When you think of stealth games, who and what comes to mind? For me, it’s grizzled, highly-trained badasses like Solid Snake and Sam Fisher. It’s evading security cameras and roving squads of machine gun wielding goons. It’s leaping from the shadows to quickly and quietly dispatch enemies. It’s thrilling globe-trotting missions, high-tech weaponry and crazy world-ending terrorist plots.
GGX-Great Grandma Escape (out now, free) has none of that stuff.
Instead of having you play as a skilled spy or assassin, the game drops you in the fluffy blue slippers of an elderly lady. Her decidedly low-stakes mission: escape from hospital in time to attend her grandson’s birthday party. If you hadn’t already guessed, GGX-Great Grandma Escape is a tongue-in-cheek parody of more po-faced stealth ’em ups like Splinter Cell or Hitman.
Each stage is played against a tight time limit. Your goal is to get from your hospital bed to the exit point without alerting the doctors, nurses or zombie-like infected patients who patrol the halls. As you sneak your way through the labyrinthian facility, you can duck behind scenery and hide in unoccupied rooms to avoid being spotted. Granny doesn’t have any fancy gear like silenced pistols or a garrote at her disposal, but she can use everyday hospital items — crutches, dope-filled syringes, defibrillators and more — to neutralize enemies if needs be.
I actually really dig GGX-Great Grandma Escape’s premise and think it’s a great set-up for a comedic stealth caper. The game is also chock-full of inventive little flourishes, such as you being able to choose between using the pills you find scattered around the hospital as power-ups for Granny, or as a means of drugging foes.
Sadly though, clunky controls and very sluggish character movement take the sheen off what otherwise could have been a fun romp. I mean, I get what the developers were going for here. The elderly aren’t generally very quick-footed, so it sort of makes sense that Granny shuffles everywhere at a snail’s pace and handles like a tank. However, this saps the gameplay of momentum and makes it pretty frustrating. Meanwhile, the game’s menu screens and cutscenes are a little crude and under polished.
GGX-Great Grandma Escape has a compelling premise and some fun ideas, but the execution leaves quite a bit to be desired. It’s free though, so there’s really no harm in trying it out if raising hell while playing as a badass old lady sounds like something you might enjoy.