Greedy Grub is a freemium town building game from Pixowl Games with gorgeous artwork and gameplay that's just left of the norm. It immediately captivates you with its tale of a cute orange grub falling out of a tree, and every character you meet afterwards is just as quirky and lovable. Layer on top of that an honestly entertaining collection-centric gameplay mechanic and you've got the perfect recipe for an addictive mobile game.
You control our grubby pal by sliding your finger around the screen. Where you go the grub follows, collecting fruits and busting bits of shrubbery along the way. To interact with the animal townsfolk or to utilize buildings, simply tap on their front and hold until the grub reaches that position. Most of your time will be spent gathering acorns, tending to fruit trees, and eyeing the next building you aim to create, all with the end goal of helping out mayor Apollo and leveling-up the eye tree.
Plant fruit trees by buying seeds at the store, then make sure you water them whenever they're thirsty. The trees gradually grow up while you play, eventually reaching maturity and producing tasty fruits to harvest. Harvested apples, pears, lemons and so on are converted into acorns, the game's main form of currency, and from there you can spend them on new buildings to further your little orchard/village's progress.
Missions pop up on the side of the screen from time to time, giving you something more specific to accomplish as you manage your forest grove. These are usually pretty simple in nature, asking you to eat certain fruits, craft certain items or build specific buildings within the time allotted.
Analysis: The setting and missions in Greedy Grub feel a little like Wandering Willows, a fantastic downloadable game released by Playfirst that walked away with an award in our Best of 2009 voting. Greedy Grub could be the next best thing to a sequel. Quests and goals feel less like busy work and more like genuine entertainment. And when you get so many eyefuls of artwork by Laurel, including a comic, you can't help but get hooked.
Of course, no freemium game would be complete with out a "hurry-up" feature tied to in-app purchases. Trees growing, fruit dropping, and building constructing all take place in real time. If you're impatient you can spend a few gemstones to get things done instantly. The in-app purchase system allows you to buy packs of acorns and/or gems starting with a simple, inexpensive exchange and going all the way to... well, a lot more than pocket change. Fortunately you never feel forced to spend any cash, as the game's pacing is just fine without emptying your wallet.
Balanced and pleasant with just the right amount of challenge, Greedy Grub is a perfect example of how you can take the freemium town building concept and do something genuinely entertaining with it.
NOTE: This game was played and reviewed on the iPad 3. 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.