Dear Home by Growing Seed Games
Dear Home is a top-down adventure, puzzle and exploration game set on an alien world. Several robots have been dispatched to explore this new world, locate life and assist in its development.
The player is tasked with controlling a drone with the mission to assist several other machines in setting up and mapping this planet. This is mostly done through a selection of puzzles and hunting down resources.
The story is kept very basic, with the premise being that of automated exploration of a new world and the careful study of its lifeforms. Perhaps the only quirky addition is the idea of taking one of the local species and elevating it to a peaceful civilization. Unfortunately, much of the dialogue in Dear Home seems a tad clumsy and rather basic, but it does the job of creating a setting, at least.
Dear Home splits its tasks between two main areas: exploration and puzzling. The former is handled across a large grid-based world. Movement is a little stiff, to say the least, but the world is reasonably varied with snowy regions, large green plains and more.
Animals ranging from small rabbit creatures to dangerous dinosaurs roam the terrain, and it’s interesting to find the planet’s many nooks and crannies tucked away.
Blocks for Building, Blocks for Pushing
A crafting system provides some upgrade potential as exploration continues; new abilities such as building different block types or mining more diverse materials can be unlocked, and this serves as a gatekeeping system for certain aspects of the game. The crafting system is far from deep, but it provides an element of progression as things move on.
Breaking up the exploration, and forming the bulk of the game’s challenge, is a collection of puzzles dotted throughout the map. These puzzles are generally essential for finding key items or obtaining new resources for crafting needs.
I found the puzzles to be fairly easy-going, with some providing short term head-scratchers. They straddle the line between challenging and frustrating fairly well. There isn’t much variety, unfortunately, and all of the puzzles are built around pushing blocks around on the grid map.
Take Me Home, Grid-Based Road
The visuals of Dear Home are pretty basic, but they manage to convey the details of its world well enough. Some of the more mobile elements, such as the dinosaurs, look a little rough around the edges, but they have their charm.
The music is, thankfully, fairly catchy, but it does tend to loop between a very finite selection of tracks, which can get a bit bland after a while.
It’s a shame that navigating the world is somewhat clunky (it reminded me of Sonic 3D, likely on a cosmetic level, given the grid layout, and I can’t say that is a good thing).
Nonetheless, the puzzles are reasonably challenging, and Dear Home does a good job of laying them out in a world that manages to pose its challenges on a macro level. If you are looking for a few reasonably tricky puzzles to exercise your brain in a fairly chilled world, then Dear Home could have something for you.
Dear Home is available via Steam.
Check out the official trailer for Dear Home below: