Disclaimer: Please note, this review is based on a pre-release version of Granny Invader AR. The game is aimed to be released on May 1st, 2019 for iOS (iPhone/iPad) on the App Store. This means is that some of the features might be removed, changed or added to the game when it is officially released.
I am also in contact with the developer, sharing my experience with it so some of the things in the app might improve later on if the developer founds them useful and applicable for the game.
Granny Invader is a first-person shooter game where players will need to fight crazy grannies who invaded the world. The grannies are hidden in different locations in fractal structure and it’s up to the player to locate them and destroy them in order to continue on to the next level. Some grannies will try to shoot at you, so make sure you move and try to evade their projectiles!
First of all, I like the theme of the game about crazy grannies. I’ve read that the idea of the game was inspired by a true even, by an actual person (more on this on the official website).
That being said, after a relatively short time playing it in Himeji Castle, I did encounter some issues which I also shared with the developer.
- Had elevation system to allow playing the game without needing to play it on a table. Playing on a surface with a tiny level and the need to crouch isn’t a good experience. You can also add the option to resize the level, make it larger.
- No shooting effect, shooting doesn’t feel like shooting.
- Sounds effects are quite harsh especially the shooting.
- Add more personality to the characters, make granny have cool voices during gameplay, this can be nice!
- The full white screen bloom effect was annoying for me and created a disconnection with the AR experience, I like things blending in, rather than seizing the real world view space.
- The boss fight is cool, but it again creates a disconnection from the AR experience as the real world cannot be seen. I prefer an AR view with some cool visual effects
- Some puzzle element will enhance the gameplay experience because right now repetitive none-thrilling kind of shooter experience
- Targets are small due to the small level that can cause eye strain and use it on my iPad.
- Shooting interval has a slight delay. No problem, but add some sort of reloading animation so players know about the delay and maybe added sound effects.
- I would add some grannies moving around the level so they are hiring and hard to catch.
- Add a nice congratulations positive feedback visuals and sound uppon a successful level completion and maybe also during the game when you are able to shoot a granny. Smash Tanks is a game that does that beautifully. I think that the developer can borrow the idea and adapt the voice narration to fit your own gameplay style.
- Add the option to rotate the level. Seems like a good option to have in this game. This way, we solve two accessibility and usability concerns of playing the game in tight environments where rotating around the level isn’t possible and also allowing players with physical mobility issues to enjoy playing the game or even for those who just prefer not playing the game while moving.
It’s worth mentioning that after visiting the official website, reading the press release, seeing the trailer video, I cannot ignore the passion that the developers put into making this game. This is something that I enjoy seeing, getting a glimpse behind the scene and reading more about the story that made this app a reality, even if it is a small AR app, I enjoy reading about it. I also enjoyed knowing the people that are behind every single app that I try, although of course, this isn’t always possible for many reasons.
I definitely going to keep an eye on future updates and going to try out the game again once it’s fully released. However, when I do get a chance to try an AR app, I share my experience, so also the developer can get valuable information and feedback. If some of those things are useful and helpful, I felt like I helped to make an app even better and I feel good about spending time reviewing it. At the end of the day, one of the things that make me feel great is that I can help make better AR apps for all of us to enjoy.
I’ve been in contact with many developers, more times behind the scenes and they have implemented my suggestions and did found them useful. If you are a developer and plan to release an app (preferably at a later stage of its release or in its final version), you can contact me and I can check it out. I can promise that I’ll be available, but I’ll do my best to help out whenever I can.
Also worth mentioning that I am still stuck at the first boss, and there are parts of the game that I am yet to experience. Because of the relatively underwhelming experience, I wasn’t encouraged to continue further and spent much more time with it. That being said, I do plan to play it again in a few days and share more information if anything particularly interesting and exciting is worth disclosing.
When I imagine a similar game like this, I see crazy grannies moving out in the real world, hiding behind objects (6d.ai rings a bell), with spatial sound, you play hide and seek with them, something them move in and out from portals, surprise you from the back, kind of a cool spatial gameplay experience in the real world and inspired by this idea. That being said, this is what it is, but I do enjoy sharing things on my mind that are inspired by games that I’ve already played.
One of the good things about the game is that it’s compact, and can be played almost anywhere. I know that not everyone enjoys playing AR games that either requires standing, move around a lot or ones that require a large space to play. This one, remind me of the game called The Birdcage. There is also the second installment of this game available. This game perfected some of the things that I mentioned here. I was able to change the height of the game, I was able to rotate the game level so I can play it comfortably even while seated without moving around. Of course, I had the option to move around if that’s what I wanted to. The game gave me those options and it didn’t force me into a strict gameplay style that I might not a fan of. Having options is good, as long as it fits the type of gameplay experience that the developer is trying to deliver.
The option to rotate the level is not something that some players prefer, but it also solves two usability and accessibility concerns related to playing in small space where you cannot walk around the level and accessibility concerns where people are physically unable to comfortably move around due to certain physical disabilities.
I wish Koji Murata success in launching his upcoming game, Granny Invader AR game. I’ll be sure to check it out again when it is released on May 1st, 2019 on the App Store for iOS.
This is the official trailer video.
This is my initial review of the pre-release version of the game.