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Gripper on Steam Deck Performance
Gripper is one of those games that truly stuns from the off. Everything from the fast-paced gameplay to the use of bright color pops on the Steam Deck’s 800p screen. It’s visually unique, and the closest comparison I’ve got is Into the Spider-Verse meets Tron.
For the most part, Gripper runs at a smooth 60 frames per second without any issues. There are the occasional frame drops, but they’re few and far between. What matters most is that when the game is going at 100 miles per hour, and you’re frantically careening to avoid obstacles, the game keeps up.
It is possible to push the graphics higher than “high” but the trade-off is a far less stable framerate. And given you’ll be running on the second-best graphical preset anyway, there’s no reason to sacrifice the fluidity, especially when every frame is needed. Don’t do it, in other words.
Gripper Steam Deck Best Settings
Gripper works out of the box with minimal fuss. Settings on “high” work exceptionally well and rarely drop frames.
Visually, “high” is the way you want to play. Gripper is such a luscious game that anything lower would feel like a disservice.
On the Steam Deck settings side of things, it’s worth dropping the TDP down to 10. The fan will shut up and there’s still enough power to get Gripper moving fluidly.
The battery drain, which comes in at 13.6 watts, is stellar too. You can easily pull around two hours and 30 minutes of usage before even needing to think about plugging back in.
I’ve included the settings for using Gripper in docked mode below, but to be honest, the game is so perfectly designed for handheld mode that I’d recommend sticking to that. It’s much easier to read the screen and react when the console is a few inches from your face. That’s not to say it’s unplayable in docked mode, and it looks great on the larger screen, but it does make an already tough-as-balls game all the more harder.
|Gripper (In-game Settings)|
|Steam Deck Settings (Quick Access Menu)|
|TDP: 10||Estimated Battery Life: 2 Hours 30 Minutes|
|Docked Mode Resolution: 1280×700||FSR: ON (Docked Mode)|
|GPU Usage: 80%||Temperature: 63 degrees|
|Battery Drain||13.6 watts|
|Fills the Entire Steam Deck Screen||Yes|
|Performance Rating: 4/5|
Bugs and Issues
I don’t have any major game-breaking bugs to report, but the difficulty curve really needs looking at. I’m a Binding of Isaac, Vampire Survivors, and Dark Souls player and I think Gripper is perhaps too difficult.
Boss fights are manageable to a degree, but the racing sections need looking at. Having to complete these sprawling sections in one go makes sense. It’s a racing roguelike, so that’s fine. But the starting health – which denotes how many times you can get hit before restarting the section – isn’t forgiving.
Now, I know how this works. The goal is for players to struggle before becoming overpowered. That’s how rogues do things. But Gripper has gone too far, and risks losing the player (and them refunding it) before they’ve seen what Gripper has to offer.
Even Super Meat Boy starts with simplicity before unleashing the true game, and it’d be nice if Gripper stuck more to this rule before expecting players to have lightning-fast reflexes.
Despite the steep learning curve based on player reflexes, I’ve had a blast with Gripper. Visually it’s impressive, and the concept of a racing roguelike feels fresh.
Gripper also excels in the performance department on Steam Deck, making it easy to recommend so long as you understand this is a game that’s going to punish you for being slow or, in my case, old.
Still, Gripper has that x-factor that makes you want to come back to it even after it’s made you quit in annoyance. It’s hard, for sure, but the more-ish nature and unique playstyle are enough to keep your attention.
All screenshots captured on Steam Deck. Review code provided by the publisher.