Version Reviewed: 1.0.3
App Reviewed on: iPhone
Graphics / Sound Rating:
Replay Value Rating:
My own experience with Grub has been somewhat different, but like every other game that isn't Super Metroid, it isn't perfect. I found the tilt controls to be fine for the most part, although there were several instances where I would get hung-up on obstacles. A far bigger issue for me was the lack of warning for spawning enemies and power-ups wearing off, which lead to many unfortunate setbacks. Setbacks that were made worse by the rather lengthy wait timers for the grub's energy. Being able to pay coins to speed up the wait is okay, but it only refills one heart at a time and will completely empty your reserves in short order.
With all of that said, I still had a decent amount of fun playing Grub. Your mileage may vary, of course, but seeing as it's free I definitely don't see any harm in trying it out for yourself. - Rob
There are certain games that defined themselves as the quintessential classic to the respective format they were released on, and are usually among the first of examples that people will cite whenever bringing up the topic. If you ever mention classic arcade games, one of the first games that come to mind is Pac-Man. Whenever you think of classic mobile games, more often than not the recollection of Snake isn’t too far behind.
So when a developer comes along and introduces a juxtaposition of the two concepts, one can’t help but be excited over what would could presumably be one of the sweetest marriages in arcade action yet. Grub shoots for that moon but significantly falling short of it, drifting off in an orbit made of lost potential.
Grub puts you in the perspective of an appropriately grubby worm, and as nature intended it you're to chomp up all of the fruit placed in front of you in a circular outdoor arena while expanding with each bite. Thrown in to complicate your life are these vicious yet adorably fuzzy monsters who prey upon the wormy dude’s newly-developed extremities, with score hinging on how long you can keep him by the end of the countdown on the timer. Player’s aren’t completely vulnerable though, as they’re able to acquire a power-up that will sprout cactus-like thorns all over the worm’s body - turning him into a mobile killing machine, much like Pac-Man’s formula of the prey becoming the predator.
So Grub already has a genuinely intriguing concept that’s easy to pick up on, and potentially primed to for anyone to dump hours into mastering it, and yet it all goes downhill because of one glaring flaw: the execution of its control scheme. The gyroscope-powered accelerometer and Grub’s application of the system is one of the poorest done yet.
Prior to each level, the game will need to recalibrate the worm within the center of the screen, and despite the fact that this recalibration needs to happen every time, the maneuverability and physics never perform consistently to the previous calibration - just as they won’t in the subsequent one in the next level. This flaw creates a rift that get gradually wider as you progress through levels that add traps and maze structures to their architecture.
The relationship that the control has with the physics only proved to be more problematic for the worm’s growth. As you gulp every apple you can steer your legless friend to he gets bigger in size, and with that added girth directing away from any sort of danger becomes more of a challenge - simple enough right? The issue lies in kinetics of the worm’s flailing back end that you have no control over, because gyroscopic movement is handled through his front end. The outcome of this renders the worm’s lower-half completely uncontrollable and essentially at the mercy of the physics, still acting as a functioning hit-box for players to receive damage from and no way to really avoid it.
The energy system doesn’t exactly help elicit any more incentive to keep playing. The system gates progression behind a paywall every couple of levels, unless players are willing to dish out $1.99 to move past a ten minute countdown to play again.
It’s disheartening to recommend against Grub - a game that’s completely free of charge - but we live in a day and age where storage space on an iPhone is a precious commodity within itself, and mobile players would just be better off not to bother with the hassle.