Mobile Game of the Week: Grabatron (iOS/Android)

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Mobile Game of the Week: Grabatron (iOS/Android)


Platform: iOS; Android
Developer: Future Games of London
Release Date: 12/9/2011
Price: $.99

If you’ve ever played one of Future Games of London’s entries in the popular Hungry Shark series, Grabatron will be a familiar and welcome addition to your iOS or Android device. The game puts you in the opposite role of a 1980s sci-fi film — you’re an alien UFO terrorizing the countryside. Armed with a giant crane-like grabber claw, the player flies across the large side-scrolling environment on the eternal quest of gaining that evasive high score.

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What’s fun about Grabatron, however, is that missions are optional and freedom is the name of the game. While it’s a traditional high-score arcade game at its core, its delivered in a contemporary open-world package that gives the player a lot of freedom in how they play. Want to complete every side quest? They’re plenty of civilians to abduct and power-ups to find. Want to go for the high score? Dozens of destruction combos and enemies will add to your score. Want to just fling helpless Earthlings in the air as high as you can? Go for it. While garnering high scores is certainly the main objective of Grabatron, the game offers very little in time or movement restraints to guide your play style. Instead, you can take your time and explore the environment one area at a time.

But that would be all for nothing if the Grabatron didn’t handle as smoothly as it does. All movement is done with the tilting and accelerometer functions, and few games of this type feel this refined. While it would have been nice to seen an on-screen control alternative, I’m glad that Future Games put as much work into the game’s tilting controls as they clearly did: the tight controls make floating around and finishing the missions in Grabatron a joy. Grabatron is a fantastic arcade-style game that feels light enough pick up for a short bus ride, but deep enough to keep you coming back.