GRIMEby Mikhail Aug 5, 2021 | 1 Votes | 87 Played | 0 Reviews
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Metroidvania - a portmanteau of “Metroid” and “Castlevania” - is a subgenre of 2D action-adventure games featuring large sprawling maps and fast-paced, high-octane combat. In recent years, we’ve had many options, from the charming hand-drawn insect adventure Hollow Knight to the explosive Dead Cells.
Taking up the mantle of the games mentioned above is GRIME, a new Metroidvania adventure set in a world that was conceived in nightmares, and it looks hideously fantastic. It’s one of the more difficult games in the genre. Though we know using Dark Souls as a comparison is getting rather old, we can safely say it’s a Souls-like Metroidvania experience, perfect for players who desire a challenge.
Available on Steam today, will GRIME be something you’d want to dive into? Well, let’s take a look at what it brings:
GRIME is set in a nightmarish world full of ugly, deformed, and pitiful living creatures as hideous as the world they live in. Large, underground caverns are full of creepy rock formations, and there are even some with moving eyes embedded in them. It’s absolutely terrifying. There are earthen jars with hands, large limbs attached to pillars, and moving humanoid creatures with massive heads struggling to move around. Petrified beings litter the world, and it feels that if you crush them into powder, you’d be doing them a favor.
Your character, who has a black hole for a head, is brought into existence after an unusual material collapses. Without going deep into spoiler territory, the opening cutscene reveals two beings sharing some sort of energy through their breaths, and you’ll be left to wonder what in the world is happening. In addition, you’ll discover that most of the inhabitants are consciously living, like Yon, who somehow has taken a liking to you and considers you a well-chiseled being.
Playing GRIME involves moving around a massive world and engaging in brutal, earth-shattering, and boulder-breaking battles against its inhabitants. Fights are fast, but there are many nuances to combat. You’ll first be taught how to absorb enemies, which will take some of their traits for future progression while reducing their HP or immediately killing them. Getting this done is quite tricky since you have to time it right and activate the ability when an attack is about to land, making it feel like “Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice” parry. Much like Souls games, you’ll have to memorize and get used to enemy movement patterns. Apart from taking their properties, absorbing enemies also serves the purpose of filling a gauge that, when full, restores your health upon activation.
Once you reach a certain point in GRIME, you’ll receive your first weapons, and these take the form of a large ax, dual-wield daggers, and a heavy mace. From there, you’ll be able to determine the weapon type you’re comfortable with, which will play a role in your playstyle in the future. And oh, some of the weapons are alive - the mace screams every time you perform a special attack, while there’s an ax that is essentially a jaw with teeth. Apart from equipped weapons, you’ll also have access to items like a nail you can throw at enemies or some spell that surrounds you in debris.
Combat feels fast, frantic, and incredibly satisfying, especially when you hear the boulders and earthy bodies break. Some enemies are slow yet pick up the pace when they lunge at you, which is why dodging and timing absorption are crucial to success. However, there are undodgeable attacks (which glow in red) - the best way to deal with them is to keep your distance. This comes into play when fighting many of the grotesque bosses that provide a massive hurdle.
GRIME’S world, while incredibly massive, is relatively straightforward, which means you can navigate quite easily. You can dash through traps, mount and scale climbable pillars, and find hidden and barely-illuminate areas with enemies and objects to absorb. You’ll also encounter obelisks that serve as your waypoint and a place where you can upgrade your character and learn new abilities. Moreover, whenever you due, Progression uses points you’ve gathered after taking out enemies. Upgradeable stats include Health, Resonance, Strength, Force, and Dexterity.
A complete contrast to its brutal and unforgiving world and gameplay, GRIME’s user interface and controls are simple, smooth, and intuitive. It fully supports playing on a controller, which means you can crush enemies using a Dualshock 4. You can also interchange weapons with a press of a button.
We can rave all we want about the combat, but GRIME’s world is what will make you stay. The tortured world, while horrifyingly grotesque and something you’d never want to be in your nightmares, is a privilege to explore. Uncovering mysteries and the lore under every rock (literally) is a delightful experience. Its overall atmosphere evokes fear and terror, and it captures the entire essence of a dystopian world overflowing with suffering and despair.
The same can be said about the audio elements. The wind traversing through expansive caverns and deserts and the groans of the suffering inhabitants are unsettling. Meanwhile, the sound of cracking rocks and shattering objects makes the whole ordeal rather satisfying.
Overall, it’s not farfetched to say GRIME may well be one of those under-the-radar games that will explode in popularity. It lives up to its famous peers and provides a frighteningly satisfying Metroidvania experience that excels in almost all aspects.
GRIME Blogby Mikhail Aug 6, 2021