Game review by
Chris Morris, Common Sense Media
Grindstone Game Poster Image
Wonderfully entertaining, visceral match-three game.

Parents say

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Kids say

age 6+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game's protagonist is more of a "kill first, ask questions never" sort of fellow. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

There's no real character development. Kill squishy monsters, collect rewards, repeat. 

Ease of Play

The mechanics are easy to grasp, but the game is actually quite challenging. 

Violence & Scariness

Loads of cartoon violence and sound effects of creatures being killed, but no blood. Rampages against enemies can seem a bit over the top.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Grindstone is a match-three puzzle game for iOS devices that's filled with cartoon violence. The game has you kill critters in a mine to harvest gemstones and other bonuses. The animation is cute and the game, while violent, isn't objectionable. But as you string along kills, the protagonist goes into an on-screen rampage that might be a bit gory for some young players. The game's also fairly challenging, which could frustrate some players. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game. Read the developer's privacy policy for details on how your (or your kids') information is collected, used, and shared and any choices you may have in the matter, and note that privacy policies and terms of service frequently change.

User Reviews

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Teen, 13 years old Written byLofted10 October 18, 2019

Most games get boring...

But this doesn't. Highly recommend for any age level. Super easy to pick up and super fun to play. NOT A MATCH THREE GAME. Way better than that, way more o... Continue reading

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?

Game details

For kids who love puzzles

Themes & Topics

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