Abby Crabby in Review – Underwater Mayhem

abbycrabby1In keeping up with my last review of iPhone games that are intended for ‘all age groups’, we’ll be taking a look a cartoonishly designed title called Abby Crabby. Developed by Steamboat Mountain Designs, Abby Crabby takes you deep underwater, where you play as Abby the Crab and your sole mission is to protect baby crabs from falling debris and trash.

When I first played Abby Crabby, it reminded me very much of classic Game & Watch games, where you have to save someone or something from falling to the ground by maneuvering to the left and right. Playing as Abby, you scurry along the bottom of the ocean and prevent falling trash from knocking out your precious little crabbies. Dashing left and right, two large claws are used to grab garbage like tires, bottles, and sneakers. Each claw can only grab one such item and you are also able to launch these dangerous goods back from whence they came. These baby crabs act as your life line, so its game over if one too many falling items get to them.

abbycrabby3The first level of Abby Crabby works very much like a tutorial level, where the pace of the game is slow enough that players can grasp the simple controls. Tilting your iPhone/Touch left and right will move Abby in the corresponding direction. To launch garbage straight back up (and pop falling trash out of the water in the process), swipe your finger upwards on the screen. Swiping diagonally and the trash will be sent back at an angle. Using garbage as projectiles will be extremely useful when levels get harder and the pace of game picks up drastically. The ability to bounce trash off your head while your claws are full also adds to the gameplay.

Graphically, Abby Crabby definitely has a very cartoony feel to it, from the colors, animation and style of art direction. This is certainly a good thing, especially for younger kids who will find the visuals fun and appealing. The original musical score works beautifully with the overall design of the game. Together with the look and feel and catchy tune of Abby Crabby, I can’t help but be reminded of Mr.Krabs from Sponge Bob Square Pants.

abbycrabby4Visuals and soundtrack aside, Abby Crabby does have some issues. My main concern is with its difficulty. For a game where the developers state “Fun for kids and adults of all ages”, I find that it gets too difficult too quickly. Sure the first few levels are a breeze to play through, but within a few more rounds, heaps of garbage will come pouring down at even greater speeds. With baby crabs that move about randomly, it is nearly impossible to keep debris from falling on them. To complicate matters, the tilt controls are not as responsive as they should be. I find that you have to tilt too much if you want to quickly move Abby from one end to another. In later rounds when Abby needs to quickly fend off garbage from all angles, the rapid see-saw like tilt movements will make it difficult to see all the locomotion on screen.

There’s no denying that Abby Crabby will appeal to kids and even adults with its cute graphics and endearing soundtrack. Its even fun and enjoyable, when the action on hand is still manageable that is. Both my niece(9)and wife loved the game at first, but as the garbage came pouring down, they started feeling frustrated with not being able to keep up with the excessive trash. To remedy this, there really needs to be an option to choose the game’s difficulty level. That and tweaking the tilt controls to be more responsive should go a long way in making the game more enjoyable for all ages in the long run.

Bottom Line: Abby Crabby is a visually enticing and fun game that is marred by difficulty and control issues. If there were more modes of play and a setting for the game’s difficulty, Abby can then truly be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages.


App Summary
Title: Abby Crabby Developer: Steamboat Mountain Designs
Price: $1.99 App Size: 2.7 mb
  • Attractive graphics and very catchy soundtrack
  • Achievements earned by performing certain tasks (i.e throw two tires at the same time)
  • Launching garbage back and popping falling debris is fun
  • Too difficult too quickly
  • No difficulty setting
  • Needs more game modes to engage the younger ones
  • Tilt controls needs to be more responsive


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