Grabatron iPhone game fails to take hold

Dec 19, 2011
Games

Grabatron is an interesting game. It’s essentially like playing a fleshed-out version of that claw-grabber game that most arcades put in the back of the room. Except this time the claw is attached to an alien space craft whose job it is to terrorize some nameless farm town by grabbing up its cows, pigs and […]

Grabatron is an interesting game. It’s essentially like playing a fleshed-out version of that claw-grabber game that most arcades put in the back of the room. Except this time the claw is attached to an alien space craft whose job it is to terrorize some nameless farm town by grabbing up its cows, pigs and police officers, while wrecking its nuclear plants. See, it sounds like a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, it isn’t. Not as much as I’d have hoped, anyway. Grabatron instead becomes an exercise in flying through the air looking for something interesting to do with the minimal directions the game gives you. There’s never a sense of urgency built into the experience.

On the plus side, everything looks great when you’re doing all that. The buildings are designed well, and they look even better when they’re being destroyed as you hurl tractors into them. The background, a sky in perpetual sunset, might be a bit odd, but really does look great.

The controls are simple, but effective. You move by tilting your iPhone, and grab by tapping the screen. It doesn’t take much time to get the rhythm of the game down, but then you’re left with a game without much to say.

I want to like Grabatron. I like a lot of what it does. It looks great, which is a nice start. It also controls fairly well. But ultimately, it’s just not extremely compelling stuff. It’s good … enough, which, oddly, isn’t quite good enough with the plethora of app games available. If you’re especially into aliens or just want to run amok a bit, you’ll get your dollar’s worth, but if you find the experience lacking, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

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Dan Kricke

Dan Kricke has been playing with electronics and writing about them for years. He loved his Sega Dreamcast and now the PlayStation 3. On the iPhone, he's a fan of sports apps and anything that offers new music.

 

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