Grow: Song of the Evertree is a tale as old as time. A prosperous and blessed people and area lose sight of what makes them special, and they lose everything. This is a resource management and farming simulator of sorts that sees us play as a heroic alchemist who is bound to save the area and return to a deep connection with the Evertree.
This story is quite engaging, but is it one that will plant a seed in our hearts? Or does this seed bear no fruit? Let’s find out!
Over time, the Worlds of Alaria faded. The Evertree – where many worlds resided on its countless branches – is now nothing more than a sapling, with its splendor long erased from memory. No one knows how to make it grow anymore. But you are different! You hear the sun as it sings across the sky. You hear the language of rain against the earth. You are the last of the Everheart Alchemists, and your task has been passed down from generation to generation… to grow and protect the Evertree!
This is a sad beginning to what leads to an uplifting story of hope and redemption. Our custom character, the hero/apprentice, is tasked with returning the Evertree back to its former glory and reconnecting to it the way their ancestors once did. This is an adorable little story with plays off of the simple dark/light gimmick, and our protagonist slowly but surely learns the ways to ultimately accomplish their goal.
Grow: Song of the Evertree is slow and relaxing, but it does throw a metric ton of information your way in the early go. The dialog with the various characters and inanimate objects is helpful and definitely builds upon the story and world, but it is a seemingly endless amount of text to read only to get to a couple important points. This is good for a variety of reasons, as Grow: Song of the Evertree builds upon its lore and world in a way that so few games care about. However, it also does it to an extreme degree, to the point where desiring to skip dialog becomes natural over time.
Gameplay-wise, Grow: Song of the Evertree is a resource management title that has you planting, watering, fishing, bug-catching, and so much more en route to beautifying the lands once again and rekindling the relationship with the Evertree. Think of it like Animal Crossing: New Horizons but with a lot more depth and responsibility. Similarly to Animal Crossing, Grow: Song of the Evertree is an incredibly relaxing experience where activities and story development are done at your own pace. There is no rush to get anything done, and there are no consequences for doing things slowly or even forgetting about them.
Things start off rather shallow, as you only have access to your home and a small bit of land and the tutorial that takes place on the tree called the Quiet Isle. Basically, as you progress, you continue to open up the ground area as you push back on the dark roots that have infested so much of the world. On the other side, you continue to beautify and elevate the Evertree by discovering new areas up there and cleaning things up. On the tree itself is where most of the planting, cultivating, and other daily chores come in, while the ground level is a bit more on the customizable, explorative, and narrative side of things.
Similar to other management games, Grow: Song of the Evertree only gives you a certain amount of things to do on a given day. Once you invest enough time in your plots of land and do all of your planting, waters, and cultivating, the game forces you to stop there and get some rest. Days basically feel really short in the early game, because most of the stuff can be done in about 15-20 minutes, if not less, before you have to head back home to sleep and restart things. A fantastic feature is the “Find Work” button that shows you things you can still do in a given area, which does help make the progress of work go more quickly.
It’s not like Animal Crossing in the sense that you can only do so much in a day. Instead, once you sleep, you can continue play. That means there is no restriction on how much you can accomplish in a real day as you can play several in-game days in an hour or so.
Things really open up once the citizens start returning to the place, and you begin building them houses, stores and inns, and basically giving you more management and purpose as you help them to readjust. This brings a lot more fun and creativity to the game, as you are able to spend your resources cleaning areas up and placing buildings however you like. You even have the freedom to assign residents to a particular house as well as to particular jobs to help reap more rewards and resources.
I was not getting a whole lot out of the game until I got to this point, which takes a few in-game days to get to. The chores that you have to do for the Evertree are a bit tedious, but the resources you earn from there are necessary for remaking the village. Every day sees new people show up in the Meadow Quarters where you can decide to make them part of your village or not. Some visitors are there to simply visit and nothing more, but people who desire to stay will notify you. It is a fun, little system that is reminiscent to Animal Crossing, albeit a bit more overwhelming in regards to the amount of people you need to manage over time.
As the relationship with the Evertree improves, so do your abilities and the amount of space you get to work with in both the tree and the town. The bigger the tree area gets, the more resources become readily available, and the bigger the town area gets, the more people can move in, be assigned jobs, and bring in more resources.
This is the economy of Grow: Song of the Evertree, and it is relatively fun for the most part. Although I am not a huge fan of the tree sections, customizing the village and inviting unique and fun individuals in is a blast and really brings a lot of entertainment to the game.
There are loads of areas to unlock, some of which can be customized while others are already designed and exist to add more substance and character to the world of Grow: Song of the Evertree. Some of the areas, particularly Everkin village, are a joy to look around and interact. The Everkin are an adorable species in the game, and they cater to many areas, including building and cleanup.
The art style of Grow: Song of the Evertree is very cute and bubbly, and nothing in the design is threatening, including the poisonous-looking overgrowth. Character models are really well designed, and the overall world contains lots of character for one that requires a lot of customizing from the player.
The soundtrack is excellent and really caters to a relaxing and laid-back gaming experience, but I did find the little use of voices in the game to be a bit annoying. Coppertop and Book, two inanimate yet sentient objects, are constantly talking to the main character, and the noises they make are not pleasant at all. The fact that they chime in so regularly adds to this even more.
A sad problem I experienced regularly on the Switch version was slow loading, graphical issues, and transitional stuttering. The loading between areas can be unforgivable at times, as you can be sitting for a solid couple minutes before the area loads up. Not only that, but the framerate drops so low at times that the game looks like it is a stop-motion animation. I sure hope these are patched out in the future, but as it stands now, there are a lot of internal problems.
There is a lot to love about Grow: Song of the Evertree, but it is sadly hindered by a few heavy issues that unfortunately weigh the whole thing down. It is just too hard to overlook the graphical issues and slow loading on Switch, which are genuinely not good. However, the rest of the game is quite wonderful, especially rebuilding the town and connecting with all of the citizens, both new and returnees.
On top of the standard management aspects, there are a lot of hidden goodies scattered around Grow: Song of the Evertree, and overall, this a hefty game that will keep players busy for hours upon hours. There is a lot to love here, especially your avatar and the ability to take fun selfies with them.
For those who love a good management title, I do recommend Grow: Song of the Evertree. For those looking for an Animal Crossing or Stardew Valley replacement, I cannot say that this is an equal option, but it is still a lot of fun. For the price, this is a great experience, but it does still need some refining. If you don’t mind a resource management title that is a bit rough on the edges, then Grow: Song of the Evertree is a perfect fit for you.
Grow: Song of the Evertree Review provided by Nintendo Link
Review also found on OpenCritic
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Prideful Sloth
Release Date: November 16th, 2021
Price: $24.99, £19.99, €24,99
Game Size: 2.5 GB
Rebuilding the town
Cute and effective art style
Solid story to drive the narrative
Certain chores are very tedious
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.