Smurfs’ Grabber is a crane game that’s as dull as it is blue

You know those crane machines – the ones you find at arcades and amusement parks – that let you spend a dollar in the hopes of possibly winning a stuffed animal? Smurfs’ Grabber is a lot like that. Problem is, that doesn’t make for a very good video game. Throw in a payment scheme that makes you pay per turn and you have not only a game that isn’t all that fun, but one that could be quite expensive, as well.

The game is ridiculously simple. You control a giant mechanical arm and you’re presented with a field full of fruit, mushrooms, and nuts. At the top of the screen is a recipe for a magic smurfy potion, and the goal is to collect the ingredients to make as many potions as you can before time runs out. Problem is, after a few seconds the ingredients will disappear, only to be replaced with new ones in different spots.

Smurfs' Grabber

Each round lasts a minute and the majority of the recipes require three ingredients. To help you deal with the time limit and the disappearing ingredients, you’ll also be able to both collect and purchase power-ups that will do things like increase the experience you earn for a limited time. Sometimes you can collect these from a flying stork during the game, but you can also buy them from the store using the potions you make.

And that’s probably the biggest problem with the game: you’re essentially just playing the game to earn power-ups, which make it easier to play the game. There’s no real reward. This wouldn’t be so bad if the actual game was fun, but it’s dreadfully boring and doesn’t really add any interesting new mechanics as you play and increase your level. It stays the same, only with new ingredients and power-ups, none of which are all that interesting.

Smurfs' Grabber

And then there’s the payment structure. Just like an arcade game, you’ll need to pay each time you want a minute’s worth of gameplay. You’re given a small amount of coins to start out with each day, but after that you’ll need to purchase additional ones. So it’s probably a good thing that you can see virtually all the game has to offer after a few minutes, otherwise it could get quite expensive.

It looks like there will be some sort of interconnectivity between Smurfs’ Grabber and Smurfs’ Village, but it’s not in place yet. Even still, unless it offers substantial in-game bonuses, even fans of Smurfs’ Village will probably want to stay away. If Smurfs’ Grabber really were an arcade game, it would be the only machine without a line.