Vote to Play, a new service which lets PS Plus subscribers vote on PS4 freebies, was first revealed near the tail end of July, but Sony only today confirmed it to be beginning next month. For its inaugural ballot, Vote to Play has Armello, a video board game; Zombie Vikings, a 2D multiplayer brawler; and Grow Home, a whimsical platformer of sorts on offer.
As you may have guessed, the latter has my vote. Protagonist BUD (Botanical Utility Droid) is a cute little thing, but it’s his journey through Grow Home’s ever-growing Star Plant that has its hooks in me. Strikingly minimalistic aesthetic aside, at first glance Grow Home reminds of me Gravity Rush in its love of movement, which is to say nothing of its similar fondness for foreboding voids.
Movement is one of the most basic elements of games, but also one of the most influential. It’s an integral tether between us and the world: we tilt the stick, our character moves. Movement can even dictate the entire feel of a game. What is Infamous: Second Son without Delsin’s smoke jump, neon run and data glide? Dull, that’s what. Without its snappy dodging, Bloodborne would be sluggish, unable to keep up with its own enemies. Shadow of the Colossus is predicated upon a movement system which, in and of itself, provides a constant threat and challenge. The importance of appropriate, enjoyable movement in games cannot be overstated. And movement is what Grow Home is all about.
BUD does have a clear goal in mind—the star seeds atop the plant—but the process of getting there is fittingly organic. He can manipulate the Star Plant in fantastic ways, such as growing and riding its tendrils to reach new heights—or to simply get to that platform over there. This is backed by a standard suite of abilities like climbing and gliding. All the tools are there to find your own path through the Star Plant and see however much of it you want. And that is exactly what I want out of September’s PS Plus lineup.
Voting opens up Thursday, August 13 at 8:30 a.m. Pacific and will run through Monday, August 24 at the same time. You can access the vote from your PS4 via the notifications section of the "What's New" tab.