Grab the Bottle (Switch) Review

Long Arm of the Cola

Have you ever wished that you could stretch out your arms to grab faraway objects? The puzzle game Grab the Bottle lets you live out this fantasy.

Here’s my Video Review for your viewing pleasure!

You play as a boy who inexplicably has the power to infinitely stretch his arm, much like Mr. Fantastic, Stretch Armstrong, or the entire cast of Nintendo’s fighting game ARMS. Grab the Bottle follows this boy’s life from birth to adulthood, chronicling all the important times in his life…when he had to grab a bottle out of reach. Sure, it’s ridiculous, but it’s also a charming, nostalgia-inducing premise coupled with a stylized vintage comic look and a soundtrack reminiscent of retro TV commercials.

Grab the Bottle Switch Gameplay.jpg
Other characters with stretchy arms: Stretch Armstrong, Elastigirl, Street Fighter’s Dhalsim, One Piece’s Luffy, Lanky Kong…

In each level, your goal is to manipulate your stretchable arm to grab your desired bottle, which may be anywhere, across the room, in the attic, or in a sleeping man’s hand. You must weave your arm around multiple obstacles and through tight spaces, similarly to the classic game Snake. Bump your hand three times and you immediately restart the level. The need for precision is mismatched with the mechanic that your arm moves automatically and non-stop. All you can do is twist your arm, but it has such a wide turning radius that it’s difficult to make effective U-turns, which are often necessary to complete stages. The unintuitive controls would be somewhat tolerable if not for the fact that each level requires such specific and perfectly executed maneuvers. Seriously, your arm ends up in such twisted configurations that would make Mr. Fantastic sweat.

Grab the Bottle Switch Puzzles.jpg
Not sure I want a bottle lodged in the attic.

The first stage is simple enough, but subsequent ones are elaborately crafted Rube Goldberg machines, in which one component directly affects another. For example, pushing candle-lit wheels to burn webs. The clever designs of these mechanical brain teasers ask you to think carefully before making each move. I normally enjoy these, but in Grab the Bottle, you have limited time to think due to your automatically moving arms. Worse, since most levels require you to nab mandatory collectibles on your way to the bottle, you must also plot out perfect routes to avoid crashing into dead ends or your own elongated hand.

There’s another mechanic with a smart design but a flawed execution. Sometimes, you must grab and hold on to certain key items, and dropping the item below usually lets you remove an obstacle, for instance, scissors cutting a rope. Holding on to items also retracts your arm, which is the only way to “rewind” your arm’s path. This ingenious mechanic drastically changes how you navigate stages. However, it has its own issues. If you drop the item in the wrong spot, you’ve probably lost. Plus, due to the physics engine in the game, items won’t always fall how you wish or interact with obstacles as intended. Not to mention it’s not easy or fun to have to map out where you want to drop an object long before you even grab it.

Grab the Bottle Switch.jpg
I’m not even sure what’s happening, but there are scissors on my arm. Call for help.

Everything so far becomes increasingly annoying when you realize that these complex puzzles typically only have one solution, so you can’t afford to make mistakes or verge off the intended path. Gameplay essentially consists of deadly trial-and-error, and I had to restart levels many times, whether I got stuck or hurt. If you lose often, the game offers some optional lifelines: an indestructible punching glove and a strategy aid that indicates the order you should collect objects. No matter what you think about game guides, these honestly made the game less frustrating and more enjoyable. There are still plenty of opportunities to mess up so the support doesn’t completely break the game. For that matter, I wouldn’t have minded if the developers had included an actual rewind function.

Almost every level amongst the game’s several dozen uses this same formula. There are a couple shining jewels in which you have to chase a bottle down, for instance, in the clutches of a bird. Coincidentally, the gameplay was a great fit for these autoscrolling levels. Otherwise, there is little replay value beyond trying to complete levels with the shortest arm length or least deaths. The game records these accomplishments, or at least it theoretically should, if not for a glitch that prevented my stats from displaying correctly. Indeed, the game has bugs, ranging from minor ones like strategy aids permanently disappearing to a game-breaking issue that prevented me from getting past a stage, which the developers thankfully addressed with an update.

Grab the Bottle Switch Fridge.jpg
That moment when you realize you should have just walked to the fridge.

Conclusion

Grab the Bottle is a smart hybrid of Rube Goldberg machines and the classic game Snake. It’s backed with charming concepts and a fun aesthetic. Unfortunately, troublesome controls, frustrating physics, and a heavy dependence on trial-and-error keep the game from reaching its true potential. Only the most hardcore fans of complex contraption puzzles will want to grab this one.

Score: 5/10

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher for this article. The original version, followed by v1.0.2 (which should have fixed the game-crashing bugs), were used for this review.

What do you think of Grab the Bottle? What are your favorite “Rube Goldberg” complex machine games (for example, Mouse Trap, Capcom’s Ghost Trick, or some shrines in The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild)? And of course, what’s in your bottle? Please share any thoughts or questions you have in the comments below! Thank you so much for reading and watching!

 

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Grab the Bottle (Switch) Review

  1. Great review! It certainly *grabbed* my attention. 😉 I like the quirky concept. It IS a lot like Snake…with a twist! Some of the puzzles look pretty complicated, though. I get the Rube Goldberg vibe you got from this. Reminds me of Ghost Trick, an awesome game by the guy behind Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney! It’s too bad that huge glitch kept you from progressing, but at least the developers fixed it. By the way, I think this game is well timed for Elastigirl from the Incredibles 2. ^_- It’s also always well timed for Luffy from One Piece hehe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you as always for your support and encouragement! Ghost Trick is so good, and I hope Capcom makes another Rube Goldberg machine type of game likes it. Of course, it has to be Shu Takumi behind it. For that matter, I’d love to have more Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games! I used to play Snake back in the day, so imagine Grab the Bottle as more of a puzzle game version of that.

      I still need to watch Incredibles 2, but Elastigirl was great in the first movie. Well timed release indeed. And Luffy is always fantastic. I’m sure he’d have no trouble grabbing bottles…or at least meat haha!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can see me getting bored with this game very quickly, haha. And game records are CRITICAL to my enjoyment of a game. A glitch that affects those is just… 😱

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, it’s hard for this game to really…GRAB…one’s attention. Or rather, it’s easy to get stuck due to a number of factors, and it doesn’t always feel worth it to continue playing. The glitches are definitely annoying too. :/ Thank you as always for your support and kind words!! I truly appreciate it!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This looks weeeiiiiiirrrrdddddd…. Kinda lame that that there’s often only one way to solve a puzzle too. I like that the levels all take place at critical points in the boy’s life, but why does he need the bottles in the first place? And do any of them form habits that cause problems later on? So many questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahahaha yeaaaaah, it makes no sense. I like Grab the Bottle’s quirky idea with the stretchy arms but not the execution. The interesting framing device does bring up a lot of questions. Is he obsessed? Is he addicted? Is this causing his unusual stretchiness? Actually, I’m worried about this guy now… We really need a sequel that just follows up on him. Not a puzzle game, just a heart to heart discussion and/or intervention.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s