Game Info:

GrandMa Bad*ss
Developed By: Adipson Studio
Published By: Adipson Studio
Released: November 22, 2022
Available: Windows
Genre: Point-and-click adventure
ESRB Rating: Not Rated
Number of Players: Single player
Price: $14.99

Thank you Adipson Studio for providing us with a review code!

GrandMa Bad*ss—now that’s a title that will grab anyone’s attention. What this title is about is pretty obvious. You play as Grandma, and she’s quite the… you know. But she wasn’t always like this. The game made by French indie company Adipson Studio starts bombastically with Grandma holding a shotgun in her hand, ready to blast down the doors to some company before shortly rewinding to a few days ago. I’ll admit that such an opening grabbed my attention quickly.

Grandma’s adventure is a point-and-click one. The genre used to be very popular back in the day, but due to advances in technology, people were able to portray story-driven video games throughout more genres. While most point-and-clicks leaned toward a more comedic and satirical approach, some managed to be serious as well. GrandMa is of the former, being a lighthearted and silly adventure overall. While the Steam page says the game came out in 2021, that was only for the first two chapters and prologue. The full six chapters came out in November of 2022.

The tone is reinforced by how everyone communicates. People speak gibberish—a combination of English, Spanish, French, and I believe Italian, with made-up words here and there. The few English words I could point out when characters speak do not contain any harsh language, although I can't say for certain for other words. My Spanish is very rudimentary and I don't speak French or Italian so I have no idea if any of those words contain swearing. The words are accompanied by pictures in a speech bubble similar to a comic. For example, if a character is referring to someone as “a piece of crap”, instead of saying the words, a picture of poop in a speech bubble will be present. Grandma tends to "call" a lot of people “crap” in this adventure so you'll see the visual of poop often.

GrandMa controls like any point-and-click adventure out there. However, the aspect ratio and framerate are limited to give it a retro feel to it. You point, and you click, and Grandma goes over to the area. Sometimes she picks up items or interacts with the environment. You’ll use items to pass certain areas. Sometimes you may need to combine items in your inventory to create new ones, and those new items will let you get past areas you weren’t able to before. There are also puzzles here and there. Most of them require you to pay attention to things in the background such as a set of numbers or a drawing on a rock. The greatest thing is that GrandMa rarely relies on specific triggers for puzzles or solutions to activate. You can collect items as soon as they show up so backtracking is kept to a minimum. It also makes the player feel smart as if they figure out a solution to a future puzzle, they aren’t forced to wait for flags to trigger before they can do it. One weird thing that takes a while to get used to is that some objects take a little too much precision to collect/interact with.

GrandMa Badass

Strong Points: Surprisingly wholesome story; balanced difficulty for a point-and-click adventure
Weak Points: Lots of slow animations that add up; clicking certain objects can be a little too “pixel-perfect”
Moral Warnings: Plenty of sexual humor and visuals; mostly slapstick violence, but there is some blood and gore in Chapter 5 and 6; strong language such as “f**king” and “sh*t” can be heard in song lyrics; references to alcohol, cannabis, and other intoxicants; Grandma has to drug certain people’s drinks to get past them

The challenge is balanced as outside of two puzzles that require trivia knowledge from outside of the game, the solutions otherwise make sense. I’m not a fan of puzzles that have you know stuff that isn’t common knowledge (I never watched Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones so a sword puzzle that has to do with the names of the swords featured in those media flew over my head), but they were kept to a minimum so I’m fairly forgiving of it.

Grandma, herself is a fun character as she’s a sweet old lady, but also isn’t willing to take any disrespect from people. When she feels threatened, she’ll rely on her “lethal weapon” (which is just a cane) to give any person a good wallop. She also believes in not wasting anything as she always has to turn off faucets before she leaves a room, and she is a strong advocate against cannabis. Grandma is on this adventure in the first place because her cat Marius was taken from her. She ends up traveling all over her city and even into jungles, caves, and a laboratory to get him back. Her dedication is admirable, especially in her old age.

While the art style of GrandMa isn’t the most detailed, it has a sort of charm to it. It’s similar to other French and Western European cartoon art with characters having short, stubby, and round proportions. How everyone moves reminds me of Flash games from the late 90s and early 2000s. So while it doesn’t go for the pixelated retro look, it still manages to be retro all the same. The backgrounds are busy with detail and bright colors. It’s a pretty good-looking game. It sounds good too. There is a lot of variety when it comes to the sounds and music, ranging from classical piano, techno, and salsa for a few examples.

However, my biggest complaint comes from the general speed of the title. Grandma herself is pretty slow. That isn’t a big deal as she is old, but there are just a lot of slow animations overall that add up. Every item that Grandma picks up is accompanied by a 3-second animation of it within a Polaroid picture before it is put away. As there are dozens upon dozens of these items in each chapter and she picks up these items multiple times, a significant amount of time of the playthrough is taken up by these animations. It only ends up being a minor annoyance.

GrandMa Badass
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 15/20
Graphics - 7/10
Sound - 8/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 48%
Violence - 4.5/10
Language - 0/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 7/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 6/10

With a title like GrandMa Bad*ss, I don’t think it will come as a shock that there are concerns when it comes to morality with this game. The most notable and surprising feature is the amount of sexual content. Although, considering it is a French game after all, maybe it isn’t that surprising. The French do love their sexual humor and GrandMa is filled with it. Most of it is frontloaded and slows down considerably as it goes on, but you’ll come across things such as blow-up dolls, a stripper with very large breasts, a night club where a patron can’t stop staring at other women, and the owner of said night club in a sling bikini (who is male btw). Grandma will come across colorful characters such as a nasty pervert hiding in a bush pleasuring himself and a drugged-out neighbor who can’t stop smoking cannabis. There is some scatological humor as in chapter 1, there is a DJ that will poop his pants and you see his stained pants in all of its disgusting glory.

Language is a lot harder to notice as most cases of “dialogue” doesn’t exist, but there is a song called “Follow Me” by Vendredi where you can hear the words “f**king” and “sh*t” in the lyrics. You can also see the word “f**K” in chapter 6 written in the background, but that can be even harder to notice. Violence is mostly kept to slapstick, except in chapter 5 when zombies all of a sudden start attacking and you can see one of them proceed to eat a person. However, the zombies are part of a hallucination so they don't actually exist. In chapter 6, you also see a parody of Titanic where you see the character Rose DeWitt Bukater cut off Jack Dawson’s hand to eat. I also saw a pentagram symbol on the door of a cave in chapter 4. Considering that inside the cave is a wizard of sorts, the pentagram may point more toward Wicca, but there just isn't enough information to outright confirm it. Regarding ethics, the worst thing Grandma does to people is slip narcotics or laxatives into people’s drinks to bypass them. Other than that she’s a good person that manages to avoid killing anyone. On the other hand, there are NPCs that partake in drugs such as smoking cannabis, or drinking alcohol to the point of incapacitation.

Despite the slow pace and lengthy animations, GrandMa Bad*ss is a pretty good time. If you can get past the raunchiness (that does tone itself down a little the more it goes on), you’ll find a surprisingly wholesome adventure underneath about a cool grandma who just wants to save her cat. The humor is pretty funny at times with character interactions and cheeky references to movies, TV, and other video games. It took me about 7 hours to get through it with some assistance from a guide but will range somewhere between 6 and 10 for most players. Whether you play it once and put it away, or you go after the multitude of achievements, I can recommend this to an adult audience who may long for older times starring a pretty kick-butt granny.

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