When it comes to “tactical espionage action,” the Metal Gear series comes to mind almost immediately. It did for me, at least, when I first heard of The Great Grandma Escape, a mobile stealth game which sticks the player into the shoes of the titular Granny, who must escape the hospital using an assortment of improvised weaponry in order to attend her grandson’s birthday. In Metal Gear Solid 4, the player controls a rapidly-aging Solid Snake, who must discover a quasi-magical serum to halt his biological degradation. In a sense, The Great Granny Escape feels like a stunted sequel to Metal Gear Solid 4 in which Snake fails to stop his aging and eventually retires to the old folk’s home.
To be fair, this is a generous description of a game that plays more like Manhunt than Metal Gear Solid, albeit with clumsier execution all around. It is a 3D mobile game, after all — what do you expect at this point?
Nevertheless, The Great Grandma Escape does not fail to amuse as Granny fights and sneaks her way through the game’s setting with ruthless efficiency — employing defibrillators, crutches, and other improvised weapons to dispatch unsuspecting personnel who seek to halt the player’s progress. You have to give the woman credit for loving her grandson, but damn — those doctors have kids, you know!
Thanks to the game’s wonky AI, however, these brutal takedowns are rarely necessary. While researching The Great Grandma Escape, I watched a “let’s play” video featuring the game in which the player literally bumps into a scouting doctor, who somehow does not notice the conspicuous old woman who is tip-toeing in circles right next to him. This unfortunate simplicity – and the presence of in-game microtransactions – make this game a sadly typical mobile experience, but one that you won’t mind playing on the plane or at the bus stop.
With a game like this making waves, one has to wonder what comes next. Can you imagine a game like Grand Theft Auto V played from the perspective of an escaped geriatric? I can, and it sounds hilariously offensive, which usually translates to “awesome” in my book. Whatever lies around the corner for the emerging “goiter” genre, The Great Grandma Escape isn’t afraid to pave the way as a brave, clumsy pioneer — and I can respect that.
The Great Grandma Escape is now available on the Apple Store for iOS.