Jan 3, 2012


Grabatron is by the same folks that brought us the Hungry Shark series which I have really enjoyed. Hungry Shark put you in the fins of a rather hungry shark swimming back and forth and devouring whatever you could. Grabatron moves you from water to sky and puts you in control of a UFO with a claw arm that can grab and pick stuff off of the earth and either toss it to its demise or 'consume' it. There's a lot of similarity to these games despite the thematic difference.

Once you load Grabatron and get started the game provides you with helpful instruction screens. Control of your ship is done by tilting your Android device. When you're ready to drop your claw just touch the screen and if you've got something in its grip you can swipe to swing your claw and toss the object in hand back to the ground. As you play the game provides 'missions' in the form of 'abduct 10 cows' or something similar. The game controls very well and the graphics are quite sharp and are accompanied by a nice 'outer space UFO' audio theme. The game is also a lot of fun as I think most of us are intrigued with the possibility of life in outer space and here you get to play the role of such life in a hostile manner sucking up those poor, almost defenseless humans.

I say almost defenseless because yes, the military does enter the picture and shoot at you, but your craft is little match for these humans if you fly smart. One nice touch, though, is if you fly high up into the atmosphere the skies are teaming with jet fighters that will shoot you down in no time, but that's accompanied by a rather ominous warning to keep you within the boundaries of this sandbox style game. You will also encounter enemies such as helicopters closer to earth and have to drop a large object such as a boulder or car from above in order to take those out. And, once again, the graphics are beautiful although that does come at a price. The game did show a tiny bit of lag at time on my Epic 4G with it's single core CPU, but I had no problems on my dual core Tegra tablet.

Now on to the complaints department:

First, the game has a screen where you can buy extras such as the 'insane difficulty level' or '10 nukes'. Ok, so now we're going to cross the paid app concept with the freemium concept and charge me both upfront for part of the game and later for more? As you know I'm not a fan of such and I know we're talking about a game that cost a buck and add-ons that cost a buck. I also know the industry, to my dislike, is moving that way with consoles going heavy with the paid add-on content despite forking over $60 for a base game. Perhaps the movie industry can adopt this tactic and show you half of a movie and if you're still interested then you can pay more to see the other half?? I just don't see a pretty world where the goal is to make me an addict to something and then as soon as I'm hooked then to charge me more much like a pusher of drugs.

qrcodeSecond, when I played Hungry Shark I said the game had a therapeutic element. It felt good to play despite the fact that getting a high score wasn't really my objective. Because Grabatron is such a similar experience it got old a little soon. I can still see pulling it out for a game here and there, but there's not a lot of depth here. There's not much thrill beyond that first play in first abducting sheep and then abducting farmers. They both squeal in their own way. Sure, the background may change, but the theme which is a core part of this game stays the same.

All in all I like Grabatron a lot just like I liked Hungry Shark. And I love the theme. At the same time I really resent the attempt to sell me a difficulty level after purchasing the game. It's also a tough call to recommend as if you enjoy Hungry Shark you'll probably like this in the same way, but also already own that game. And if Hungry Shark did nothing for you then this probably won't either. Fortunately, there is a good demo version of the game in the Android Market called Grabatron Country which is basically the first level of the full game and that may be enough of the game for many players. 4/5 stars.

1 comment:

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