GRIME Review – This Game Rocks
Developed by Clover Bite and Spooky Doorway
Published by Akupara Games
Available on Google Stadia, PC, Mac
I love it when a game sheds all pretenses of realism. Just abandons all the things that we as humans recognize as normal. Such was it that GRIME caught my eye. Playing as a singularity on a stone body in a completely alien world. In the style of a Metroidvania and you’ve got a winning combo. This is my shit. I had to temper my expectations, lest I be let down by getting overhyped. Does GRIME live up to my expectations? Pretty much, yeah.
Like all great games, GRIME begins with the story of creation. Though I’m not sure if this is the creation of your character or the universe. Anyways two big stone humanoid things are fornicating in the ether and one thing leads to another and your character is born. Crawling in the dirt your character begins to take shape. Now you are… something. A guy with a black hole for a head. I think I’ll call him Grimey.
I must say, I did not have “stratified class society” on my GRIME bingo card. You begin the game down below in the rocky outskirts of some kind of kingdom. Grimey is smooth and eloquently carved, around him are rocky heirloom tomato-shaped folk, banned from the kingdom due to their imperfect form. One of the characters you meet befriends you, desiring entry to the kingdom, and willing to sacrifice his fellow stone to get in. This seems like mostly flair for the game, but I do appreciate that GRIME has more to the story than rock-man-fights-rock-creatures.
What sticks out first about GRIME is the visual style. With so much stone and earth hopping around, GRIME begs the question of whether this is still considered claymation. But more than that, the art style is incredible, blending the crumbling despair of Beksinski and the bizarreness of Dali. Massive ruins of stone colossi dot the background, stone busts the size of a building, and your character clambering up stone hands of god knows what. Suffice to say, it looks cool.
Similar to that of other Metroidvanias, in GRIME you start out a weak weakling and through bosses beaten and upgrades upgraded, end as a strong strongling. The 2D world of GRIME is massive and intricate and full of secrets that will leave you exploring the areas over and over. The weapons provided make for tremendous reliability due to the varied builds.
GRIME has a lot of interesting Bloodborne-style “living weapons.” They’re all satisfying to use and many have some weird special alt attack, such as stretching out like a limb to smack a foe (many others have traditional alt attacks, like stabbing twice or something). Unfortunately, you may need to play a few times to get the weapon you want. Unlike Souls games, which allow you to try out the weapon before you invest in the stats, in GRIME you must have the stats first before you can even hold them. And without the ability to respec your Grimer, once you have the stats for a weapon, there’s no going back. You can’t rebuild your strength character to wield dex weapons, and vice versa. Were I to ask for one change to the game, it would be to allow us to try before you buy.
Although the weapons are interesting, the armor, unfortunately, is not. GRIME has a wide selection of armor, and you can kit out your Grimer with all kinds of fun arms, legs, and chest pieces. Unfortunately, they do not affect your character’s stats at all. They’re purely for aesthetics. This certainly isn’t a bad thing, but I would have liked to have some interesting armor stats to contribute to more interesting and varied builds.
As far as gameplay goes, there is one thing I need to stress. You must be able to get good at parrying if you are going to play this game. I recognize that for some gamers, parrying is something to be avoided. For this game, it’s basically non-negotiable. Unlike a Souls game where you can simply dodge or block, GRIME has a system of parries that is critical for most aspects of gameplay progression. You consume enemies by parrying under the right circumstances, and these allow you to unlock perks. Not to mention the way to heal your character away from the ‘bonfire.’ So if you think you can do without heals or character upgrades, big ups to you. Otherwise, you have to get good at timing.
Beyond that caveat, GRIME has very straightforward but challenging gameplay. Combine that with a fascinating world to explore and amazing visuals and you’ve got yourself a great Metroidvania game. Other than a few issues regarding character builds, I struggle to find any problems with the game. If you enjoyed Bloodstained: Ritual of the Night and Hollow Knight, this is a game for you.