Genre: Indie, Simulation, Strategy
System: Steam (Windows)
Developers | Publishers: Juvly Worlds
Controller Support: Keyboard & Mouse
Price: US $14.44 | UK £12.14 | EU € 14,01
Release Date: April 5th, 2023
Review code used, with many thanks to Juvly Worlds.
Developed and published by Juvly Worlds, Grimgrad is a strategy survival game. In this combat-free simulation, you are tasked with building a Slavic town during the Middle Ages on a grid-based map.
Built a Slavic Settlement
Grimgrad’s twist to the formula is the addition of Slavic gods and folklore that can affect gameplay. Appease the gods, and you’ll be rewarded. But, on the other hand, defy them and see all kinds of random events strike your settlement.
Story Mode and Endless Mode
When you begin Grimgrad, you have a couple of options to choose from. First, a five-chapter story also acts as a tutorial, and there is an endless survival mode without specific goals. I started on the five-chapter story mode, and in each subsequent chapter, more gameplay opportunities opened up.
Also, the game itself becomes slightly more challenging. The tutorial keeps you on track, but I felt there was quite a bit of handholding from the tutorial, which is excellent for those players new to the genre. However, for experienced players like myself, I just wanted to get on with it and build.
The story in Gringrad is told in text-based still storyboards. As stories go, the storyline isn’t much different from the other survival simulation games I’ve played besides its Slavic theme. Something dire happens, and you have to rebuild seems to be the standard fare for survival games.
You witness the local village being burned down to the ground by the angry gods. Only young Jaromir, a direct descendent of the priestly line, manages to escape. Now Jaromir has to rebuild his village with the help of Semarglu, a fiery dog with wings, and protect the settlers and keep the gods happy.
Build a Settlement
The story mode/tutorial leads you through each step of building a settlement. From constructing a leaders tent, housing for the settlers, paths, food, and water supplies. Furthermore, you’ll construct all the usual resource buildings like woodcutters, stone masons, and even the squad post, with which you can regulate the flow of settlers on the paths.
As the settlement grows, you’ll build a weaving workshop to supply clothes and a honey factory. The settler’s houses upgrade, and soon you have a medieval town to run instead of a small settlement.
Hygiene and Health
In addition, hygiene and health also play an essential role. These are improved, for example, by barbers and corpse disposal facilities buildings. Diseases, hunger, and thirst will spoil your settlers’ life, and the Slavic gods’ wrath can bring their own problems you will have to deal with.
Usually, in games like this, the gods will be pleased or unhappy with your actions as you play. However, in Grimgard, I felt the mechanics of the Gods were very undeveloped. An info panel appears on the screen to say you have angered or made them happy, but that info box is the first and only indication that you have done so. The gameplay gets slightly more difficult for a time, and then just as suddenly, it reverts to normal.
While I played Grimgrad, I couldn’t help but be reminded about the game Pharaoh, as Grimgrad has some similarities in gameplay. For instance, when placing wells for water, the well has a sphere of influence around the lake so that it can draw groundwater effectively. Water carriers are then employed at the well to supply the surrounding houses. No water means no inhabitants, much like in Pharaoh. Also, I mentioned the squad posts earlier; again, they are similar to the roadblocks in Pharoah, which are used for the same purpose.
A few Niggles
Unfortunately, not all is well in Grimgrad. While some core gameplay mechanics are there, they need to be fleshed out; the game lacks content. For example, when I played the story mode, it didn’t seem to last long and was over pretty quickly. Leaving me with only the endless survival mode to play, as there isn’t much point in playing the story mode over again since the story doesn’t change. Hopefully, the developers will add more content to the game to extend the playtime.
Like most simulations game in the same vein, Grimgrad has different speed settings. At normal speed, settlers saunter very slowly; a snail could walk quicker. However, when you put the game at the third speed, which is meant to be quicker, they look like they are walking at a normal speed.
Visuals and Controls
Overall I like the look and design of the visuals of Grimgrad. The settlement grows from tents to medieval housing, with an active community. The UI works as it should, though a little more detail on the UI for the player to be able to find what they are looking for would be a good addition.
Also, I had a few issues with the text of the game. Occasionally, some of the info panels would have a different language on them that wasn’t English, meaning I couldn’t read those sections.
Grimgrad is shaping up to be an interesting survival simulation game. However, it still has a way to go before it feels like a fully developed game.
Between the UI needing work and the mechanics of the Gods not being implemented fully into the gameplay, Grimgrad is one to keep an eye on for the moment. Hopefully, given time, it will come out of the development oven properly cooked.
Final Verdict: I’m Not Sure