Review – Grime
Indie Metroidvania games are some of the best out there. They bring challenging and often time brutal gameplay in with some great level design, and often times unique mechanics as well. Although, there has been a slight oversaturation of the genre over the years. GRIME is a fantastic game that brings more than enough to the table to really stand out.
I’m not entirely sure what GRIME is about, to be brutally honest. A brief opening cutscene introduces you to this dark, grim world. You can talk to NPCs and read descriptions to get pieces of the story, but I never found myself engaging with this. Instead, I mostly skipped over dialogue or just ignoring NPCs if they didn’t offer anything of value.
GRIME is a 2D Metroidvania title that takes heavy inspiration from the Souls series and From Software games in general. It’s difficult. GRIME does strike a good balance between combat and exploration with some solid platforming. The world of GRIME is huge with plenty of variety in locations, ranging from the dark depths to gigantic and dangerous castles full of traps. Every location is full of secrets. It’s nothing that we haven’t seen before in games like Blasphemous, which is one of the best in the genre. However, GRIME does just enough to stick out.
Combat is your typical 2D souls like experience. You’ve got limited health resources, stamina, and enemies that can destroy you if you get overly confident at all. It’s challenging, but fair. In the case you die, and you will a lot, you won’t lose your Mass (basically souls), making it a much more forgiving experience overall. In fact, for the most part the difficulty curve is pretty good, introducing new and more challenging enemies at a steady pace.
Much like games like Sekiro, a focus has been put on parrying. Perfectly timing a block to stun or damage an enemy is crucial to success. GRIME takes this basic concept and pushes it as part of the game’s progression system, health regeneration, and more. In GRIME if your enemy’s health is in the red, this leaves them open to be absorbed on their next attack. Certain attacks cannot be parried and these are well telegraphed with the enemy flashing red, meaning you will need to dodge the attack instead.
Whenever you absorb enough of a single enemy type, you will unlock a trait that you can upgrade back at your checkpoints. If the absorb is a final blow you will gain breath, which is basically this game’s version of a healing resource. It’s a fantastic system that forces you to risk taking damage in order to regain health, whilst actively encouraging you to hunt down enemies for those sweet upgrades.
Then there’s also platforming, but there’s quite a lot of it which certainly won’t be to everybody’s liking. However it’s well done here. At the start it can be a little tedious, with simple platforming that rarely requires much effort, but it eventually moves away from that when you start gaining abilities that tailor more towards movement. Dash jumping will allow you to pass through certain objects which gives you access. Meanwhile, double jump and pull add another layer to it. There’s some interesting platforming and light puzzles that make use of these powers. Just remember to mark areas you can’t access on the map and revisit them once you got the required power.
Of course there are boss fights, and plenty of them at that. Each have some cool and unique designs and mechanics that make great use of GRIME’s core gameplay. Parrying, basic attacks, and even platforming are necessary to defeat them. The difficulty can be inconsistent, with some bosses being brutal and others being defeated on the first try or second try. The easier bosses just miss the full potential of their cooler designs, with slow and predictable movements, and plenty of room to make mistakes. Then you’ve got the more difficult bosses in the second half that are just wonderfully difficult yet fair once you figure out their attacks. Some of these bosses took me up to a dozen deaths before conquering them, and when I finally did it was all the more satisfying. Even the mini-bosses (usually marked with a red diamond) can be challenging, yet offer great rewards.
Visually, GRIME can range anywhere, from dull and uninspired to stunning and unique. Each of its many locations have a specific visual design and colour that helps make clear where you are at all times. The early dark and rocky areas are strangely designed and eerie with rock monsters. These areas do get fairly old fast, as they just look dull. However, once GRIME brings in more colour and uniquely designed NPCs, things get much more exciting. They showcase some stunning visual sights and lighting extending out into the 3D space, bringing depth to the world.
I don’t know what I was expecting from GRIME, but its unique absorbing mechanic, fast paced combat, and engaging platforming all come together. Whilst the genre of Souls-like Metroidvanias might be becoming oversaturated, GRIME does more than enough to be deserving of your attention.
GRIME‘s visual design won’t be for everyone, but there are occasionally some beautifully crafted areas I wish we saw more of.
A solid Metroidvania title with some unique mechanics that make progression fun.
Sound design doesn’t do much to stand-out, but it still does a decent enough job.
Fun Factor: 8.5
GRIME is an excellent Metroidvania title with gripping mechanics that’s well deserving of your attention.
Final Verdict: 8.0
GRIME is available now on PC, Xbox, and PlayStation.
Reviewed on PC with an RTX 2060, Ryzen 5 3600X and 16GB RAM .
A copy of GRIME was provided by the publisher.