Once you reach a certain age and have a certain number of cats, you become the neighborhood cat lady. What happens, though, when that poor woman is shrunk to microscopic size (along with her cats) and set loose in the back yard by a nefarious evil scientist, who also happens to be a cat? You get Super Granny 5, the fifth in the delightful Super Granny series of platformers. Poor put upon Granny must once again round up her errant kitties while trying to find a way back to her house (and full size).
If you've ever played any of the Super Granny games you know the drill: once again the kitties are scattered across an area riddled with platforms and ladders, and it's up to the intrepid senior citizen to gather them up and see them safely through the magical cat door, all the while avoiding nasty ants, spiders, bees, angry water droplets, randomly murderous vegetables, and a whole host of other enemies. Fortunately, scattered around the area are things to help the poor cat lover fight, dig, or blow up her way around the area to rescue her lost pets. Poor woman, someone is always kidnapping her cats. Once you get her age, you're supposed to be able to take it easy once in a while.
Super Granny 5 is a classic, single screen platformer. The area is composed of fixed platforms, ladders, and monkey bars that she can walk or climb to reach her needy cats. Once granny walks past a cat it will follow her faithfully, although the cats themselves cannot use the monkey bars (or, later, the teleporters) unless they are in a carrier. Simply walk towards the magic cat door and the cats will follow and leave the area, presumably to go back home for a nice relaxing cat nap. When all the cats are rescued a lovely flower will appear, allowing our intrepid retiree to leave and continue on to the next scene. Contained in the space are objects that can be collected for extra points, as well as objects that can help Granny reach otherwise unreachable areas. Control Granny with the [arrow] keys and use the [spacebar] to dig, fight, or use the extra goodies that she can pick up along the way.
Gameplay begins simply, just Granny and her cats. Eventually, though, other elements will be added to hinder the poor woman, angry enemies that will make her fall down (and, presumably, she can't get up). Loose ground (sand or dirt) can be dug to either trap enemies or allow Granny to fall through to another platform. Solid rock cannot be dug, but eventually will be breachable with such power ups as jackhammers, blowtorches, and bombs. As the game goes on all sorts of other tricky means of transportation are introduced: umbrellas and fans so that Granny can fly, floating leaves that serve as moving platforms, and plants that can be grown into extra ladders (presuming you can find the watering can to make them grow), and more. And don't think that the little old lady is helpless, aside from trapping enemies she can fight back with weapons such as baseball bats and the hilarious Super Granny handbag of doom. Is there anything more lethal than a handbag in the hands of a ticked off senior citizen? Each scene has five "lives" to allow Granny to complete the task (rescuing the kitties). Fall more than five times and the scene resets from the very beginning.
Analysis: Super Granny 5 (and all the other installments) are a throwback to the old platformers of the 80s, with their ladders, platforms and bars, simply dolled up in bright, cheerful colors and graphics. Each level can be calm and logical (simply figuring out how to collect everything) or frantic and fast (trying to avoid a host of enemies, pitfalls, acid ponds, and even snail slime). For anyone who loves platformers, this is the game for you. As the game progresses it becomes trickier and trickier, involving a lot of logical thinking combined with good reflexes as Granny races to the rescue of her furry little babies.
The visuals are beautiful, with the little animated cats, enemies, and Granny herself against a backdrop of a backyard in giant form. Each area of the backyard has its own backgrounds and hazards, keeping the game interesting. Lively music enhances the play but the best part is Granny herself, with a plethora of amusing catchphrases sprinkled amongst the action. Cut-scenes between the backyard areas fill in the story of the evil Dr. Meow and why he's shrunk our hapless Granny.
For anyone who loves this type of retro platformer, Super Granny 5 is the game for you. With over 100 levels, the ability to go back and do each level again until you've done it perfectly (and earned one of several trophies), and even a level editor to create your own insane levels, there are hours and hours and hours of fun to be had. Granted, the game appears to be aimed at the younger set, but there's a lot of casual gameplay here that can be enjoyed by anyone.
For those looking for jittery shoot-em-ups, this is perhaps not the game for you. But if you're looking for fun involving both hand-eye coordination and logic, done up in a cutesy bow, then check out Super Granny 5. Remember, don't mess with the kitties, old ladies can be tough!