It’s so dark, I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m cold, and… is that floor bread I see over there?!
That’s a pretty accurate representation of what it’s like to play Legend of Grimrock. This title is one that I feel many kinds of RPG gamers will enjoy as it features a range of interesting elements like puzzle solving, combat, exploration, survival, and a four person party in a rather different fashion than usual.
The first step in this adventure is all about selecting the four people who will make up your party of which you have a choice of the Fighter, the Rogue, and the Mage. You also need to select which two will be in the front row (the two who take damage from most of the fights) and who is in the back row (mostly casters or ranged attackers) which is a key part of your survival. Each class does have a capacity to be in either row, as a Rogue can fight on the front row, while a Mage could also fight on the front row, but close range weapons don’t work from the back row (like swords and axes) so any close range characters are best suited at the front. There is a spear you can get that attacks from the back but it’s effectively useless in later levels.
Once done you will be plunged into the unforgiving depths of the mountain you now call home.
For those new to RPGs or the casual gamers out there I would suggest going slow through the initial levels as there are literally secrets everywhere. There is a lot to find, there is a lot to do, and there is a lot of things hidden in plain sight that you’ll miss being centred on an objective or puzzle so explore and explore some more. You’re going to need all the help you can get.
One of the refreshing aspects of this title (if not more than a little punishing) is that there is content to be explored and puzzles to be solved and if you don’t your progress could quite easily be driven to a halt. There are hints and tips for most puzzles in the game in one form or another, though. That said most of the harder puzzles are for optional loot and some are not necessarily required to progress at all. Tied to this is how the game tracks how hungry each character is, which, while they won’t die if they’re completely starved, they also don’t regenerate health or energy and their attack power is halved. So food and inventory management is a must.
All of this creates an experience where you are going to need to think about what you’re doing and try to solve puzzles or combat encounters efficiently. It’s not a case that you need hundreds of hours of experience to finish the game but it asks that you think about what you’re doing, and that you explore, or at least look around, to get the best experience. You can very easily skip over many of the secrets and unique items to get to the end much quicker but you will have a much harder time for it.
I would also like to add that despite the claims of the game being quite short (it can be if you rush past everything as can most things) I have over 50 hours in it at the moment and I still have achievements to get. I was pleasantly surprised by this title as I wasn’t expecting much from it but it was a memorable and enjoyable experience.
Have a nice week all!