Gridrunner review (iOS / Universal)

February 24, 2012

“Shot by both sides
On the run to the outside of everything”

10 word description: 1982 shooter reimagined in the style of an arcade machine.

It's all here, even an attract mode and Engrish messages between levels

10 word review: Nostalgia made real; your best arcade memories on your i-device.

The 3-way shots are just one of many power-ups

You will like this if you enjoy: Updated retro arcade shooters. Other Llamasoft games, although this is more a pure arcade shooter with less trippy visuals and animals than the other games.

Shame this power-up only lasts a few seconds!

The good news: Fantastic arcade shoot-em-up experience. Very convincing and attractive pseudo-retro graphics and sounds. Controls pretty much perfect, although that’s hardly surprising. Hyper-addictive high-score chasing.

The bad news: There’s no iCloud sync of local high score(s), but that’s not really any kind of an issue. Never, ever turn your device to landscape orientation! (Now you will).

Turning your device into landscape does this. You won't leave it like that for very long

Arcadelife verdict: Scenario: You have beautiful, rose-tinted memories of an arcade game from the distant past. One day, many years later, you play that game on an emulator. It fails dismally to live up to your memories; it’s slow, ugly and appallingly difficult. It isn’t fun. Now, imagine a parallel universe where the emulator doesn’t just recreate the game but also endows it with all the fun, excitement and retina melting-wonder that you remembered it having…

Although it's very pretty, the visuals are actually quite restrained and you can always see what's going on

Gridrunner for iOS is an 80’s arcade game the way we’d like to remember them, not the way they really were. That’s a good thing, and also a rather fantastic achievement. Jeff has held back on the psychedelia and minotaurs this time and the game is better for it. Not that I have anything against those traditional Llamasoft game elements, but Gridrunner – pure arcade classic reinvention on a touch-screen device – doesn’t need any of that in order to succeed quite spectacularly at what it’s trying to do.

Game Over. This could be any game from the early 80's, but it isn't

Arcadelife rating

Visuals – 9/10
Audio – 9.5/10
Controls – 10/10
Content – 9/10
Fun – 9.5/10
Final rating – 94/100

Rating categories explained here.
Version reviewed by Arcadelife is 0001.01.00
iTunes link

Llamasoft website link

Arcadelife played and reviewed this game on:
4th gen iPod Touch (OS 5.0.1)
iPad (OS 5.0.1)


  1. Ha! I didn’t know about the landscape extra. I like that. Of course, I was a serious Gridrunner addict on the C64.

  2. […] feel. Spy Hunter is all you need to play in order to understand what I was saying in the recent Gridrunner review – our memories of classic arcade games are often seriously let down by the reality of […]

  3. […] Read the review here. […]

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