Are you getting bored of Animal Crossing (despite the huge new update?) Is Stardew Valley not holding your attention lately? Do you love the life simulation of games like Animal Crossing and Stardew Valley by also crave expansive worldbuilding that continuously introduces you to adorable creatures? Well, I’ve got just the game for you.
Grow: Song of the Evertree is a sand-box exploration game in which you’re the last of the Everheart Alchemists, a group of people responsible for tending to the Evertree. Now, though, the Evertree is a far cry from what it once was; it’s up to you to grow it from a sapling once more and explore and cultivate the worlds growing upon it. How you do that is up to you. Your connection with nature holds the keys to what you create.
There’s plenty of ways to play the game. If you prefer to explore, there’s plenty for you: mysterious caves, new worlds with interesting flora, the list is endless. If you like to spend your time building up new worlds, there’s plenty of ways to craft unique World Seeds to plant using items you find in your travels. These seeds can create any type of environment, from summer meadows to winter wonderlands, and each has a new set of plants and creatures to study. You can hack through the evil energy threatening the native plants, gather materials, and build up the world in your image.
Maybe you’re the type to take it easy. Well, that’s okay, too! There’s no shortage of fish and bugs to catch, flowers to water and pick, and rocks to overturn. If you feel like it, there’s plenty of people that need your aid; you can run errands and deliver items to help them out. Or not. The game never pressures you to move faster than you want to.
On the music front, Grow: Song of the Evertree is spectacular. Such is to be expected from a game where your song is used to free the flora from the dastardly Withering. Kevin Penkin designed a wonderful soundtrack that’s a relaxing mix of gentle music and natural sound, making for easy listening as you play. It’s one of those soundtracks you’re itching to download once you hear it because it’s just that good. Plus, it’s a nice reprieve from the chaos of this time of year. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, give it a listen and let it ease you.
There are some rough patches in the game, though. Firstly, while the graphics are cute, they get a bit crusty on the Switch (and in general.) It’s not so terrible that it can’t be overlooked, but the drops in quality are noticeable in certain areas in the animation. The other issue is the loading times. They can be quite extensive at times, sometimes up to and over a minute when traveling between worlds. This is mostly a problem when you boot up the game for the first time, and it can be a little frustrating. It does resolve itself later in the game.
Despite a little bit of rust in the graphics department, Grow: Song of the Evertree is a nice, laidback adventure that lets you flex your worldbuilding muscles with its sand-box style gameplay. It’s not pushy when it comes to following the plot, giving you plenty of freedom to explore all the unique worlds the game provides. In addition to a nicely blended mix of life management, sand-box, and exploration gameplay, the game also has an amazing soundtrack that’s worth more than a few listens. Amidst the chaos of the holiday season, kick back and relax with Grow: Song of the Evertree and explore to your heart’s content.