The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
The iPhone has no lack of crappy, derivative games. Making button mashers or autorunning games is easy because those are nice, established formulas. Coloring inside the lines is commonplace because it works. Wading through the crap is definitely the sucky part of doing these App Attacks.
Then I found Grimm.
Fron the moment the app starts, everything is different. The world is drawn in lines and shades of black with select objects highlighted with bright colors. The Victorian setting and Winterbotton-esque style are undeniably cool. The game is set in a surreal reflection of England and does a great job of being creepy as hell. Puzzle solving and combat are also based on firing the baby from the carriage, which is... odd.
As you can gather, the atmosphere of Grimm is fantastic. There's not much plot to grace the world (more on that below), but the minimalist story narrates in rhyming couplets the story of a mother who leaves her baby behind at a train station. From there you control the carriage as it journeys to find Mother and escape the ominous Mr. Grimm.
The journey is a bizarre one. I awakened gods, escaped dream worlds, killed "false mother," fought a pack of homicidal balloons, and trekked over countless mountains of skulls. Imagery like this simultaneously repulses and entrances you. Before accidently wiping out my iPod's data, I had over 70 screenshots of the surreal world of Grimm.
Unfortunately that world is also the biggest offender. Level design tends to be on the side of boring and derivative. Understand that when you're asked to launch the baby to pull down a platform, you'll do it ad nauseum for the rest of the game. Grimm unfortunately abuses its mechanics to no end. All the enemies are the same, just with different sprites. The worst part is that all the puzzles are superficial at best. You're never asked to apply what you've learned, only regurgitate it. I got frustrated a lot.
Still, it's not all doom and gloom. The simple touch and tilt controls are perfect, especially the invaluable brake button. The camera also does a particularly good job of framing your lonely carriage and the obstacles ahead.
After beating the game, I was somewhat conflicted over whether the creepy atmosphere outweighed the stale level design. But after considering the whole package, I'd say Grimm was worth it. The app can get frustrating, but this is one adventure that is simply too unique to be missed.
The first major update for Grimm has been released, and it definitely
solves a lot of the original problems. The baby can now be fired from
the carriage while in motion, and counts as an instant kill. The motion
itself and the carriage's animations have all been sped up as well.
The new changes do a good job of making Grimm feel a lot smoother and
more fun to play. I felt like a lot of the outer frustrations were
eliminated and the excellent controls made even better.
However, this update still does not solve the core problem that Grimm
faces: the puzzles are still to shallow. The level design and the
puzzles haven't changed one bit, and that rankles quite a bit.
With the magic of the Internet and borderline stalking, I was able to hunt down (and taser) the man behind the madness that is Grimm, David Pietrandrea. He foolishly agreed to answer my inane questions and thus became the first developer to answer for his crimes to App Attack.
What exactly were your duties in Grimm?