Video game heroes can be anyone or anything. We’ve all played games where the protagonists are muscled gunners, vengeful birds, or even zombie-killing plants. Gangster Granny is a game with a rare type of hero: the geriatric criminal. This game puts you in control of an automatic weapon-wielding grandma who is trying to get revenge on the corrupt corporate banking system.
As the game explains at the opening, Granny has lost her retirement fund and has been robbing banks to get it back. However, the coppers get wise and finally capture her, sending her up the river to jail. Granny isn’t too keen on staying behind bars, and the game begins with her orchestrating her escape.
Gangster Granny is a 3D dual-stick shooter that plays as you would expect. The left thumb stick operates your movement through the environment, and the right turns your aim. Tapping on the screen fires your weapon, and there is a reload button in the top left.
There is also a helpful auto-aim you can use against your foes. By simply tapping on your enemy, instead of aiming at them, you will fire your weapon precisely at them. That is, unless you’re standing too close to an enemy. In that case, Granny often fires in the direction of nothing.
Each level is a sprawling environment with several objectives to complete. Most often, you will have to find a lever or switch to press. You will see a yellow circle guiding you in the general direction of your objective, but this is a very imprecise marker that can sometimes lead you astray.
While you’re finding your objective, prison guards and other baddies will filter in and fire at Gangster Granny. There’s never any warning, and there appears to be no pattern to their attacks. While this can give the game a sense of danger, it often becomes a nuisance to fight off a seemingly endless group of armed guards when you’re struggling to find the next lever to press.
Gangster Granny’s graphics do look great, and there is plenty of content here. Granny has a whole store full of guns to unlock, making her one of the most dangerous grandparents you will ever see in a video game. This is a game marked with problematic level design and aiming mechanics, but that doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining shooter that plays well on small screens.