Indie Review: Grimind
Grimind is a 2D horror platformer created by Paweł Mogiła, a solo developer who worked on the project for three and a half years. Inspired by Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Grimind aims to both challenge and frighten its players. How well does it succeed? Well, as usual you'll have to read on to find out.
- Worth The Time?No, overall, it unfortunately isn't.
- Things LovedThe dark and uninviting atmosphere, the creative puzzles, the intensity of the enemies, the satisfying length of the game.
- Things HatedThe controls can often be really clunky, the visuals are underwhelming and ugly at times, the animations are repetitive and lack polish, the dark environments can become a hindrance to progress rather than a tool to create atmosphere, the game's difficulty is inconsistent, the text pop-ups for the narrative can break immersion, it stops being entertaining.
- RecommendationI'd definitely encourage you to at least try the demo, but sadly I can't really recommend purchasing the game. It just doesn't feel worth the price tag.
- Name: Grimind
- Genre: Platformer, Horror
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: N/A
- Platforms: PC
- Developer: Pawel Mogila
- Publisher: Pawel Mogila
- Price: R90
- Reviewed On: PC
You can buy the full game or download the demo here.
Grimind is a 2D horror puzzle platformer created by Paweł Mogiła, a solo developer who worked on the project for three and a half years. Inspired by Amnesia: The Dark Descent, Grimind aims to both challenge and frighten its players. In the game you play as a weird little creature trapped inside a dark world that he needs to escape from. He has no idea who he is, or where he is, and the only thing he knows is that there are monsters in this world trying to kill him. While the concept of Grimind is indeed intriguing, especially its choice of genre, unfortunately the result is a game that isn’t as memorable as it should be, and neither is it entertaining enough to keep you playing. It’s upsetting given the effort that was put into it, but all that counts is the result, so let’s get started with this title.
The game immediately impresses and annoys from its early stages already. For one thing, the dark and uninviting atmosphere is very well created, and the game does well to make you feel uncomfortable and to get you immersed. On the flip side, the lead character narrates throughout the game, and instead of driving the story forward and allowing you to get into the mind of the protagonist as was intended by the developer, the text pop-ups do more to break immersion than anything else. For one thing, the character doesn’t give us a whole lot of insight or thoughts to swallow, and mostly asks basic questions or makes redundant statements that don’t really add to the narrative. Secondly, the white text starkly contrasts to the pitch black and darkly coloured environments, which makes them distracting.
The gameplay feels like your standard platformer, but Grimind is focused almost entirely on physics-based puzzles. You’ll use WASD to move, the mouse to aim your reticule, left click to grab onto objects and right click to throw them. On paper the controls appear to be sound, but sadly they are often extremely clunky, and I found myself failing many time-strict sections due to being unable to drag or throw an object where I wanted it. It just doesn’t work well enough, and it too often becomes a wrestling match with the controls, which is irritating. I applaud some of the game’s more creative puzzles, and it can be quite rewarding to figure out the solutions to them. However, two major problems plague progression, and one of them is that the game’s difficulty is very inconsistent. Some solutions even later in the game are very obvious, while others will leave you completely baffled and repeatedly failing without a clue. Secondly, even the environment acts against you, because some pathways are hidden within the black backgrounds, but they can be hard to see as they only light up when you find them, so often you’ll be attempting to fling yourself at walls and the ceiling hoping to open up the way forward.
Grimind can become tedious with its repetitive levels, unbalanced difficulty and frustrating controls, and unfortunately this can result it ceasing to be entertaining after a while. It just starts to feel like a chore rather than an immersive and fun experience. This is upsetting because the game actually has a satisfactory length, offering fifteen chapters that are fairly long, so there definitely was effort on the developer’s part to make the game feel worth the purchase. Another reason the game is disappointing is because the horror element just doesn’t translate well, especially because of the design of the enemies. Getting chased can feel intense, but bad animation and visual design makes Grimind lack the fear, brutality and sense of horror you get from death or danger. To make the point, Limbo expertly achieves this as well as successfully uses darkness and its black colour scheme to create atmosphere. Perhaps some may see the comparison as unfair given the differences in budget and stature, but many of Grimind’s issues arise from a lack of polish and flaws in both game and artistic design.
A great deal of blame can be put to the game’s visuals and art direction. It’s pitch black and at times, in addition to potentially hindering progress, it almost seems to hide the environment rather than do well to create an atmosphere. Overall though, the visuals are underwhelming and can be unpleasant to look at in many sections of the game. Animations are repetitive and lack polish, and this is evident from the main character having single, primitive animations for running, jumping and swimming. Despite the game’s offering of some graphical settings like V-sync, multisampling and resolution options, the game overall looks very low-res, and isn’t as artistic as it should be. Another area where the visuals let the game down is with the main enemies. While their sound effects are disturbing and do very well to intimidate, their actual appearance looks like something created in paint, and the result is that rather than being old-school it comes across as cheap. Unfortunate, but that’s really what it feels like.
In the end, while Grimind has an intriguing concept, it unfortunately is a very disappointing game, and after a while its flaws just result in it not being very enjoyable to play. While I will encourage you to at least try out the demo, sadly I can’t really recommend purchasing this game because it just doesn’t feel worth it, and for the same price, or dare I say no cost at all, you can do much better.