Review: Legend of Grimrock

May 3, 2012

There are several geniuses working at Legend of Grimrock developer Almost Human. The first genius is the one who said, “let’s make a new dungeon crawler.” And all the folks who helped actually pull it off are all geniuses as well. If you’ve ever played Dungeon Master (developed by Interplay), you’ll absolutely love Grimrock. It’s effectively a remake of classic crawlers such as Dungeon Master, Eye of the Beholder, and Ultima Underworld. This genre of gaming completely disappeared after the 90’s. What came after were games like Daggerfall and Diablo where developers embraced big gains in technology to increase the player interactivity in games. Grimrock may not be the first in a series of dungeon crawlers, but it helps to remind us of our roots.

Story: 4 prisoners are sent to Mount Grimrock for one purpose: to die. We don’t know why, but we must make our way to the bottom of the dungeon. Our only guide is a disembodied voice which knows a great deal about Mount Grimrock. As you move further and further down the plot thickens until the group is asked to reconstruct a machine. The rest would be a spoiler 🙂

Fidelity: In a dungeon crawler, graphics and sound are not the reason for playing. Like many RPGs, it’s more important to have quality, balanced gameplay. But it’s not difficult to notice how good Grimrock looks. Remember, this is the first of it’s kind in at least 15 years. Naturally, technology has advanced and this is the best looking game in the genre. Screen transitions are smooth and character models are well detailed.

Gameplay: This is where the rubber hits the road. Grimrock completely emulates the dungeon aspects of the genre. You move on tiles either forward, backward, left or right. While combat is critical, progress is hindered by many complex puzzles. Everything from pressure plates to special keys and portals. The more difficult the puzzle, the sweeter the reward: cool gear such as weapons and armor.

Closing: Legend of Grimrock breathes new life into an old genre. It’s fun and has plenty of replay value. The future capabilities are great as well. Moders can create new dungeons, characters, and items. For $14.99, this is a steal.