App Reviewed on: iPhone 3GS
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Grinder is the newest release from Ten Ten Games. This never ending split screen, dual stick challenge is a must for novice and expert gamers alike. The gray scale artistry is unpretentious and unassuming while still being funky. The original soundtrack enhances the playability rather then detracting.
The screen is split in half with inverse backgrounds on each side. Each side has a joystick like control button to guide your character through the stage. On the left side your character jumps up onto platforms to avoid being ground up by the gears below. The character on the right falls down onto platforms in order to avoid getting ground up by the gears above. You cannot just work one side either. The jumping slows the gears on the right side, and the falling slows the gears on the left side, so you have to keep moving! Make sure to snag the floating clocks to slow down the gears on both sides. Oh, and watch out for falling gears that can kill you. Sound tricky? It is.
The learning curve is steep. Not because the controls or the game is too complex, but getting your brain and hands to do two different actions at once is arduous. Perhaps not so much for the more ambidextrous of gamers, but for this player it was a solid 20 min of game play before I was able to confidently jump and fall with purpose and start racking up points. It may also be prudent to get your Grinder learn on in a corner with no distractions, because apparently one cannot talk and play grinder at the same time, lest your brain end up short circuiting. I promptly lost all language abilities during a marathon session of Grinder.
My only complaints are that the dual stick controls feel a millimeter or two high, sometimes blocking the screen during play. This may be a small amount, but on the iPhone and iPod touch this can interfere enough to become frustrating and then detract from the experience. It would also be great if the soundtrack included more songs. The Grinder soundtrack complemented the game play quite well and once you get on a roll it would be fun to discover new music.
You can post your scores on OpenFeint. Which is always fun for those of us who enjoy competition. Even if you do not have an OpenFeint account you can still enjoy beating your previous scores in this never ending mental gymnastics meet of a game.
Grinder is a unique and challenging game that could keep even the most experienced gamer entertained ad infinitum.