Grab the Bottle is a weird game. The idea is simple but it’s executed rather awkwardly. Here we have a puzzle game that follows a guy who really wants to grab those bottles.
The game itself plays a little like snake, but you’re not chasing a high score and constant growth. Each level is also sprinkled with hazards to hinder your progress. If you hit yourself or anything in the environment you lose one of your three lives. Lose them all and its back to the beginning. The levels themselves are either single screen or involve some scrolling so it’s pretty useful to get a preview and set your plan of attack.
But it’s not as simple as just finding your way to each bottle. You’ll need to collect various items hidden throughout the levels. These are in awkward to reach places so forward planning is key to your success. As is a lot of trial and error. The puzzles usually require you to hold items so you can backtrack, or pull levers to create new paths. Theres very little variety and it does outstay it’s welcome pretty quickly. It’s far from a difficult game, but it does throw some curve balls your way.
The controls are nice and simple. Just like snake, the hand is always moving and you can turn left or right. The hand though, has the turning circle of an articulated lorry. In some of the tighter play spaces it got quite frustrating. The hit box also seems to be massive so it’s easy to get yourself into trouble. There’s also an option to speed up by holding X and you grab things with A. You’ll often find yourself making liberal use of the quick restart button. Restarts are quick but I’d hope so with such a simple game.
Graphically it looks like it’s all been cobbled together in MS Paint. The art direction is chunky and low detail, it screams 90s Clipart. It’s functional for what the game is but it doesn’t exactly set the world alight. Breaks in gameplay provide comic book panes to move the perfunctory story forward. The one thing I will say is that story isn’t the focus here, it’s the puzzle elements. I just wish they were better
And that’s it, you grab stuff, you move stuff and you grab some more stuff. Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best but it’s just not very fun.
The music gets annoying. The hit boxes are pretty big so navigating the levels sees you careening into everything. I admire the fact that someone has tried combining various ideas from other games but it’s poorly executed. It’s a throwback from another time. I often worry I’m a overly critical of devs with a lower budget who’ve clearly put in the effort to bring their project to fruition.
Not every game needs to be all the sparkle and jazz. But sometimes I wonder who the target audience for these games are. The idea is sound in theory but not in practice. I don’t expect perfection every time and some of my favourite games look like they’ve been cheaply cobbled together but deliver gameplay and enjoyment in spades. This isn’t one of those games.