To Grimrock, or not to Grimrock, that is today’s question. Almost Human Games has done what only an indie developer could do: resurrect a long-forgotten sub-genre that has long since morphed into games like Fallout 3 and Dragon Age. Now, similar to what Nintendo did with New Super Mario Bros. Wii, Almost Human Games has gone back to the original grid-based movement of old dungeon crawling games and added their own unique touches to the combat. For example, rather than being turn-based, the combat happens in real time. Also, spells must be created in the heat of battle by touching the right combination of runes.
Legend of Grimrock (PC)
Developer: Almost Human Games
Publisher: Almost Human Games
Metacritic currently has a set of reviews ranging from a 73 to a 95, which is pretty great. Let’s take a look at some of the individual reviews:
Game Informer (“Old And New Meet With Mixed Results“):
The developers hit their target of marrying old-school gameplay and puzzle solving with modern production values and UI conventions, but a few missteps in combat and puzzle design keep Legend of Grimrock from attaining the heights of the classics that inspired it.
Game Informer’s main gripes with the game seem to be that puzzles often require players to hunt around for small switches scattered throughout the dungeons, though the puzzles themselves are apparently very enjoyable. The monsters of the game, at mid-point, become tough enough that players may have to “cheat” the AI, forcing monsters to walk around pillars–thus preventing them from facing you and attacking. (score: 73)
IGN (“Classic dungeon crawling gets a sexy facelift in this awesome old-school RPG“):
Underneath its gorgeous sheen and striking atmosphere, Legend of Grimrock is an unapologetic nod to PC gaming’s earlier days. Playing it reawakens those same feelings of excitement I had back when I got into early dungeon crawler RPGs for the first time. There’s something magical about the skillful way the dev team takes such antiquated game design and makes it feel new and fun again, pushing all the right nostalgia buttons in the process. But more importantly, everything about this well-crafted romp through deadly dungeons comes together to pull you into its mysterious realm and hold on.
IGN seemed to enjoy the balance between exciting combat and thought-provoking puzzles. There is enough depth in the character customization to keep things interesting, but not so much that it stunts the start of your adventure. Shadows and lighting, the scurrying of unknown creatures in the distance, mysterious earthquakes, and strange dreams amount to an intriguing atmosphere. (score: 8.5)
Destructoid (“Review: Legend of Grimrock“):
I have to give Almost Human a lot of credit. The level design, enemy placement, and especially the puzzles are all, by and large, wonderfully crafted. There are a few instances where the “traps” seem more unfair than clever, but that hardly tarnishes what is otherwise a terrific experience. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a modern game like Legend of Grimrock any time soon, but with a game of this quality, you won’t need one.
Destructoid liked that the story wasn’t hand-fed to players through cutscenes, and that players will connect the dots themselves during their dungeon crawling experience. The battle system’s grid-based movement is a little odd at first, but you’ll get used to it, and it’s necessary because a lot of the puzzles wouldn’t work if it didn’t have this system of movement. The puzzles were the most enjoyable aspect of the game, and they’re very satisfying. There are some frustrating moments when players will enter a room, not knowing where enemies will come from, and get mauled to death. These moments seemed unfair, as if it would be near impossible to survive on the first try. Over all though, they enjoyed the story, puzzles, combat and environments of the game. (score: 9.5)
Click here to view all of the Metacritic scores for Legend of Grimrock.
Here’s the launch trailer for Legend of Grimrock: