|Platforms||Android 4.1+; iOS|
Finally a game that doesn’t hold you by your hand. No, it tears it off and feeds it to the ghouls if you’re not careful. Grim Soul, everybody. Are you ready for it?
The developer chose really precise words to describe this title: dark, fantasy and survival. They also imply that this is a souls-like genre game. And it really is. You start off barefoot, naked and weak in a grim and a dark forest. Right from the beginning you and your character are asking the same question: will you make it through the night? No tutorial, no narrator, no fancy cut scenes which explain what to do. A piece of paper, a letter which tells you to build a raven cage, in order to receive new letters, which could be interpreted as loose instructions. Even that would be an overstatement. But how to make a raven cage, and where, and using what? It’s up to you to find out. There is one more thing you need to find out for yourself. I don’t want to spoil it. Does this game feature permadeath?
Very neat and practical UI helps you get around in an unknown environment. You move using the virtual D-pad on your left, and interact with the world using the command buttons on your right. At the bottom of your screen are the crafting menu and the letters. So, the first thing you’ll want to do is to gather materials to create tools like a wooden ax or a pickaxe, to gather even more materials to make a home for you. If you’re lucky, you may run into a sword to fight enemies easier, because using anything else is a real struggle. But now comes the tricky part! All of your gear, as well as your tools and your weapons are disposable. So, after using up that sword you ran into, you’re in trouble! Oh yeah, and if you run out of health, food or water, you’re dead too.
The way crafting is done in this game is quite interesting. After each level, or a successful quest (you get those in the raven letters) you’ll get a certain number of crafting points. You spend those to learn to craft new things, starting from various tools to different type of clothes, gear, and structures in your home. For example a well, from which you can fill your flasks and never die of thirst again! Keep in mind that this is an MMO game, instanced though, but you can run into other players, besides all kinds of monsters and beasts. Luckily, combat (and all other actions – interacting, gathering…) isn’t complicated at all. Just tap or hold your weapon button while the enemy is nearby, and your character will do the rest. Use energy to leave your neighborhood and look for more daring adventures, which pay off good, in loot and experience.
This game is the real deal when it comes to experiencing the grim and eerie tension of dark fantasy titles. Spooky environment, enemies suddenly appearing, tough conditions, and music, especially the music. Oh boy, don’t get me started on the music. Besides from the color palette and the light setting, I feel the developers of this gem borrowed some inspiration from the creators of the first two Diablo installments. Maybe some out of Path of Exile, Dark Souls and the Witcher series too. Other than that, the game feels incredibly responsive, smooth and the sound effects are on the spot. Oddly enough, those are some high quality graphics, so I may add I was surprised to see it go so well on my relatively old phone. Great optimization right there!
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