Granny Smith Review: Fun Two-Button Gameplay with a Cinematic Flair
Let’s get the most obvious pun out of the way first: For a game coming from a developer called Mediocre, Granny Smith is anything but… We’re always looking for more examples of why keeping it stupidly simple is the way to create an App Store hit, and this is one of those. So before you start knocking Granny Smith and it’s silly Grandma-theme, play a few levels in Granny’s skates and see just how much fun it can be to beat the thief and keep watch over her garden.
You may have inferred so much from the previous paragraph, but as story goes, Granny Smith centers on a grandmother who is forced to strap on some skates when a chubby little punk bandit tries to steal her apples. But with nary a line of dialogue or storytelling text, it’s safe to say that Mediocre wasn’t concerned with putting the plot first in Granny Smith. Instead, it’s all about the action and dazzling visuals—which are both available around every twist.
The gameplay of Granny Smith is best described as a side-scrolling platformer that moves at a frenetic pace. Moving from left to right and at a slight decline, Granny constantly gains speed on her skates as she seeks to beat the thief and get to all the apples first (three per level). To keep her free of obstructions, you’ll need to employ jumping and cane-swinging tactics. The jump is performed with the button on the right, and the longer you hold it, the higher she goes and the more she rotates forward while in the air. The rotation makes timing the release of the jump button of the utmost importance, as your landings will determine how much speed you retain going forward… The cane button is used when there’s something overhead that’s ripe for gliding or swinging. Just tap and hold and Granny will latch on to the wire or what have you, safely traversing any dropoffs or reaching tricky platforms.
With those basic—and all-encompassing—controls in mind, Mediocre keeps things stimulating with their innovative level designs. Granny Smith is truly half gameplay and half cinematic chase scenes, as evidenced by the vintage replays that begin at the close of each stage… Whether you’re plowing through countryside fences or crashing through the windows of high-rise buildings, you can always trust that you’re only a few feet from the next ridiculous stunt. And if things were to ever get stale, you can always take to the toolshed with your collected coins, and there you’ll find buyable items like baseballs for throwing, helmets for wearing, or banana peels for dropping. There are also a few playable characters that get unlocked along the way.
For the most part, Mediocre nails the balancing act of gameplay/chase movie. There are only a few instances where they may have dreamed too big, resulting in Granny getting hung up on a particular loop or glitching when she hits the corner of a building at just the right angle. But these instances are rare, and for the most part both the action and the visuals are surprisingly fluid.
If you’ve been looking for the next casual game that might keep your attention for many updates to come, then consider Granny Smith a very worthy contender. At just 99 cents, the show you’ll get to watch unfold on the screen is worth it, even if you fail miserably at collecting all the apples and defeating the thief… Granny Smith is yet another great example of how developers can’t go wrong by stripping away needless buttons and refining casual games to their very essentials. Mediocre scored big with this quirky side scroller, and now we can’t wait to see what they’ll bring to the App Store next.
Our Score: 4 Out of 5