Grow: Cuby's Quest is an intriguing space adventure game

Grow: Cuby's Quest screenshot

Grow: Cuby's Quest is a new space adventure game for iOS. You control Cuby. No one's entirely sure what Cuby actually is, but at the very least it's a cube-shaped character that survives and thrives on "pecs," crystals in the game. The short version: collect as many pecs as possible to grow Cuby and avoid as many asteroids as possible so Cuby doesn't shrink. However, in its entirety the game features several power-ups and missions to complete to stay alive and soar through the levels. Grow: Cuby's Quest is free for iPhone.

Grow's gameplay reminds me of Jetpack Joyride, a game that achieved moderate success in the App Store a few years ago. At first glance it looks like there isn't much to either title, but after downloading you find that the opposite is true. While the game is intuitive enough to not be intimidating, its plethora of missions and power-ups ensures that Grow doesn't totally lack complexity either.

Remember the objective: collect pecs to grow Cuby and avoid asteroids, which shrink Cuby. This is done by tilting your iOS device left and right to maneuver that personified cube through space. Now, let's add on the rest of the layers. If you collect 10 pecs in a row without missing any, your combo bar fills and provides a shield good for protection from a single asteroid. If you go a long period of time without collecting any, Cuby starts to shrink on its own.

Grow: Cuby's Quest screenshot

Next in the game are power-ups, which come in all shapes and sizes. The black hole temporarily sucks in surrounding pecs, the death ray destroys incoming asteroids with the tap of a finger and the ice cube temporarily stops the shrinkage while also protecting Cuby - just to name a few. Additionally, four missions are always listed to complete in-game and earn points toward leveling up.

The tutorial teaches you about all of these and at first it seems like a lot to take in all at once, but when you start playing the collecting-and-avoiding tactic present in multiple aspects of the game starts to come naturally.

I find that succeeding in Grow is all about balance. While collecting pecs is useful to grow, avoiding asteroids inevitably becomes more difficult the larger you are. You have to let Cuby shrink and grow at a standard pace to succeed.

The design and controls of Grow are both outstanding. The graphics are pleasantly above expectations for this genre and animations have me shouting "I can't believe it's not butter!" Plus, the motion sensing to control Cuby is as fluid as fluid gets.

Grow: Cuby's Quest screenshot

Cuby is also customizable itself with various accessories and looks, but the feature isn't particularly attractive or necessary. The game does include in-app purchases in its shop, which has various upgrades and power-ups that sell for different amounts of pecs or standard currency. If you collect enough pecs during the game you won't ever need to spend a dime.

Grow: Cuby's Quest is undoubtedly a gem. The design is as intriguing as its gameplay. While there isn't anything terribly unique about the objective, this title offers more than enough to stand apart from the rest and shine in its own light. Grow Cuby's Quest is available now in the App Store.