Granny Smith is lounging about with apples in her eyes when suddenly a whippersnapper of a thief skates by and robs her trees bare. Naturally, granny immediately heads out to get her fruit back! This would be a rather boring game idea until you consider the following: the apples are strewn from country to city and beyond, and both granny and the kid are on rollerskates! Granny Smith, from Sprinkle creator Mediocre, is kind of a stunt game, kind of a physics game, and most definitely a racing game. But where it really scores big is in simple playability and that magic formula that makes you want to keep playing no matter how many times you die.
You have two basic moves in Granny Smith: jumping, and latching on to wires with your cane. When you press the jump icon, granny leaps and rotates clockwise in the air. You have to time your presses right so she lands on her feet. Score the perfect landing and you're golden, but flub the dismount and you'll not only fall behind, but you'll lose precious coins as well. Coins are useful for buying power-ups like banana peels and baseballs, or for skipping levels that are giving you trouble. You can even spend coins to unlock a few new characters, though you naturally gain access to them once you complete certain stages.
Analysis: Granny Smith plays like a wonderful intermixing of stunt and racing genres, and it doesn't rely too heavily on either to provide its thrills. You're limited to rotating clockwise, meaning you have to plan ahead if you want to land correctly or be in position to grab power lines and the like. One mistake and you'll wipe out, which doesn't put you too far behind, but it's enough to make you think before you over-rotate. Once you get into loops and reverse leaps, you'll begin to see just how far this simple spinning mechanic can get you!
Perhaps the most satisfying part of Granny Smith is its breakable environments. Many walls, floors, and ceilings will crumble when granny or the thief comes a-knockin', an event that slows you down a little but is often the only way to proceed. You can use these strategically to slow down the thief while you skate by unhindered, but it's so much fun to crash through a brick wall that you'll usually reserve that right for yourself. Granny got some skills.
Granny Smith's level design is a definite strength, and after the first dozen or so stages you'll start to see how creative developer Mediocre got with the layouts. Reverse loops? Check. Trapeze bars tucked into lines, on ledges, and at the end of buildings? Definite check. Falling on your face and starting over again quickly becomes a part of the experience, but there's just something about Granny Smith that makes you want to keep trying until you get it right. And besides, the worst that'll happen is you'll spend a few coins to skip the level. Everyone's a winner!
Another great looking release from the Sprinkle crew, one that provides hours of entertainment without a steep learning curve. Be sure to check out your vintage-style replays after completing a level. Great for admiring your talent (or luck) on skates!
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on an iPad. Game was available in the North American market at the time of publication, but may not be available in other territories. Please see individual app market pages for purchasing info.