Growing pains is a fast and furious platformer which gives the genre a shake up with psychedelic graphics, a thumping soundtrack and an ingenious twist. The "Vessel" continually grows and expands leaving you in a permanent race to escape the area before you find your butt wedged in a tight spot.
User reviews:
Mostly Positive (21 reviews) - 76% of the 21 user reviews for this game are positive.
Release Date: May 28, 2014

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About This Game

Growing pains is a fast and furious platformer which gives the genre a shake up with sleek graphics, a thumping soundtrack and an ingenious twist that you’ve never seen before. The "Vessel" which you control continually grows and expands leaving you in a permanent race to clear the area and escape before you get too big and find your butt wedged in a tight spot. Combine this with tight controls and levels crammed with devious traps and you've got a heart-pounding race guaranteed to leave you with sweaty palms and a sense of overwhelming satisfaction when you reach the goal.

Growing Pains features 9 massive levels each with 3 difficulty levels that radically change how each level plays out. This is the kind of game that makes you want to show everyone your skills so all the leaderboards include replays, allowing you to compare high scores against your friends and the rest of the world. This is a game you can really grow into!

System Requirements

    • OS: XP
    • Processor: Dual Core 2.0 GHz
    • Memory: 128 MB RAM
    • Graphics: 128MB video RAM and at least Shader Model 2.0
    • DirectX: Version 9.0
    • Storage: 55 MB available space
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Mostly Positive (21 reviews)
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Most Helpful Reviews  Overall
46 of 60 people (77%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.5 hrs on record
Posted: May 28, 2014
You know that moment when you put on your favorite pair of pants, only to find you’ve gotten too big to wear them anymore, leading you to sulk and binge on ice cream and bad television? Growing Pains is built on a similar idea, with an ample dose of claustrophobic entrapment thrown in for good measure.

You take control of a (originally) tiny, fuzz ball, tumbleweed, alien...thing, in a state of constant expansion. Evidently the labyrinth you’re within is only so big, creating a race to get through the passages before you become too large to fit. Toss in some spike traps, some collectibles, and a ticking clock for speedruns and you’ve got a fairly typical platformer with a neat idea to help it stand out.

But that’s all Growing Pains is; one new idea poorly fitted on a thinly designed framework that isn’t enough to keep it afloat in the midst of so many other similar games. With only 9 very short levels (you can blow through them all well under an hour), it feels like a proof of concept more than a finished product. Multiple difficulties add a small amount of replay value, but the added challenge rarely does anything but highlight how inadequate the controls are when any sort of precision is required. It’s as if the entire environment is made of ice, causing me to constantly slip out of control, usually into spikes or another source of instant death. It’s frustrating in the worst way, rarely feeling as failure is my own fault, and making it very hard not to throw down my controller in rage and quit.

I wouldn’t consider myself a stickly for graphics, but the art design in Growing Pains is so unbelievably terrible that it actively made my eyes hurt to play. There’s constantly a ton of stuff happening on screen, but it’s like the developers tried to throw on every photoshop filter they could to the backdrops and it came out looking like absolute rubbish. There’s no ascetic consistency, and when put together I find it actively offensive to look at.

The foremost mechanic of Growing Pains is one I find rather interesting and would love to see pan out in another game, but in its current state GP feels like something that came out of a game jam and not at all ready for the general public. It’s shallow and unpolished from every angle, with artwork that shouldn’t have ever made it out of the prototype stage, and controls in need of serious improvement. I like what the developers were going for, but they’re going to need to do a lot before Growing Pains becomes something people should pay anything to play.
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44 of 59 people (75%) found this review helpful
0.8 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: May 28, 2014

Where to begin on this title... Growing Pains is a platformer, that much is easily discernible through its screenshots to anyone yet to play it. But platformers can come in all shapes and sizes; some are casual, some are Indie (whatever that means), some will put a gun in hand and throw dozens of zombies at you, and some still will bend time and space to tell you a most wondrous tale of little men jumping left and right. But then there are some whose sole purpose is to aggravate, irritate, exasperate, peeve and pester you until your are near pulling the hair from your head. Some of these, still, can be fun. Take Super Meat Boy, for example, a game whose sole purpose is to tease you with the sweet candy of a new character or collectible, only to stick you in a multi-spike-walled room of death that you can't possibly hope to best until...oh, 100 tries later, when you finally, FINALLY, succeed!

Growing Pains can make SMB's Dark World feel like playing New Super Mario Bros.

Unfortunately for the sort of people who enjoy that kind of thing, Growing Pains isn't harder for the right reasons.

But let's start with the good: Growing Pains, even with it's very, very simple "flash game" aesthetic, manages to look like, well, a good flash game. Psychadelic lava lamp backgrounds move along with a hip techno soundtrack to keep the mood bright and cheerful. The rest of the moving bits consist of admittedly cheap looking wiggling rainbow gifs and semi 3D spike balls that look like they were lifted straight out of Bubzy 3D.

There's no story to worry about here, other than the clever premise behind the game. See your character, (we'll call him Cousin "It"), grows in size. It does this involuntarily, but this process can be sped up with the push of a button. Doing so allows It to move and jump around the level faster than he could before, although his larger size makes him no less susceptible to spiky ball death, and if the player isn't careful, It may be struck down by something that a smaller version could have easily avoided.

The levels that you must guide Cousin It through are broken up into individual gauntlets, each with their own rainbow gifs to collect before the exit to the next gauntlet will open. Each gauntlet is filled with spikeballs, moving and not, waiting to burst our hero into pixely bits. Getting smacked down by a ball to the face won't set you back far, however, just to the entrance of the gauntlet that you currently reside in. Your rainbow gifs won't reset either, so the threat of death only brings a lower total time, unless you die enough to burn through your finite supply of lives.

For the every level, of which there are only 9, you will have three medal options: Bronze, Silver, and Gold, each defining a level of difficulty. Bronze, for the most part can be achieved with little fuss, until the last few, anyway. Gold, on the other hand, requires a true measure of patience, regardless of level. There are rainbow gifs in every direction, and brand new spiky death traps in addition to whatever filled the level in the pubescent Bronze medal stages. You'll be lucky if you can even succeed one of these levels, let alone get a good end time.

Here, now, finally, is the bad bit. These types of games live and die by their controls. Super Meat Boy arguably has the nearest thing to perfect 2D platformer controls; any death I suffered in that game, felt like it was due only to my own negligence, and not to poor mechanics or unfair circumstance. Growing Pains does not benefit from a similar condition. Your character simply becomes far too slippery and uncontrollable, and suffers from stop/go movement syndrome. There is no buildup from when you are standing still to when you begin to move, and vice versa. There is only one speed, and that speed grows as quickly as your size, and often quickly moves you out of control. The greatest travesty that this game commits is that your movements simply don't feel natural. It felt impossible to develop a clear rhythm, and in a game about speed and precision platforming, that simply won't do, and the already difficult levels can feel near impossible to succeed in.

Now, to explain why, after all the negative and backhanded things I've said about this game, I've still given this game a passing grade. While I feel that the control doesn't live up to the very necessary standards set by it's predecessors, it's not necessarily broken in any way, just flawed. And, truth be told, I find the cheap graphics and the unique take on growth to be charming, in its own mediocre way. While I personally could not create a solid rhythm with the controls, I would be remiss to just assume that no one else could. Not to mention the simple fact that this game has some of the most devilishly difficult level design that I've yet encountered. And for that, Growing Pains gets a decidedly hesitant "thumbs up" from me.
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11 of 17 people (65%) found this review helpful
2.9 hrs on record
Posted: May 28, 2014
Above you'll find a comprehensive five minute video review of Growing Pains. Below, I will summarise my thoughts in a written form.

In Growing Pains, you as a player control a fluffy ball of fur that tries to navigate from start to finish as quick as possible, meanwhile avoiding the traps that are in your way. The graphics are pschedelic but not too distracting. The same goes for the audio, which is okay but not really memorable. Both graphics and sound are functional, however not amazing. Luckily, the gameplay is on the stronger side. The fine balance between staying small for increased precision and growing larger for increased speed is brilliant, once the initial hurdles of getting to know the controls are overcome. I have played the game both with keyboard and controller and find both similarly good (and managed to reach some #1 spots with either), thus you can play with what inut device you prefer! The design of the nine levels (each with three difficulty settings) is good, however the levels are rather large, which might frustrate beginners when trying to get a good time. The big selling point of Growing Pains is the integrated online leaderboard, which allows friendly competition between friends and frienemies. There are some minor problems here and there, but nothing that would stop me from playing. The high jump mechanic feels odd and needs some getting used too. The same goes for the camera which sometimes reacts weirdly due to the zooming out, while your character grows. Nontheless, if you like games like Ten Second Ninja or the later stages of Super Meat Boy, you'll have to give Growing Pains a shot.
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7 of 13 people (54%) found this review helpful
1.7 hrs on record
Pre-Release Review
Posted: May 28, 2014
Pretty darn fun!
You not only have to be precise at platforming,
but also strategic in when you decide to grow your character to get the fastest time.
Only 9 levels but very replayable with the 3 different difficulty levels per stage.

Some gameplay video if you want to see more:

YouTube Link
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4 of 8 people (50%) found this review helpful
2 people found this review funny
Not Recommended
0.1 hrs on record
Posted: July 28, 2014
Can't even ♥♥♥♥ing play it cuz the controls customization menu is completely ♥♥♥♥ed. You get ♥♥♥♥ed over if you try to change the controls. I tried to change the Jump button from "Space" to "W", but for some reason the letter that it was assigned to was "EnlW", which I have no idea where to locate that friggin button. When I try to change it again, It won't ♥♥♥♥ing let me. It's the same with the other keys, now I can't even play it cuz all of the keys are "EnlW".
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: August 17, 2014
The ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ lovechild of Meatboy and Katamari.
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1 of 3 people (33%) found this review helpful
Not Recommended
1.1 hrs on record
Posted: August 20, 2014
It's not a terrible game, its just not a good game.

The controls were nice, but the game almost felt too simple, and I simply wasn't having fun playing it.

There are far better alternatives if you want a 2d platformer, both on steam and on flash game sites.

I got it for free from a friend and I still would not reccomend it.
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0 of 1 people (0%) found this review helpful
0.2 hrs on record
Posted: May 29, 2015
Show me that goal again. (Oh, show me that goal)
Don't waste another minute, grab the glowsticks.
We're nowhere near the end (nowhere near)
The best is ready to begin.
Oooohhh. As long as we got each other
We got the world shrinking right around us.
Baby you and me, we gotta be
The luckiest dot who never stops growing.
As long as we keep expanding
We can take any level that comes our way
Baby, chain or spikes, full of frights
We got each other, sharing the challenge and fun.
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Not Recommended
1.3 hrs on record
Posted: August 3, 2015
You get exactly what you see with this game; a platformer with an above average idea done with subpar, flash game level execution. There is a total woping nine 3-5 minute long levels, all of which have 3 difficulties in which to scrape your teeth on.

The gameplay is flat and mildly annoying, and the soundtrack is forgettable. Assets include lasers and red spike balls. You play as a cube with a dot that I assume is supposed to be its eye. The gimmick is that it grows while you play. This leads to some well executed panning out as you go through the levels, and can screw up runs on higher difficulties since you grow a bit faster, but other than that it's really just a gimmick.

This isn't helped by the fact that these increasingly difficult levels all have a finite number of lives for you to play, demanding that the player master each challenge in a single level. This can lead to frustration, especially on the higher difficuties where "challenge" is presented through more spike balls to kill you. The janky camera also has a way of panning out at the weirdest times, and the level design doesn't follow any consistant pattern.

Once again, there are only 9 levels. in less than half an hour I blazed through them without much trouble, and even got through a few of the higher difficulties before I just stopped caring. It seems the real motivation here is the leaderboards since that takes front and center, but the game as a whole does little for want to keep you around.

A competant, yet depressingly mediocre game that does little to differentiate itself, Growing Pains suffers most from its lacking ambition and lacking controls. There are far worse games to pick up for 5 bucks, but unless you're really desperate for a platformer, this one you can pass on.

Smudged Cat has done some pretty phenomenal games, so it's kind of sad to find a game so lacking in that same passion. Hopefully whatever stupor they're in they'll bounce back from, but Growing Pains is an example of squandered and lazy development, and that just sucks.
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29.1 hrs on record
Posted: June 6, 2014

Full review based on my thoughts and 5 hours or so of play. I don't recommend it over other titles, but perhaps on a sale it would be worth it just for an hour or so of play before you get frustrated and rage-quit it.

If you ignore times and leaderboards, Growing Pains main feature, interesting level layouts, and flashy colors will simply be exciting and some cheap fun. But give that layout, it's just a huge stress inducer when I find that there is a lot of badly thought out corners and areas which are not conducive to a nice flowing path through levels.

The game is very hard when you crank up the difficulty, so if you're looking for a challenge, then I would certainly give this a look, but it can feel a bit unfair at times given that before enterting a level, items and obstacles are already in motion creating asyncronous movements. In other words, sometimes you will have a clear opportunity though an obstacle and sometimes you won't.

Overall it's just pretty cheap feeling, but can be fun in short burts.
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Recently Posted
5.4 hrs
Posted: July 24
The main concept is you start small, and need to finish the level before you grow too big and ge crushed. As a premise, this game executes that very well. It puts you up against a time limit and various obstacles which provide a good enough challenge if you're trying to beat the highest difficulty.

The 2D graphics are by nomeans anything to write home about, but I think they work well in this game, as they need to be easily visible from many sizes and anything too complex might be difficult to see.

The controls are pretty good although the way the 'ball' you're controlling works can take a bit of getting used to.

Overall, this is a ncie twist on the standard platformer fare, but would have been nicer with more levels.
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3.3 hrs
Posted: June 13, 2015
Growing Pains is one of those aggressively challenging platformers in the Super Meat Boy mold. Unlike SMB, there isn't a great deal of gameplay here, with just nine scant levels (albeit each containing three difficulty levels that adds traps). For the price I paid (greatly on sale), I feel I got my money's worth and it was a perfect distraction for me during a time when I didn't feel like doing much else. Your mileage may vary.
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