A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
In GRINDSTONE, you’ll carve paths through a mine through a sea of different colored enemies. The longer the combination of kills, the more bonuses that appear. You can only string together enemies of the same color, but once you take out ten in one turn, a crystal drops, allowing you to add on another color string and go further. Once you've taken out a certain number of enemies, you can choose to progress or stay and grab additional loot drops, which can be used to buy items and upgrades. But the longer you stay, the more difficult enemies you'll face. And if you're hit by them three times, you'll lose everything. You can start over, but you'll only have one hit point instead of three (unless you buy additional health using those crystals you've collected).
Is it any good?
This match three game might seem like every other one, but it's humor and gameplay helps it stand out from the others. Grindstone is a game that, if it were played on the regular app store, would likely drive you bonkers. It's one that's easy to envision being loaded down with prompts to buy in-game currency or where ads interrupt the levels. It's easy to envision becoming upset because the levels are challenging and you don't restart them with full health. But, as part of Apple Arcade, there are none of those distractions. And the game is so much better for it.
It's a game that's just ... fun. Watching your onscreen warrior go into a frenzy, calculating the best moves and determining if the risk of staying in a level longer than you have to is worth the reward -- these are the simply joys that have been lost in the free-to-play economy. Make no mistake, Grindstone isn't an easy game. Trying to figure out what enemies to attack, or when you should leave a level with your spoils or risk another fight for more loot is part of the challenge. But it's not a game that's designed to make you lose. And if you run out of the in-game currency required to buy more health, you can always backtrack to earlier levels and build up your cash reserves. It's a good reminder of why mobile games were so much fun in the early days of mobile gaming.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about risk vs. reward. Is it worth losing everything to try to get additional loot?
Should you go for the longest string of kills in Grindstone, or will doing so cost you health points as well? What's the best strategy to use given each level you face in the game?
- Platforms: Apple Arcade
- Pricing structure: Paid (Part of the Apple Arcade subscription)
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Capybara Games
- Release date: September 24, 2019
- Genre: Puzzle
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- ESRB rating: NR for No Descriptions
- Last updated: October 8, 2019
For kids who love puzzles
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.