Tiny Grave iOS review: Burton-esque indie puzzler scratches undead itch

Tiny Grave should find it's way to your iOS device before Halloween.
Tiny Grave should find it’s way to your iOS device before Halloween.

With Halloween coming up, I decided to do some undead themed reviews by some indie companies. I’ll be doing a couple of other articles too featuring some great games, comics and more. With that said, I wanted to try my hardest not to use cheesy slugs to describe some of these ghoulish treats (see, I just did it) so I’ll do my darndest to keep away from the cliche descriptions. Now, on to the review:

Tiny Grave

Tiny Grave is an inexpensive puzzle game with a big heart. You play the role of Eyegore, the evil hunchbacked henchman of a mad scientist tasked with collecting body parts Frankenstein style. You’re given some charming cut scenes with admirable voice-acting, and then you move on to collecting those organs and bones.

The puzzles

After the cut-scenes, you go to the game screen. Here you are thrown into the game with little to no direction. There are piles of different icons, and you must decipher that the game works bejeweled style. Line up 3 of the same icon, and they disappear and more icons fall into place. Once you figure out what you’re doing, the game quickly becomes addictive. There is a good amount of strategy, believe it or not, to lining up 3 or more eyeballs and setting up your screen to feed more items until you reach 300.

Use your explosive vile to open up a dead board.
Use your explosive vile to open up a dead board.

Another layer of strategy (There’s no tutorial, but the developer did point out there is a tutorial in the help menu) are little vials of an explosive compound, a vial of acid, and another vial that I never used. You’ll be able to see that in the screen shots here. If you become stuck, with no way to line up your body parts, just throw some of the acid on an area, and voila! More body-parts fall and you’re back on your quest to satisfy the good doctor with much needed body parts. Be warned, if you’re irresponsible with your vials, you’ll find yourself with a game-over screen later on in your adventure (during story mode) and be wondering why. I’m assuming I ran into the game over screens because I ran out of plays. This is unexplained.


You’re able to play in story mode and endless mode. Endless is ala Tetris with a high-score as your goal.

Acid clears out an area, opening up new body parts to collect.
Acid clears out an area, opening up new body parts to collect.


I went to a coffee shop down the road to do my review, as I often do. I want to see how immersive the game can be, and whether or not it’s good to pick up and put down. My girlfriend came with me to get out of the house and get some work done, and I told her what I was doing, so we loaded the game onto her iPad. I had a good time with the game, but I noticed her playing. She played the entire time we were out, and she kept going even after I had taken a break. I think it’s important to give her impressions, more so than mine, because she wasn’t looking to review it. She was looking to spend some time using her brain and having some fun. So what did she think?

She really enjoyed it. She played into the night, and even played more the next night. She wasn’t happy that she was only able to get C+ ratings, but she kept playing. It reminded her of those bar games where you spend 20 dollars before you know it, and two hours and more than a few pints are gone as well. I think that says a lot about the game. I look at things too analytically, and she looked at the game like the developers wanted her to see it. Again, that’s what is important.

The Good

  • Quick, fast paced game play at times. A solid amount of strategy for a $2.99 iOS game.
  • The music is top-notch. It is very reminiscent of Danny Elfman and his work on the Tim Burton films. It never grated me. Whomever wrote it has a solid knowledge of music, and I’d love to go on and on about how new instruments were introduced with counter melodies and…ok, I’ll stop.
  • Easy to pick up and play.

What I’m loathing

I don’t like that the mechanics are not introduced or explained via tutorial. I would’ve loved to know how the vials work. There are also some other little quirks that I never figured out. Like, how sometimes you are able to move the skull, or items on the top row one space. There are instructions in the help menu, so if you get stuck, make sure to check it out.

The timed mode in the story mode was super tough. It was stress-inducing tough to me. I’m not a big player of puzzle games, but I still found it a little too tough. But, that adds replay value I suppose and ensures you won’t be finishing the game in an afternoon.


Final verdict

Tony Grave is a great effort by an ambitious indie company and I’m glad to have played it. It’s something I don’t mind recommending, especially after seeing my partner play it for so long. She doesn’t play many mobile games, and it hooked her. So go out and buy it, it’s worth the money. Below you’ll find a link to Digital Hero games, as well as a youtube link to a video of Tiny Grave.

Tiny Grave via Digital Hero Games

Digital Hero game store


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