Granny Smith feels like the climactic chase scene of a Wallace & Gromit cartoon. Watching goofy-looking elders (or a dog with a bone) chasing a chubby kid on roller skates is perpetually amusing, especially when you’re crashing through plate glass or winding around a loop. But Granny Smith is also a surprisingly lean game, without special features or options that could add depth to each wacky race.
The premise of the game is that Granny Smith has to outrace an apple thief in order to protect her prized fruits. But as you race through each level, you’ll find that the apples are completely unnecessary– as long as you cross the finish line, you’ll unlock a new level, and collecting all three apples doesn’t give you any particular reward. So why should we care at all about Granny’s apples?
The penguins seem unimpressed.
What we’re left with is a fun (if meaningless) series of races. Fortunately, Granny Smith’s basic mechanics are good enough to support a much deeper game. Acceleration is handled automatically, and you’re able to control your character’s jumps and backflips, plus grab onto ziplines via a cane, bone, or umbrella. The simple controls mean that just about anyone can learn to play Granny Smith without feeling overwhelmed, but there’s also not much variety in your acrobatics.
Later in the game, you’ll have to perform a few wall-jumps, or swing on a hook at just the right angle. But for most races, you’ll be able to coast easily to the end without many retries. Additional gameplay mechanics or obstacles could easily extend the life of this stylish racing game.
For example, we’d really like to see more reasons to collect coins in the game. Currently, you can only buy three power-ups (a helmet, banana peel, or baseball), which aren’t necessary to complete the game. You can also pay to skip levels or unlock characters, but these are unlocked automatically as you progress. Maybe some extravagant, unlockable bonus levels (like in Fairway Solitaire) would give you a reason to go back and attempt a perfect run on each level. At least you can view each race’s replay in a cute and charming sepia-toned “vintage” view.
Hope Granny’s got her life insurance paid up.
Despite our disappointment with the lack of depth in Granny Smith, especially compared to the developer’s previous game, Sprinkle, we still had a bit of fun racing on skates. There’s a ripe opportunity for Mediocre Games to expand on this concept through updates, and new space-themed levels are forthcoming. Like a small but tasty piece of produce, Granny Smith just left us wanting more.