Grim Fandango Remastered (iOS) Review

By Dustin Chadwell 01.07.2015

Review for Grim Fandango Remastered on iOS

Few gaming companies captivated PC audiences in the '90s as well as LucasArts. Games like Day of the Tentacle, Star Wars: Dark Forces, and Indiana Jones: The Fate of Atlantis are titles that are still as highly-regarded today as they were in their prime. Grim Fandango is among those releases, originally launching in 1998 while also having the distinction of being the first LucasArts adventure game to use 3D characters against pre-rendered backgrounds.

This was the last game created for LucasArts by Tim Schafer, who of course went on to do many other things within the industry, including his current position as head of Double Fine Productions. It's also because of Tim Schafer and Double Fine that things have now come full circle, with the release of Grim Fandango Remastered. 17 years is a pretty huge gap of time to go back and remaster a game as well-regarded as Grim Fandango, so read on to see how Double Fine did, with Cubed3's review, following on from coverage of the PlayStation 4 and PC versions.

For those unfamiliar with the original game, Grim Fandango Remastered stars one Manuel "Manny" Calavera, a smooth-talking, down on his luck salesman within the Land of the Dead. Manny works for the Department of Death as a travel agent of sorts, welcoming the recently deceased into the afterlife, and then attempting to set them up with travel arrangements to the Ninth Underworld.

At the onset of Grim Fandango, Manny hasn't had much luck as a salesman. His boss hates him, he gets little to no love from office receptionist, and every single person assigned to him barely qualifies for the most basic of travel packages. Things start to look up for Manny after a mass poisoning event occurs in the real-world, but thanks to a series of delays, Manny manages to come back to the office empty-handed. It's at this point that Grim Fandango's neo-noir adventure tale really kicks off.

Screenshot for Grim Fandango Remastered on iOS

The transition from PC game to iOS remaster is deftly handled by the developers at Double Fine. Controlling Manny is as simple as tapping an area of the screen for him to travel to. Double-tapping an area will make Manny run, speeding up gameplay considerably. For objects in the environment that Manny can interact with, or for other characters to speak to, tapping is still the primary function. Interacting with objects once tapped is simple and intuitive enough, with a small number of icons to commit to memory that indicate whether an object can be picked-up, spoken to, or observed.

The core mechanic of Grim Fandango, outside of it's fantastic humour and dialogue, is solving puzzles. This might come as a shock to those who have only been exposed to adventure games via the Telltale Games properties, but adventure games were at one point quite challenging, and this certainly proves that.

However, unlike other similar titles of its era, Grim Fandango isn't unfair. Clues abound via dialogue with other characters, and by interacting with all objects. Most pairings are pretty logical, like an early puzzle requiring the use of balloons filled with liquid to jam the works of a pneumatic tube machine. There are also plenty of head-scratching moments throughout, but persistence and patience typically pay off. Seeing Grim Fandango through to the end delivers a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that is different from other modern adventure titles, which makes the overall experience seem worth it.

Screenshot for Grim Fandango Remastered on iOS

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

This port of Grim Fandango Remastered is without question a viable, enjoyable version of the LucasArts classic that is absolutely worth checking out. It's priced to fit, the controls are simple to grasp, and all the humorous puzzle solving that made the original such a treat is intact. The only small drawback is that the visuals can be a bit fuzzy considering the higher resolution of say, an iPad Air 2. However, that's a relatively minor issue in comparison to the gargantuan amounts of fun to be had.


Double Fine


Double Fine





C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   


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