App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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I've noticed that the idea of irresponsible monarchs is kind of a major theme in quite a few games these days. Some of them let their people suffer, others get wasted like a lonely teenager on prom night, and some just stink at taking care of the day-to-day stuff. The king of Meu's land falls squarely into the latter category as he's probably the worst plant-enthusiast I've ever seen.
So the kingdom is looking pretty grim. It's not under assault from a demonic force or becoming poverty-stricken, it's just lacking in proper garden maintenance. The king loves his plants, but he's absolutely terrible about taking proper care of them. So, like any proper ruler, he gets some other poor sap to fix his mess. Meu, the bizarre little green pixie with fly wings and a decidedly 70's coif, is that sap. Players will have to take up the mantle with him as they revitalize the kingdom's flora by way of drawing lines to guide sunlight, water and more to their intended flower pots. However, only two lines can exist simultaneously (most of the time), so it's important to know when to delete and redirect.
Under normal circumstances I'd be partial to Drawin' Growin's paper emulation visuals, but in this particular instance the theme also fits the gameplay (i.e. drawing + paper) to a T. It's a bit lethargic at first, but soon things get frantic as players have to guide different elements (sun, water, etc...) to specific plants and tap invading insects to keep them away. All while on a timer. It gets borderline overwhelming, but thankfully there are a number of power-ups that can be earned, purchased and utilized to help. Some will allow longer lines to be traced while others will remove the need to tap away at those darned bugs. For the duration of one level, anyway. These bonuses help a great deal, but they aren't 100% required to beat a particular stage.
I do have a couple of problems with Meu's gardening antics, however. On more than one occasion I've had trouble intentionally deleting lines (via double-tapping), which can waste precious seconds. It's not a game-breaker, but it's annoying. The other issue I've had is that there's no real explanation as to why I earn a gold medal in one level and not another. Seriously, I've got no clue here. 1300 points in one level will grant me a silver, while 950 in another gives gold. What the heck?
Obscure metrics aside, Drawin' Growin' is a fun game. I really enjoyed watching the different areas of the kingdom spring to life as I completed levels, and the hectic all-at-once management style of gameplay fits the iOS style perfectly. If someone likes guiding things to other things by way of tracing lines with their finger, then this is the game for them.