Grow your very own grandpa in this wonderfully unpleasant little indie horror game

By admin Apr19,2024

I don’t remember much about my grandfathers anymore, only that they were once there and they loved me, and now they are gone. So if I were a small child with quarreling parents and I stumbled across a hidden abandoned lab housing a horrifying shapeshifting psychic lifeform, perhaps I would also try to want this maybe-a-demon to be my grandpa. That’s the premise of Growing My Grandpa!, a delightful little indie horror game about feeding, teaching, and caring for “a grandpa-like entity”. It came out in 2022 and I kept forgetting to post about it, but it’s still great so I’m telling you now, okay.

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Growing My Grandpa! is about Adrienne, a young girl who’s not having a great time. During one of their arguments, her parents send her to the basement, where she finds a grim concealed laboratory with a barred prison cell. Inside, lives… something. Some sort of pulsating bristly black mound. Awful. But Adrienne finds documents she takes to be a book of magic spells, along with a hessian doll and a photo of her grandpa, and casts her wish. Now she just has to help Grandpa grow.

It’s a virtual pet game, really. Once per week, you visit grandpa in the basement to care for him. You should clean up all the filth which seems to materialise around him, uncovering new documents, items, and foods. You can feed him everything a grandpa needs to grow up strong and healthy: stale cashews, brown bananas, fibreglass insulation, the usual grandpa foods. And absolutely you can even talk with your dear grandpa, once he grows a mouth. Finding research notes lets you teach him new words by a minigame with a pleasingly unpleasant visualisation of the flapping soft tissues of the throat. You can then talk with grandpa about these topics and oh, what stories he has!

Caring for a grandpa-like entity in a Growing My Grandpa! screenshot.

Caring for a grandpa-like entity in a Growing My Grandpa! screenshot.

What do you mean, “Where’s the Grandpa?” Here’s right here! Can’t you see his nose off to the left? | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Yames

I like the contrast between Grandpa’s plainly horrifying nature and how sweetly dear little lonely Adrienne cares for him. She just wants a happy family again and she knows this is her Grandpa, or at least could be. And besides, she doesn’t really understand the explanations of experiments, demons, and sympathetic magic. Poking around the basement and chatting and discovering quite what’s happening here—and has happened before—is a cracking little horror story. Some delightful alarming writing, too. I think often about “the inner Grandpa” revealing itself. Too often, really.

Caring for a grandpa-like entity in a Growing My Grandpa! screenshot.
My Grandpa chores this week. | Image credit: Rock Paper Shotgun/Yames

It’s another game of that best kind: cheap, short (under two hours to reach both endings), and leaving bits stuck in the back of your brain to randomly re-emerge later. Looks and sounds great too. My only gripe is that the weekly cleaning can become repetitive but look, that’s part of being a responsible carer. You do love your Grandpa, don’t you? And if you hadn’t hidden a battery inside his food, he wouldn’t have coughed up- wait, what’s that glimmering in his spew?

Growing My Grandpa! is available for Windows from Steam and, priced at £4.29/€4.99/$4.99. It’s made by Yames.

Though the two games play quite differently, Growing My Grandpa! did make me think about Who’s Lila? again, and I’m always glad for that reminder. You might like that if you like this, and vice versa. Or if you want more procedure-performing horror with grubby low-fi looks, I strongly recommend these weird machinery horror games by Mike Klubnika (whose latest, the deadly Buckshot Roulette, has become monstrouly popular amongst streamers and ‘Tubers).

Honestly, being two years late to posting Grandpa isn’t so bad. The other day, I posted lovely magical cornershop game Dépanneur Nocturne after almost four years of intermittently thinking “I really should post this.”

By admin

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