Puzzle games are a bit of an oddity these days; the genre is absolutely swamped with “match 3” titles that are peppered with the occasional game that tries to do something a little different. Grab the Bottle certainly fits the “different” moniker, but is it a title worth exploring?
From the outset Grab the Bottle is obvious in its attempts to be different – the art style is reminiscent of old comic books and all the cutscenes play out in single image pictures with no voiceovers or fancy animation work. It is striking and leaves the game a little bit to the player’s interpretation.
The basic plot is simple; you begin the game as a baby that learns it has Stretch Armstrong style super powers and can basically snake it’s arm out as far as it likes. This baby’s aim is simple, it wants milk.
That is basically the plot all the way through, you will follow this baby through their life of bottle addiction, from milk to fizzy drinks to alcohol.
Grab the Bottle starts off simple enough, giving you a few tutorial levels that teach you the basics and a few advanced rules of the game, and then it leaves you rather abruptly to work it all out on your own.
Thankfully the controls are fairly considered. Left stick moves the arm left and right, A is used to grab items and Y speeds the action up. It should be a pretty basic control system and for the most part it is. However I did find the left and right movement a little sluggish at times which often leads to the hand crashing into objects. Lucky then that you are given three hits before you have to restart a level.
You’ll want to get used to those restarts too because as the levels progress, so too does the level of complexity. Initially you’ll be tasked with just grabbing a bottle left out in the open, but it isn’t long before you are snaking your incredibly long arm through the loft, and knocking candles into cobwebs with the aim of grabbing a bottle opener, before even going anywhere near a bottle. Another level sees you snaking your arm underneath a moving roller coaster in order to steal the bottle from under the ride operator’s nose.
It’s a testament to the development team that they have thought about nearly every permutation of how you can grab a bottle, but there is no denying that it begins to get boring pretty quickly, as really there is only so much you can do with one mechanic. To combat this there are secondary objectives, however, because the game is only about grabbing items it all amounts to nothing more than fetching other items in a level. Sometimes you may find the odd alternate pathway through a level, but again most only have one way to completion, which in turn sees Grab the Bottle offering up little in the way of replayability.
Achievements wise and Grab the Bottle comes with a pretty mixed bag, most consisting of collecting certain items within levels or avoiding specific characters in various places. A couple of notable exceptions have you racing a magpie to the end of a level or losing lives in a certain way. The sole achievement for completing the game with zero deaths is a hard one though and is really the only reason for coming back to earlier levels. You’ll need to be prepared for that though as getting through some of these levels without a scratch is going to be a tough one.
Honestly, after the first few levels Grab the Bottle just isn’t fun, boiling down to trial and error before seeing you rewarded with another more complex level. About halfway through you are finally given a single level where you have to chase a bird and that’s quite possibly the most fun you’ll really have with the game. At £3.99 it is worth a go if only to grab yourself a few extra achievements – just be prepared for a world of frustration and eventual boredom.