Developer: Almost Human
As a huge fan of old school dungeon crawlers, I’ve played my fair share of such titles as the Baldur’s Gate series, Dungeon Master, Planescape Torment, Titan Quest, Diablo, and Ultima to name a few. Even recent releases such as The Quest RPG and Torchlight have managed to live up to the good old days of dungeon exploration and character development. Enter indie developer Almost Human’s new take on an old genre, Legend of Grimrock.
“Dungeon crawlers”, a name given to a specific style of game that was designed more to challenge mentally than impress visually, have managed to keep a niche group of gamers (myself included) interested for decades now, and with bigger budget behemoths like The Elder Scrolls and Diablo franchises taking off like wildfire, there is no end in sight.
Legend of Grimrock carries the proverbial torch onward with mostly satisfying results, and while not perfect, it still manages to impress and excite. Choosing between human, minotaur, lizardman or insectoid as your character, you are cast as a prisoner atop the dreaded Mount Grimrock, with three other criminals who share in your plight. If you can manage to fight your way off of the mountain, you may gain your freedom back. That’s it…that’s the story. I was hoping for a bit more, maybe some back story or a better fleshing out of character histories, but oh well, that’s what it is. Technically, once the game begins you won’t really care anymore, but it does chip away at the immersion just a bit when there is really nothing tying you to your character, story-wise.
Do you like puzzles with your dungeon crawlers? Get ready…Mount Grimrock is full of them, and some will make you want to punch your monitor. You will need to pay attention in Legend of Grimrock, and occasionally think outside of the box more than once to proceed onward during your adventure. Traps are everywhere, as are monsters and battles! The combat system, which at first may seem rudimentary, serves as a loyal follower to it’s older RPG brothers. Attack, use spells, dodge, block. It’s all here, and pretty intuitive once you get it down. The rune-based spell system is cool too, and offers a lot of freedom with how you fight your battles, provided you have the right scrolls which are found throughout the dungeons.
Graphically, Legend of Grimrock looks fantastic for its genre. As one other reviewer put it, it is nice to see such an old style of game get such a great graphical treatment. Everything looks dark and dank, as it should, although my only complaint would be the somewhat repetitive textures used throughout the dungeons, the result being often similar surroundings without much diversity.
If you are looking for a deep and challenging dungeon crawler that will test your skills and your patience, look no further (for now), Legend of Grimrock is your game. This isn’t something you can pick up and play for a few minutes at a time; it’s a long, engaging, and well crafted experience! For around 14 bucks, it’s a total steal, so try it out. Cheers.
Fun Factor: 9 – Dungeon crawl! Great Puzzles (although sometimes hair-pulling), Great combat
Graphics: 8 – Awesome new paint on an old fence! Repetitive textures hurt a little
Sound: 9 – Great environmental effects make for an immersive sound scape!
Control: 8.5 – Typical first-person dungeon crawl experience: left, right, forward, back….
Lasting Appeal: 9 – A hard, but satisfying experience throughout, and plenty of reasons to come back again and again.