umbrella. In created areas there are caves to explore with materials to be mined and animals to be collected. Exploration of settled towns is necessary due to a key point in the story that requires finding a certain item that the Evertree needs. These items are not easy to find, the places are often hidden away and they exist in large caverns with a variety of terrain that need surmounting. Of the three areas found so far in the review playthrough, each requires finding glowing orbs of different colours and shapes, placing them on pedestals to unlock the next level needing investigating for yet more orbs. Unlocking the levels cleverly uses the environment to change the area: for example one cavern uses a lot of water, and unlocking a section results in the water being drained, giving access to previously submerged areas. There are no enemies to kill, just a few inanimate creatures to avoid or else they will put the player back to a specific spot, which also happens if the water gets too deep. These puzzle-filled areas provide a different set of skills to farming and town building that some may struggle with, but there is always the option of leaving the cavern and returning later, and the puzzles do not reset themselves if they are abandoned part way through. Time does not seem to pass in the cavern which can be a relief, as it means not being sent back home in the middle of exploration.

Screenshot for Grow: Song of The Evertree on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Without a doubt Grow: Song of the Evertree took on board what worked and what did not work so well in Yonder: The Cloud Catcher Chronicles and produced an engaging, time consuming game that is hard to put down with virtually no issues aside from occasional weird camera angles. It was not possible to finish the main story for this review because of how long it takes to complete each section, but there are dozens of hours to be spent creating new realms to explore and harvest from, creating settlements that are eye-catching and meet all residents' needs, with few issues that make it an epic title in its own right on Nintendo Switch.

Developer

Prideful Sloth

Publisher

505 Games

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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