REVIEW: Claw Machine Arcade

I like to think of myself as a nice guy. A chivalrous sort with a charitable soul, my witty observational humor ready to go at a moment’s notice. But some days I don’t know, man. There’s a darker side of me that I don’t like to speak about, and Claw Machine Arcade ($1.00) may finally be what it takes for me to drag this skeleton out of the closet (with a handful of credits and a claw, of course) and into the harsh light of reality.

Claw Machine Arcade - Screen

You see, when I was younger, frequenting the local arcades and wasting numerous hard-earned allowances to try out non-existent fatalities in Mortal Kombat (no fancy internet to separate truth from the lies in them days), I had a strange gift. Not for picking winning stocks, betting on underdog horses, or counting cards at Blackjack, but for getting stupid, cheap toys out of the arcade’s ubiquitous claw machine.

That gift didn’t happen without some help, watching from afar as others failed based on my advice, using their tokens (and their hope) as my pawns to move the pieces just right, so that the next play, I’d be in position to nab the prize. Was that fair? No. Certainly not. Was it smart? You bet it was, and time after time, token after token, I’d snag whatever stuffed animal or worthless trinket I was after, watching my newly-acquired wealth spill over the sides of the wall and into my morally-bankrupt hands.

I was King of the Claw in my youth, a tiny Daniel Plainview drinking people’s milkshakes, but Claw Machine Arcade may finally be the revenge I was destined to receive in adulthood, its prizes squirming and shooting away just beyond my reach, laughing at me as the soccer balls and spaceships wiggled out of the claw’s deathgrip and tumbled back into the mix, just short of the wall that would have set them free.

Claw Machine Arcade - Screen2

Of course, this is intentional in some spots. While the default machine is a walk in the park, allowing you to scoop up multiple toys and teddies with ease, the ‘Fish’ and ‘Space’ cabinets up the ante, adding moving parts (live fish, natch) and hazards that are aces at maneuvering out of your way no matter how accurate you are. Other tricks, like miniature black holes, actually attract the surrounding prizes. With options to change the claw type, the amount of tokens, adjust the timer, etc., each machine can be tinkered with to an extent, making it more, or less of, a challenge, and instead a ‘just for fun’ thing.

Funny, anecdotal stories aside, Claw Machine Arcade is exactly what it claims to be, no better and no worse than that. There’s no real depth to it beyond the luck of the draw, nor is the content anything mind-blowing, but as a throwaway party game or a nostalgic journey through childhood guilt, it may hold something worthwhile for some of us.

18 thoughts on “REVIEW: Claw Machine Arcade”

  1. I have 3 words for you:

    Lunar Panda Deluxe

    Reminds me of one of the original games I used to spend my quarters on called Lunar Lander before I got a C64 and programmed it on there and was able to sit at home and play. Nostalgic fun with a twist. LOVE IT!!

    1. I’ll have to add that one to the list as well. Nice to have a couple options on the indie channel again, although I hear / read ApocZ is having problems with the online component, so not sure I’ll be able to give that a full playthrough.

    2. Yeah, some people getting Code 4’s when they try to play online. I’m on Silver, so I only play Local Survival but found a glitch where you lose all your inventory when you go back to the Main menu (already reported that on their forums). But found a workaround for that and the game is still great fun. You get a lot of value for a small asking price.

      Lunar Panda Deluxe, eh? Have to give that one a try.

    3. I ran into something similar. I had been starting with the axe and flashlight, but then coming back to the game later, I was starting with nothing for a few games before it suddenly gave me back an axe and flashlight. Odd.

      No luck for me in getting online. I could see there were games available, but got the Code 4 within seconds. Had some success with finding weapons and partially-repairing a car. Good fun. Trying to decide if I should review it just based on the offline portion and add my ‘online’ thoughts to it after the patch (looks like April 2nd is the earliest it could go live), or just wait it out and play the whole game first. Probably the latter. That would be the professional route, and I’m all about professionalism (<—- sarcasm).

    4. ProTip: Reviewing and incomplete game does it injustice

      AND we all know Tim you wouldn’t want to do that to the game.
      Rather disappointed with them putting out a broken game I must say. They need to get on KGB Ep 2 already. LOL

  2. I think what this needs is a game in there not just play to get faux prizes. What about maybe making fauxchievments to give you something to shoot for. Otherwise it’s just a time stealer with no redeeming value. (OK that a little overboard but you get my drift)

    1. Not overboard at all, just the truth. It did need something more. Everything is unlocked from the start, so there’s nothing to work towards, and even the ‘prizes’ are repeated, so nothing fancy there either. It’s another novelty game, and as is often the case with those types, the fun is over within the first five minutes.

  3. Well Cardinal de la Hurley, I still think you are a nice guy. I dont remember ever catching one of those teddies. I try even now to pick up a bear or something for my niece, and she see with her own eyes how much her uncle suck at this machine, you know, I have to keep her happy so I can use her to pick up girls (worst uncle in the world!!) This machine does not remind me of my childhood so, I dont see nostalgia working here, cant say is something bad, I think is a nice idea but not for me. And I will spend 20 dollars soon for a demo (and I cry when indies are 5 dollars, I’m such a hypocrite) so will only buy indies are really wants for a few weeks. Yes Metal Gear Solid Gound Zeroes, talking about that is funny how games make you remember things jus It like music, I was thinking of the 1st Metal Gear Solid, then my brain starting remember some things that happened to me at that age. I sometimes wish I still have my old games and systems, so I can pick up the box the triggers some memories. A very good indie game To The Moon does something like that, a very good story is you can pass the RPG Maker look.

    1. Maybe I’m not such a bad guy after all. I certainly never used kids to pick up women (although it might work). Stealing toys from them in a roundabout way is much better… I think. Nostalgia is different for everybody, though, so it’s perfectly reasonable why this game wouldn’t have the same effect on others. It’s a minor ‘game’ at that, too, more of a time-wasting toy than anything else.

      Bought Ground Zeroes myself, looking forward to digging into that one a little deeper, as well as Infamous, which is currently sitting on my TV stand waiting to be unwrapped. 🙂

      To The Moon is definitely on my list of games to play at some point. Graphics wouldn’t bother me none if there’s an excellent story / memory to be told. Wish there were more like it. And there probably will be. The list of indie games coming to the new consoles keeps looking more and more impressive.

    2. Just downloaded the trial and have to say it’s quite… relaxing (the game, not the download; there’s nothing relaxing about watching a progress bar).
      Would be cool if the 360 would actually spawn the stuff you successfully scooped up.

      Oh, and any chance you do a review for Color 2? Seems to be a pretty decent game.

    3. How about a ‘roguelike’ progress bar that resets what has already loaded if you don’t follow a sequence of button presses, or if you fail to keep the controller (this would have to be PS controller in this instance) somewhat level? Make the gameplay and the challenge random, so that depending on skill level, you may never actually get to play the game you originally purchased.

      Starting to sound like Peter MolyDEUX now. 🙂

      As for Color 2, I tried the demo earlier in the week. Despite having a bunch of different ‘games’ within, it’s all just color-matching to various degrees. Felt a little dull by the time the trial was up. Probably would have reviewed it next, but then we finally got a new release in Crystal Defender. Suppose I’ll see about that one, then pick between the two.

    4. Now that sounds like an idea to make the download more exciting. And every time you fail you have to repurchase the game.

      And now for something completely different: a man in his mid 30s playing Chasm on his Xbox.
      Well I wish, but according to Discord Games it’s “currently in development for Windows, Mac and Linux”. Does that mean it won’t get released on the 360?

    5. That is a very possible (no… very likely) outcome. When I covered Chasm here, that was before its very successful Kickstarter AND acceptance onto Steam. Given its lengthy production and XBLIG’s slow demise, I personally don’t see coming to XBLIG anymore.

      Even Dawn of the Ronin, which was accepted for Steam a few months ago, might not make it onto the indie channel.


      While that’s bad news for XBLIG, it’s good news for all of us playing it on a console of some sort, as this year’s GDC basically saw Sony, Microsoft, and even Nintendo, basically saying ‘We love you, Indie’, and announcing support for Unity, MonoGame, etc.

      So, basically, it’s reasonable to assume that we’ll be playing games like Chasm and Dawn of the Ronin on our respective PS4s and Xbox Ones at some point, and have access to dozens of other games that might’ve only ever appeared on PC.

    6. Hm, that’s what I expected tbh but you can’t really blame them.
      Still not sure if I’ll get a PS4, seems more like I’m gonna skip this console generation altogether.

      Sorry man, I would love to go into more detail but… but there’s a new game on the marketplace called ApocZ, an open world sandbox survival game… for 69p (or $1 for you guys).

    7. Wow, never thought I’d see a DayZ-like on XBLIG, but if any developer could pull it off, it would be teams like Sick Kreations. I’ll have to log in and give that one a play later tonight.

      Unfortunately (or fortunately, if colors are your thing), you’ll have to put up with a review for Color 2 tomorrow, but maybe ApocZ will bring good news for us all.

    8. I’m sure ApocZ will be great but I wish those guys over there would make episode 2 for KGB. I’ve been sitting down and trying to finish a bunch of my Indie games and this is one that I finished yesterday. When I sat down and put my mind to it, unfortunately it ended up being really short but done very well considering how old it is.

    9. Perhaps when (and if) they move onto Xbox One development? That’s old school FPS on XBLIG, though, back when FPS was a rarity. They’ve learned a lot since then, but I wouldn’t mind seeing it revisited at some point.

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