Grimm

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Grimm, Episode 1 on Steam

MSRP: Free, additional episodes available for $0.99 each or in seasons for $3.99 / 7-8

Platforms: Windows

Release: 1/6/14


Bear with me while I meander a little, ok?

Most of the time, I have no clue who the designers are that are putting together the games that I love, but through the years, I’ve learned a few names, and actively sought out more of their work.   Sid Meier is going to give me a pretty solid strategy game every time.  Will Wright is the king of the sim-dom. Peter Molyneaux is going to reach for the skies every time, and usually end up releasing something insanely buggy but kind of amazing.  And American McGee is going to bring the darkness.

The first American McGee game I can remember playing was American McGee’s Alice, which sadly seems to be completely unavailable for (legal) digital download anywhere, because 15 year old graphics notwithstanding, I would play the hell out of that game again. I mean, watch this trailer and tell me you don’t want to dive into this game.

Maybe now you can see why I’d get all excited to American McGee’s take on a whole mess of classic fairy tales, and maybe you’ll also understand why I was so thoroughly disappointed by the entire endeavor.

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You play as Grimm, and it’s your job to darken up the fairy tales.  Unfortunately, there’s very little game play to it – everything you walk near gets dark. So you run around in circles until the your current section of the fairy tale gets dark enough – you have a bar on the top of your screen that tracks your progress.  Of course, there are happy characters cleaning up after you, but really, this is only the most minor of impediments.

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When you reach the appropriate level of ick, you proceed to the gate area for the next section and butt stomp it. I wish I were kidding.  Press space, then the right mouse button, and you crash down, butt first, on the obstacle and open up the next section of the map.  After you do this several times, you’re “rewarded” with a short platforming challenge, and then you move on to the next scene of the episode.

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I’m at a loss to explain all the positive ratings on Steam, but it’s more than possible that I, as someone who doesn’t find peeing on things particularly amusing, am not the target audience for Grimm.  Mostly, I’m disappointed because this game could have been really good if (a) a little more attention was given to how it plays and (b) if there’d been more of a dark & creepy focus instead of just a grimy, scatological one.

(and yes, you can pee on things, so if that amuses you, note that it is an important enough game element to make it into the tutorial)

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While I would firmly put Grimm into the “not for me” category (which is unfortunate, since I bought the entire 26 episodes based on American McGee’s name alone), it has been pretty well received. The first episode, “A Boy Learns What Fear Is” is available free, with other episodes available to purchase individually or in “seasons”.  I’m going to stick with the Alice in Wonderland adaptations.

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