Review: Growing Pains by Smudged Cat Games

The creators of Adventures of Shuggy and Gateways have released their latest speed running platformer called Growing Pains. The game is inspired from a somewhat bizarre source: the pregnancy of the developer’s wife. Note sure how many games have been inspired by pregnancy. Well, except the following one. . .

In the game, the protagonist is constantly growing, meaning that you have to get through the stages as quickly as possibly before you become too large to fit through the spaces. In case you hadn’t noticed by now, this is a unique game in many ways. But it’s also traditional in other ways, such as the leaderboard.

The Vessel is constantly growing, and at an alarming rate. This means that the spaces within each level confine you. As you run through each level you’ll have to collect a bunch of glowsticks that open the doorway at the end of the level. But if you’re too big to get through the doorway once you get there, you’re done.

The protagonist can never get smaller. She can increase her growth rate (which helps her to be quicker) and you can stop growing, but doing so uses an energy bar at the top of the screen. Your other skills include jumping, wall jumping, triangle jumping, wall sliding and more. You’ll need to use your skills effectively to complete the level as quickly as possible. You’ll also need very precise moves as you’ll die if you come into contact with the deadly elements that litter the levels. You have infinite lives but if you want to nab a place on the leaderboard you need to pass a level within a set number of lives.

Thankfully, the controls are excellent. The only thing getting in your way of success is your own skill. You’ll never feel like you’ve be let down by the game’s design as it is precise and flawless. You’ll need to time your jumps effectively and avoid tons of dangers like grenades and lasers.

Graphically, this is a very simply game that look similar to other indies. The soundtrack is the same too: it’s reasonable, but not spectacular. It’s fast paced and matches the gameplay.

Where the game excels is in its gameplay. With precise controls and cleverly designed levels, you’ll love playing through the game right from beginning to end. The presentation could have been better, but gameplay is what games are ultimately about, and the gameplay here is exceptional.


Paul Harrison

Paul M Harrison is an entertainment journalist, novelist, and blogger, and a specialist in the theory of storytelling. Paul Harrison can be contacted via his personal website or on Twitter or Facebook.

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