Humble Indie Bundle 7 ReviewGuest_Jim_* - January 2, 2013
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Legend of Grimrock Review:
Before going too far with this I want to admit that I have looked into purchasing Legend of Grimrock previously and at the time, based on what I saw and read of it, was not interested. Now that I have played it though, things may have changed. What? You didn't really think I was just going to say what I feel in the first paragraph, did you?
Legend of Grimrock is a curious amalgamation of genres as a First-Person Role-Playing- Point-and-Click Game with a decidedly old school feel to it. I actually appreciate this old school feeling as the classic RPG Castle of the Winds still has a place in my heart (though sadly not on my computer as it cannot run a 16-bit program). Immediately upon starting a game I am reminded of CotW by the character creation screen. Here you are able to control race, class, portrait, apportion free stat points, select skills, and choose traits for your characters. Yes, characters because you crawl through this dungeon as a band of four prisoners who remain in a square formation throughout the game. Placement within the square is easily changed at any time.
Once in Grimrock your group will explore its grid-like map one square at a time and never along a diagonal. You are able to look in non-cardinal directions, but that is all you're able to do off the axes. This movement works though. It does mean you go a little slower than if the movement was continuous, but you do not want to miss anything in the dungeon, as secret rooms hide valuable gear. One thing worth noting about the map and the entire environment though, is that it seems to have been made from only a limited number of elements. Walls, doors, and more all look the same because they often are, though maybe with some dirt or plant life on them; at least in the early levels. There may be more variation later on, but even then, I'm fine with the same elements being used so long as the game itself is solid.
Combat is a little awkward but you get used to it quickly enough. Due to the formation of your company only the two characters in the front are able to use melee attacks, while those in the rear must rely on ranged weapons, reach weapons, and spells to deal any damage. To have a specific character attack, you have to click on the weapon you want them to use, which is somewhat cumbersome as you must move the cursor to the different weapons to initiate different attacks. Also there are cooldowns for the attacks, even the melee ones, so you will be moving the cursor back and forth a lot. Fortunately you opponents also have a cool own on their attacks, so you are going to be attacking more than they are. Still, that does not prevent waiting for on cooldown from being annoying. Overall though, you do get used to it.
After combat you must rest to heal, but you can wake up before your party is completely healed. In fact you will not automatically wake up when you are at full health; you must wake yourself up. You also have to feed yourself because hunger is one of the game's mechanics. You do have plenty of room for food and loot though as each character has their own inventory, which helps with sorting.
The soundtrack is a little hard to discuss simply because it is just the theme music that plays at the main menu. There is no music in-game, just sound effects for a dungeon buried deep in a mountain and your own actions. Makes sense though because what are the chances an orchestra has been trapped in Grimrock with its instruments?
Does Legend of Grimrock make a good excuse for purchasing the bundle? Actually, yes. I would recommend this game to anyone who is nostalgic for the classic RPG video games they used to play. It has some new twists to it but the classic feeling is still strong. There is some replayability as you hunt for all the secrets and try different party configurations. Also there is a map editor I have not explored yet which could add hours of gameplay, depending on how you take advantage of it. Even if you only play it once, the fight to escape Grimrock while keeping your party alive is a fun one.