Greedy Spiders is an addictive Android game that follows the same vein as Angry Birds and Bunny Shooter. But instead of taking out evil green pigs and cute pink bunnies with various avian missiles and arrows, here you're protecting bugs from the bellies of menacing arachnids. This turn-based puzzler also requires a heightened level of logic.
You start the game with only a pair of scissors, snipping away strands of the spider's web to prevent him reaching his prey. Later in the game you also get fire, allowing you to take out cross sections of the web, plus decoys that buy you precious extra time. But the spiders up their tactics too, bringing along their eight-legged friends to feast on your flies.
In the levels we played we saw two types of spider, although the full version is said to comprise seven of the creepy crawlies. The first, the standard black spider, takes the fastest route across the web. A second spider, who more closely resembles a wasp/spider hybrid, is a crazy character who doesn't always follow the path you might expect. We found both creatures increasingly difficult to outwit.
While it's relatively easy to figure out the solution in the first few levels, Greedy Spiders quickly becomes a real head-scratcher. You don't need to be academically intelligent to complete this title, but you do need to have a brain that operates in a very logical manner.
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Thankfully, there are hints – but here developer Blyts reveals itself to be a bit of a tease. It will show you how to complete a level, but only once (so you had better pay attention), and you'll need to have first given it a proper go yourself – Blyts demands that you play the level for at least 5 minutes before it'll lend a hand. In a further twist, you can access just a single hint every 24 hours.
Cheaters can find walkthroughs online, but we think the game is to be commended for the way it encourages you not to take the easy way out of every difficult situation you encounter.
There are other ways to proceed with gameplay when you're truly stuck. Your performance within each level is recognised with a star rating, and obtaining the maximum award unlocks the following three levels. If you're stuck on one, you can simply try another. Unlike the many other Android games that use this three-star strategy, in Greedy Spiders this rating is important: if you win only two stars, you'll unlock just two levels.
The free version of the game comprises two 'scenarios', curiously titled 'Time to Eat' and 'Wild Hills', each with 32 brain-frazzling puzzles. The full version adds a further two scenarios – 'Dry Escape' and 'Scary Crypts' – plus an extra 64 levels. If you enjoy the free version, it'll set you back just 63p to upgrade.
There's also a chance to gain more levels. A message often pops up onscreen at startup prompting you to rate the game in the Android Market, but now Blyts is offering an incentive – "a greedy plan", in its own words. When it receives 15,000 five-star ratings, Blyts will unleash a Greedy Spiders update with new levels to enjoy.
We found the gameplay incredibly addictive, yet equally frustrating. Not only does this game cause you to use your brain more than most, a few problems with the interface made matters more difficult.
Greedy Spiders works only on smartphone versions of Google's Android platform (versions 1.6 to 2.3.3). In a game where you must be able to accurately select a small point on the screen, we would have found the larger display of a tablet easier to work with than the already rather generous 4.2in screen of our Sony Ericsson Xperia Arc.
It's possible to zoom in and out, although a few extra zoom levels wouldn't go amiss. We often found cunning spiders concealing themselves behind the advert placed bottom left (the full version removes this ad), or beyond the visible edges of our screen. And fat fingers may struggle to select the correct web strand even at maximum zoom.