The idea behind the TouchArcade Game of the Week is that every Friday afternoon we post the one game that came out this week that we think is worth giving a special nod to. Now, before anyone goes over-thinking this, it doesn’t necessarily mean our Game of the Week pick is the highest scoring game in a review, the game with the best graphics, or really any other quantifiable “best" thing. Instead, it’s more just us picking out the single game out of the week’s releases that we think is the most noteworthy, surprising, interesting, or really any other hard to describe quality that makes it worth having if you were just going to pick up one.
These picks might be controversial, and that’s OK. If you disagree with what we’ve chosen, let’s try to use the comments of these articles to have conversations about what game is your game of the week and why.
Without further ado…
I don’t know what it is about Laser Dog Games, but they somehow have a knack of releasing seemingly simplistic games that are hiding a ton of subtle depth, and always use controls that feel totally natural on a touchscreen. Their latest release Don’t Grind (Free) is no exception. Don’t Grind seems like an odd duck at first glance. The icon features a banana with googly eyes falling towards a menacing buzzsaw. What the heck is going on here? Let me explain.
The object of Don’t Grind is to keep your character, be it googly eyed banana or any of the dozens of other wacky options, from being ground to death by the buzzsaws at the bottom of the screen or by a number of other hazards that will come in from all directions. You tap anywhere on the screen to give your character a bounce, similar to those “keep up" soccer ball bouncing games, and you can swipe in any direction to nudge your character left or right.
As alluded to, this entire concept sounds painfully simple but is actually deceptively deep. While avoiding death by sawblade is a top priority, stars also appear randomly around the screen. Collecting the stars will earn you points, and seeing as how this is a high-scoring game it’s imperative to try and collect as many stars as you can. The catch is that the stars are almost always in a position to put you in imminent danger, and thus the classic risk vs. reward core of Don’t Grind is revealed.
What really sets Don’t Grind off though is how brilliant the physics and weight of your character are. Much like Laser Dog’s previous games Hopiko ($0.99) and especially PKTBALL (Free), Don’t Grind is a game that has a near-perfect “feel" and just the act of playing is a joy in itself. Throw in a clever leaderboard system, various goals to achieve, and that goofy cast of unlockable characters and the entire package comes together into one of those games you can play at a moment’s notice or get accidentally sucked into for hours.
It’s really something that needs to be experienced first-hand, and thankfully Don’t Grind is free to download and ad-supported with a one-time $1.99 IAP to remove them, so there’s really no excuse not to give it a spin. While Don’t Grind might not seem like much in the first few minutes with it, invest a little time and it’ll slowly reveal its brilliance to you the more you play, and once again I’m finding myself with a new Laser Dog game that will earn itself a permanent spot on my iPhone.