iOS arcade title Grub from Pixowl takes the "gobble em up" gameplay of Pac-man and mixes it with the challenging movement of Snake. Throw in some cute graphics and snappy music and you have a mostly fun arcade game for your iPhone and iPad.
In Grub, you play as a grub worm with an enormous appetite. Your challenge is to navigate the rock-lined outdoors arena while you eat fruit and collect coins. No arcade game is complete without an enemy and Grub is filled with nasty yet cute hedgehog-like monsters that can drain your life and eventually kill you if you touch them. Grubs can protect themselves, though, by capturing power-ups that equip their wormy bodies with spikes that destroy their nemesis on contact.
The game features tilt controls that are calibrated before each level. I had no issue with the playback control and found it to be responsive on my iPhone 5s. Joystick control would be nice as sometimes you need the granular control that only tapping can provide. Joysticks also give your hands something to do while you play, which some gamers prefer over the more passive tilt control.
Though the worm moved where I wanted it to go, the game doesn't make it easy to control the grub in the higher levels. There are mazes, traps and other obstacles that can get in your way. The worm also grows longer with each fruit he gobbles up, so you have to precisely navigate this growing sprite through more difficult terrain and ever increasing number of enemies.
Because you steer the head of the worm, you have no control over his lengthy tail, which can be challenging to the point of frustration as the head goes in one direction and the tail flip-flops in another. It reminds of the real-life experience of towing a trailer -- it takes time to master the technique of controlling the front end so the back end follows in unison.
Grub is a free app and has freemium features, including coins that you can earn through in-game achievements, acquire via an in-app purchase or receive as a reward for an action such as watching a promo video. Much to its detriment, the game also features an energy system that limits the amount of time you can play in one session.
Despite its limitations, Grub is an enjoyable game. The graphics are cutesy, the animation is smooth and the music is bouncy. The tilt controls are responsive, though it does take some practice to master the movement in the higher levels.
Ultimately, Grub is free and worth a download to see if it is your type of game. You have nothing to lose other than storage space, and you may discover a new title that'll fill some of your free time with fun. You can download Grub for your iPhone or iPad in the iOS App Store. It requires iOS 7.0 or later.