Rate this Review : Legend of Grimrock
Genre: RPG/Indie, System : PC, Available : Downloadable
Developer : Almost Human Ltd. Publisher : Almost Human Ltd.
The Legend of Grimrock is a game largely based on the classic old school elements of true dungeon crawling. You control a group of slightly dirty prisoners who have been pardoned for their crimes but for this pardon the group have to traverse Grimrock(Cue Dramatic Music). Grimrock just happens to be however, not a very nice place. A dungeon built into a mountain filled with traps, puzzles and a weird array of monsters who haven't been fed since the last unlucky lot of prisoners to enter.
If one has played games such as Dungeon Master or Stonekeep then you will feel right at home with this game. For those of you who haven't played a dungeon crawler before think first person view Dungeons and Dragons. The player can choose from a preset group of prisoners or make up their own from 4 different races, each with their own pros and cons. The RPG system is simple and elegant, it doesn't radically move away from warrior, mage and rogue stereotypes, but it works. Movement and combat all take place in the grid built dungeon, which means that your party moves one block at a time. Combat happens in real time and it takes a while to get used to the somewhat awkward controls. Although the monsters' AI makes some enemies react differently in terms of their movements, most of the time one can simply backtrack their path and hit the enemy, avoiding their attacks. This allows for a somewhat exploitive combat system and your party never really feels like they are in any danger.
The loot is preset however and patterns soon start to emerge as to what you will find next. Mace->dagger->sword->axe->mace->dagger and so on. There is no time limit for completing the dungeon but characters do get hungry and have to munch down on stale bread or baked beetles(Luxury!). However the game is pretty generous when it comes to foods so unless your party is made up of 4 minotaur's you won't really starve to death.
The graphics are quite stunning even if one sees the same set of never ending wall textures over and over again. A lot of effort has gone into the monster design and the spell effects feel powerful when used. The one downside due to the limited budget(made by just 4 people!), is that the dungeon doesn't feel as wondrous as it could be. All the rooms look the same and feel the same and you never really get the "wow" factor exploring it. The puzzles on the other hand are sneaky and evil(the best kind), effort has to be put in to figure them out. It is a massive improvement over The Elder scrolls : Skyrim puzzles for example when you simply just have to turn a stone around. For me the biggest problem of the game is I actually got motion sickness. Looking for a tiny button on every single piece of wall in order to find secrets wasn't that great for my health or eyesight.
With all that said The legend of Grimrock is a very decent game. It's so nice to see a game live up to the expectations and goals it sets for itself and it does good on reliving the dungeon crawl experience. The few problems are easy to overlook, and if there is a decent map building editor released, remakes of the old school games is very likely to happen. Epic_Bubble(Aka Simon Sleepy Rorke)