iPad Game Review: Corpse Granny HD for iPad (iPhone version also available)
Reviewed by Tom Slayton
Corpse Granny HD is a physics puzzler where you use a variety of weaponry, fireballs, devices, etc. to destroy wave, after wave of zombies in static puzzle screens.
The first thing you have to do before you can enjoy this game is get past the name. Yep. Corpse Granny. That's the best they could come up with. Thankfully, the game mechanic is fun in an Angry Birds meets Cut The Rope kind of way, although there are a few wrinkles in this comparison, which I'll get to later. Your task is to destroy zombies using a variety of different fireballs (which you will release by slicing supporting ropes and chains), cannonballs, boxes, and anything else you can lay your fingers on.
The 45 levels are well-designed, and should keep you busy for quite a while. If you complete them, however, the game thoughtfully includes a level editor so you can make your own fiendishly difficult zombie killing machines. There is one big problem with the gameplay, however, and that is the presence of a timer. If this were only tied to your score, that would be one thing. Unfortunately, in order to defeat each screen, you must do so in the time allotted. This results in a frantic assessment of each puzzle as you calculate trajectories, object effects, and damage, yet try to act soon enough so that you have time to actually complete the level. More than once, I was forced to stare at the humiliating level failure window while watching the last zombie being neatly destroyed in the background. No, I did not get credit for defeating the level.
Other than missing a "Leisurely" mode, the game gives you a nagging feeling that this timer is purposely tweaked to the short end in order to motivate you to indulge in purchasing "The Bomb" via IAP. I have no idea if this is a single use item or not, as there is no description available on the in-game store and, being no fan of consumable IAPs, I was unwilling to experiment. Additionally, at the time of this writing, OpenFeint was not working.
Corpse Granny seems to draw its inspiration from a few iOS games that have come before (see first paragraph), and even improves on some of these mechanics with the clever use of additional objects. Unfortunately, the fun melts rapidly away as you find yourself trying to memorize each level in order to beat the clock.
The graphics are colorful 2D sprites, with some 3D accelerated effects thrown in for polish. I found the 3D animation (fireballs) to be silky smooth. However, the sprites were more than a bit jerky, as if the developers used too few frames of animation when they coded them. This is a shame, because the zombies themselves display a great deal of personality while they stand around waiting to be obliterated. Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad looking game; it's just no attention-getter.
The music is an enjoyable lighthearted score composed in minor keys to give you that playful yet dark Tim Burton/Munsters feel. The sound effects are also well-done, although they were a bit distracting as I tried to solve levels. For once, I found myself turning the music up and the sound effects down.
Corpse Granny is a solid physics puzzler marred by a game timer that can't be disabled. If you like your puzzles frantic and loaded with artificially-induced stress, this game is for you. If you prefer something a bit more methodical, look elsewhere.
Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):
Graphics: - 3 - Colorful but marginally animated sprites with lots of personality.
Sound: - 4 - Great music, good sound effects, although the effects are a bit jarring.
Controls: - 5 - An accurate touch interface, coupled with lots and lots of things to interact with.
Gameplay: - 2 - Love the game, hate the timer.
Playing Hints and Tips:
Ignore the timer on your first foray into a new level. study, experiment, and tinker. Do this several times if necessary. Later levels will require this to be successful.
Release Date: November 9, 2011
Buy App: Corpse Granny
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