Who says octogenarians lead tranquil, sedentary lives?
Apparently, those who haven’t met the hyper-powered, grey-haired and lavender jumpsuit-wearing star of hilarious arcade outing Super Granny 3 – that’s who.
While many of you whippersnappers may be too young to remember classic ’80s titles like BurgerTime and Lode Runner – the obvious inspiration for our cat-loving heroine’s adventures – this intriguing hybrid will captivate and enthrall players of all ages nonetheless.
Granted, the storyline’s a little confusing, especially if you’ve never played previous franchise outings. According to the title itself, the plot briefly touches on the prior game’s icebound antics before sending you tromping off to Europe in search of Twinkletoes, who’s run off with some dastardly dogs. Then you reach the main map, broken into 200 individual stages spread out across five themed worlds such as American Funtier, Mount Vertigo and Transylfangia, as they’re apparently located inside some random theme park – huh?
Though the supporting documentation doesn’t make things any clearer (OK, now we’re rescuing arch-nemesis Dr. Meow from his evil master, Mr. Fang?), take heart. The truth is, plot matters little – you’re here for the title’s catchy mix of mind-bending thrills and action-oriented puzzle solving. Well, that and an intuitive mouse-controlled, drag-and-drop level editor which comes built into the title, and ensures that, via the magic of online distribution, the excitement need never stop.
At its most base level, Super Granny 3 is a goofy single-screen, item-collecting arcade game played using your PC’s arrow keys and space bar – no jumping necessary, even. In general, you must simply rescue all kitties lounging around each platform- and ladder-encrusted stage (they follow you when touched) by leading them to an exit gate, at which point a warp flower appears, letting you access the next scenario. A branching mission structure lets you choose where that path leads between levels, with items purchased in the gift shop using tokens collected on your quest, i.e. keys and ride tickets, opening secret areas and additional stages for exploration.
Be forewarned, though: Naturally, there’s much more to the saga than that.
For example, enemies such as monkeys, boxing-glove wearing bulldogs and pink, razor-fanged poodles that will chase you around every environment, sometimes up and down ladders, even. Obstacles like bumpers, watery pits and giant crates that you’ll have to utilize and/or work around. (And carefully, since a single wrong move can result in your being unable to finish a scenario without restarting and sacrificing one of a limited supply of lives.)
Don’t forget power-ups such as shields and bones that can be purchased and activated before each stage as well. Plus, of course, collectible gadgets like frying pans that let you bash enemies away, watering cans which make climbable vines grow or rocket-powered sneakers, useful for a temporary speed boost.
While it’s possible to dig holes in the ground that open temporarily and swallow pursuing opponents, by and large your biggest challenge is just figuring out how to complete each level.
There’s no time limit pushing you along; just the constant pressure of wanting to collect bonus flowers/hearts (tradable towards extra lives), grab kitties and get a move on before you – pardon the pun – die of old age. Shockingly deep, Super Granny 3 won’t just have you hammering your head against the keyboard with frustration on later stages. It’ll also take eons to complete, given how much content’s been crammed in by the designers.
Repetitious and annoying as these seemingly endless antics can grow at times, it’s all offset by a stunning sense of humor. The title won’t win any awards for its visuals: All characters are displayed in miniature and at only moderate resolutions, despite their catchy animations and backdrops’ colorful punch. However, the selection of sound effects and music is spectacular, capped off by gut-busting speech samples starring the eponymous headliner herself.
Granny jests (“You win again, gravity!”); waxes philosophical (“The girls back home will never believe this!”); and cheerfully emotes (singing along to the tune of “Greatest Love of All” or “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”). Heck – she isn’t even above a little self-promotion, giving shout-outs to Tradewinds.
Meaning that, warts and all, we won’t player hate on her latest escapade. Frankly, it packs almost enough comedy and hair-pulling thrills in to keep most enthusiasts happily preoccupied (even those of us twenty- and thirty-somethings) until the nursing home comes calling.