Grab the Bottle. That’s exactly what you’ll be doing here, grabbing a bottle, again and again, over and over. The game offers very little in the way of a story, but for a puzzle experience, that can pretty much be a given. The game starts you out via a brief tutorial that does well at feeding you into the basics of play. Beginning the game as a baby, you’re tasked with using your abnormally large arm to reach the bottle within. Using your ever-stretching arm, you’ll need to maneuver it around each level until you achieve your overarching goals.
The catch, however, is that each stage is littered with hazards and you’re only able to take three portions of damage in total. Grab the Bottle is relatively easy to begin with, but as you move through the journey, becoming older as a result, the game’s difficulty gradually climbs with you. Stages will become less open and more hazard-filled, forcing you to navigate the elastic-esque arms through some pretty tight and dangerous locations. You may also need to nab collectibles before getting to the actual bottle, which can prove to be a headache.
Furthermore, the environment often needs to be engaged with. Players will pull, drop, break and generally manipulate objects that stand in the way of their goal. It’s a wacky setup, but I cant wholeheartedly say that I had a great deal of fun here. There’s also a complete lack of consistency that you’ll need to endure throughout. For example, certain stages will afford you multiple routes to reach the end, whereas others will force you through a very specific pathway that’s typically far too unforgiving, ultimately leading to moments of frustration.
It’s to no fault of the control layout, on the contrary I have to commend the controls for being tight and responsive. The left stick is used for controlling the arm, with Y tethered to the speed of movement and A being using to interact with objects. It’s a very simply layout to keep on top of, lending the game a degree of accessibility as a result. It’s a shame, then, that this accessibility is almost negated by the game’s poor design choices. Seriously, if I had a penny for every time this game made me swear, I’d be buying into Apple right about now.
It’s not that Grab the Bottle is a bad idea, quite the opposite, this could have been a competent puzzle game if it had more going for it, but as it stands, it’s just a repetitive mess that will constantly test your patience. Though, I must admit that I appreciated the game’s fluid mechanic and its ability to encourage some forward thinking, but this isn’t built upon enough to see the game through to its end. Many of the levels can be overcome with some common sense, leaving the rest of the challenge merely down to precision and accuracy.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to begin with as you extend your everlasting arm to bob and weave around each level, but when you soon realize that this is all that you’re doing, it gets old, fast. The blanket layer of additional tasks and its light ‘what do we do?’ puzzle elements, does very little to bolster the experience. There’s the option to put on an indestructible boxing glove to make your way through, or even trigger the ability to have the game place down markers that tell you where to go, but this just feels too cheap to utilize.
Visually, Grab the Bottle sports a comic book-like design that sits well with theme of the game, right down to the faded print dots in the background. There’s a decent portion of environments that the game will take you to, but again, nothing really stands out as memorable. The same can be said about the soundtrack and audio, being that it does very little to excite. The game’s price tag is very generous, but even at just £3.99/$4.99, you’re still paying real money to be pissed off, bored and frustrated, throughout most of the game.
Grab the Bottle takes a simple idea and fails miserably to build on it. I wont deny that the game is fun to begin with, but once you realize that you’re doing the exact same thing from start to end, it soon wears thin. The initial fun is swiftly chased away by the game’s reliance on its singular mechanic, ultimately making for an overall experience that consists of little more than frustration and perseverance.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.