Free-to-play is often a misnomer: many games of this type ask you to pay to continue playing, and are only actually free if you're prepared to wait.
That's fine in itself - many F2P players have several games on the go that they periodically check in with, so waiting isn't an issue - but the trick is to give players plenty to do when they are playing, and to balance the in-game currencies to keep waiting to a comparative minimum.
Sadly, it's a balance Greedy Grub gets entirely wrong.Animal magic
It's a pity, as this gentle, bucolic life sim creates a very positive first impression, thanks to an attractive cartoon art style which sees a series of charmingly rotund woodland creatures gliding between the beautifully drawn buildings and trees you've placed.
These are friends of the eponymous newborn, who fell from a tree at birth as his mother was dragged off by a hungry bird. He's immediately asked to forget this traumatic experience and to turn the forest into a thriving economy, planting fruit trees whose contents yield Pips, the game's main currency.
The Pips can be spent on a number of buildings, from a laboratory that allows you to craft new items to a toy shop that holds rubber ducks and Rubik's cubes.
Meanwhile, rarely occurring Azurite gems must be used to feed the creepy (but powerful) Eye-Tree who has the power to expand the forest.It'll cost you
The trouble is, these buildings are extortionately expensive - I had to buy two generous helpings of Pips just to make reasonable progress for the sake of this review, and even then, they ran out alarmingly quickly. A barrel of Azurites was emptied with equal speed.
That wouldn't be so bad if the missions you were set weren't timed. On the fourth day of playing I was asked to place a decorative item costing a number of Pips I couldn't possibly have reached without spending real money.
In between these events you're given little to do but busywork, sending Grub to munch weeds in the hope that they might hide a rare Azurite instead of a measly two Pips, to water your trees, and to eat the fruit they leave behind.
Leave the game alone for several hours, and you're bombarded with push notifications for every minor in-game event. Venture back into the forest and you'll bump into a blue bird that will constantly appear to cajole you into tweeting about the game until you eventually give in.Time out
My best advice is to ignore everything else and try to progress at your own speed. Turn off push notifications and check in when it suits you. Suddenly, it's a less pressured, more relaxing experience that's much more in keeping with the peaceful aesthetic, albeit one that moves at a snail's pace.
Even so, it's hard to see why anyone would really want to continue given that each 'reward' tends to mean more work - and more waiting - on the player's part. The sense of achievement at having reached a new level is always undermined by the length of time (or cost) of getting there.