Grimshade is an action role-playing game that focuses on a tactical turn-style battle system. The game was released on 26th March 2019. It was developed by TALEROCK and published by Asterion Games, and it is only available to play on PC via Steam. TALEROCK created a Kickstarter page to help bring their dream of Grimshade to a reality that has had over 1,000 backers.
The Story of Grimshade
Grimshade tells the tale of multiple different characters from completely different backgrounds that all have one goal: They band together because they want to find out what happened to them. As these characters come together, events begin unfolding all around them, such as a powerful army from a neighbouring kingdom arriving at their doorstep. You will have to fight off this army along with a variety of dark and dreadful monsters. The monsters have recently dramatically increased in number and have begun to journey out of a nearby forest to cause some havoc amongst the human populace.
A majority of the main characters have special powers, and this is normally because their equipment has pieces of Ether built into them, which is a common material that can be used for good or evil. One of the characters, Kiba, is naturally gifted with mysterious powers because he can manipulate Ether. Other than Kiba’s natural power, and gaining powers through equipment, you can upgrade your characters to give them extra powers through using Ether. The main characters will need these powers against the monsters in the world of Grimshade, which are themselves creations of Dark Ether.
Grimshade allows players to partially choose their own path. You can make decisions throughout the game that will determine whether you follow a path of Light or Dark. You can choose to help people or allow them to die. If you choose to help people, this will probably mean a lot more fighting. The upside to this is that you will gain a lot more loot, like gold and materials to upgrade your characters and get better equipment.
Grimshade offers you the chance to test your strategic abilities. You will need to be tactical and plan out your moves against the enemy’s moves. Each battle is like a game of chess. It also gives you the opportunity to try out each character’s different skills. If you enjoy turn-based-styled combat, then this is the game for you. Admittedly, it can feel quite slow and repetitive because you feel like you are just waiting around a lot of the time for the enemies to have their turn, though this can be avoided by increasing the battle speed.
The biggest issue with Grimshade is that there are no in-game settings or options for the text size. The tutorial is just an extremely small box that appears in the top-right of the screen every time it has a helpful tip. It rarely makes sense and is too overly complicated. The text size in that box is miniscule, and there are no settings in the game to change this. It would have been nice to be able to have a function where you can enlarge these boxes; just a simple double-click on the box to bring it onto the screen properly would have been extremely helpful.
The text size for the conversations between characters is also very small. The box itself covers nearly half the screen, but the text inside is unreadable the majority of the time. I am sure there are tech wizards out there that can manipulate their computer to stop this from being an issue, but I am not one of those people. There are no voice-overs for the characters, do due to the issue of the small text size, I wasn’t really sure what was going on between the characters most of the time. The cutscenes within the game were the only thing that I had to help me understand what was happening, and even these have no spoken dialogue, with the only audio provided being background music.
Grimshade offers players an extremely beautiful variety of individual characters. This is definitely what I like most about the game. The characters mainly consist of real life animals that have been converted into cartoon-style characters. They are all quite adorable and extremely creative. Other characters consist of extremely handsome humans and innocent adolescents. Grimshade is a very dark game that has moments of having borderline depressing surroundings. Having said that, there are some areas of the game that can be bright and colourful.
Another thing I like about Grimshade is how simple the gameplay and story are. As I have mentioned, the tutorials or tips can be overly complicated and hard to read, but that didn’t stop me from getting a basic understanding of what was going on. As for the gameplay, I found it very easy to grasp. I am pretty confident that that whole game could be played with just the mouse. The powers and skills that each character has are not assigned to any of the keyboard numbers or letters. These are just a click away to utilise.
There are some aspects of Grimshade that I have really enjoyed like the characters, utilising their different abilities and skills, and the game’s creativity. That being said, the game can be very slow to get into and can feel like hard work. There are some obvious issues that I have already mentioned, namely the inability to change the in-game settings, but I like the fact that many of the game’s features are quite simple. The characters are great, but I feel like I would have enjoyed the proceedings more if voice-overs were added to make the characters more distinctive and provide them with more individuality. The combat can feel repetitive, and there is quite a bit of waiting around, although this can be fixed by changing the battle speed.
Publisher: Asterion Games
Release Date: 26th March 2019