Monday 24 April 2023

GrimGrimoire OnceMore Review (Switch)

It’s been a long time since GrimGrimoire first appeared on the PS2. It was always seen as somewhat of a unique strategy curio and even now there is very little else out there like it. Imagine a sort of game of witchcraft-based tug of war set across a 2D, side on, plane and mixed with a touch of classic RTS’ such as Dune and you are kind of getting there.

GrimGrimoire always looked beautiful, and nothing has changed in this new version. Now in HD, the artwork and creatures look absolutely gorgeous. Individual creatures and elements of the levels are incredibly detailed and some of the best looking you’ll find. Unfortunately, the levels themselves remain somewhat bland throughout with the multi-tiered battlefields changing little from level to level aside from enemies and portal placements.

In terms of how the game operates it’s a fairly simple premise with a large amount of nuance and tinkering. It has some standard RTS elements – for instance you’ll start each round sending out creatures to gather magic from crystals much in the same way as you would have sent workers out to collect spice all those years ago in Dune. This can then be turned into different creatures or used to upgrade your portals. Portals are used to someone the various familiars under your control. These are created from runes which come in various flavours such as necromancy or glamour with each allowing different creatures to be summoned.

Once you’ve got your production line running it becomes a matter of building your defences around your portals while also sending out troops to take down your opponents. Most levels end by either holding out for a certain amount of time or eradicating your enemy and the key is working out which of your creatures are best suited to defeating your opponents. The tug of war as troops pile up together can often seem a bit like a war of attrition but the games rule set is consistent so once you understand how things work it does make sense. It’s also not the longest or toughest game of this type so non-veterans need not be too intimidated.

Something which was tricky back on the PS2 was how the game actually controlled. The lack of mouse input means you are using a controller to move the cursor around the screen in order to select things. There are shortcut combinations of buttons which allow you to select groups but the game never quite gets over its awkwardness in this respect. What is a shame is that no touch screen controls have been implanted in handheld mode which seemed like an ideal way to effectively remove the games biggest flaw. However, as unnatural as it can seem at times the controls rarely become a problem to a point that it massively effects what is happening on the battlefield and everything is manageable.

Overall, GrimGrimoire Once More remains a unique and original take on the genre. The side on view has rarely been replicated and it plays unlike pretty much anything else. We are glad that the time has been taken to bring it to a new console as it was cruelly overlooked on its PS2 release. If you are looking for something different or want to try a more original take on the RTS game then this is well worth getting into and it hasn’t aged at all since its original release.

Overall 7/10

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