When most grannies grow to the ripe old age where their momentum slows dramatically, their days tend to be filled with more relaxing pursuits like reading, playing cards, socializing, and napping. Not Super Granny. She gets to battle the forces of evil with blowtorches, jackhammers, and lethal handbags in order to round up her perpetually missing feline companions. Though it’s much like past games in the series, Super Granny 5 continues Sandlot Games’ fine tradition of lighthearted elderly empowerment and frantic platforming puzzle action.
A sunny day rocking chair snooze in the delightfully breezy outdoors leads Super Granny into her latest adventure. Enjoying some quality snuggle time with a horde of loveable kittens, Granny’s rest is suddenly interrupted by the evil Dr. Meow – an errant cat whose taken up in her basement to create a wicked scientific lair. Fed up with being forced to live underground, Dr. Meow launches his plot for household domination by blasting Super Granny with an energy beam that shrinks her and her napping kitty friends down to ant-like proportions. Granny has to navigate the wilds of her newly ginormous backyard in order to recover her missing kitties and find a way to get back to normal size.
Super Granny 5‘s familiar gameplay takes many cues from the twitchy classic 2D platformers of the 80s. All of the excitement unfolds on a single screen that’s loaded up with multi-tiered platforms to navigate, tons of stuff to collect, and ample tricks and traps to avoid. You’ll use the directional keys to move Granny around and make her climb ladders as she works her way around the levels collecting her missing kitties and depositing all of them safely at the goal located in each stage. Getting to all of the wayward cats isn’t easy. In addition to drilling tunnels through hard rock, you’ll have to locate special switches to open new pathways, push around puzzle blocks to fill gaps, and contend with other puzzle challenges.
Early levels simply focus on the basic collecting and exploration, but the stages quickly grow more challenging as roaming monsters are introduced into the fray and the game’s puzzle elements are layered atop one another. The exit leading to the next stage won’t open up until all of the kitties scattered around have been collected and dropped at the goal. Any cats Granny touches will follow her around the stage unless she crosses monkey bars, teleporters, or other certain obstacles they’re unable to pass by. Simply collecting the cats is the first obstacle to overcome, since you have to make sure they reach the goal marker safely. This is pretty straightforward in the early levels, but it gets much tougher as the stage designs become trickier.
Some monsters like centipedes, slugs, and bees move back and forth along a predictable set path. Others actively chase you down no matter where you run. In addition to being able to dig pits for foes to fall into, Granny can pick up hand bags, blowtorches, baseball bats, and other items to defend herself with for short bursts of time, though other traps like pits and poisonous goop also prove perilous. While Granny does have more than one life, any time she perishes all of the cats you’ve collected but failed to bring to the goal will reset to their original positions in a level. Having to go back to re-collect them after you’ve just worked hard to complete a large portion of a stage can be really aggravating.
The difficulty is steep at moments, but getting Granny to her goal in harder stages can be eventually accomplished with a little perseverance and some saint-like patience. The gameplay itself is quite enjoyable in short bursts, though you’ll find playing for extended sessions starts to feel like playing the same level over and over again. New items and unique obstacles introduced every few stages help keep things interesting. But even with the frequent addition of new puzzle elements and monsters, the game quickly grows repetitive.
Fortunately, you can create and share your own unique stages with the built-in level editor. It has a simple interface that lets you select the element you want to create on the stage and use the mouse to “paint” it anywhere you like on the invisible grid. It’s an easy to use system that’s fun to play around with. In-game achievements that can be shared online via Fcebook and Twitter connectivity are also another nice extra features.
If you’ve been eagerly looking forward to another hefty round of Super Granny fun, then the fifth installment’s 130+ levels and extra goodies won’t disappoint you. It doesn’t really push the series forward much, but it does deliver the same arcade style, brain bending experience fans have come to expect.