I’ve had my eye on Grimoire Groves for a while and was delighted to try the available demo from Steam! Grimoire Groves sets out to give a dungeon crawler experience, but in a non-violent way; the vibes are completely different from the grimy, bloody scenes usually associated with “dungeon crawler”. The protagonist is a young witch determined to save the forest through the power of magical gardening!
It doesn’t take long to see that this game plans to have lots of content. Just beyond where you get control of your character, you can find plenty of garden plots, several portals that will lead to different types of levels, and a hub where you’ll unlock spells plus, decide which ones map to which button. It all looks very well-planned and gives a sense that the full game is almost ready.
Speaking of looks, everything is gorgeous! I spent much time just walking around staring at the pretty shapes and colours. The visuals remind me of Ooblets, Calico, & Cat Cafe Manager. The characters feel immediately interesting, the creatures are so charming and the world really does look magical. Even the UI is cute.
Primary Play Content
The main gameplay loop appears to be: go to their version of a dungeon, find the relevant plant creatures (Grimoire Groves version of enemies), and use magic on the plant creatures until they deposit into the ground (this game’s version of killing the enemies), then go back home to base. This game’s version of you getting attacked is the plants hug you, which impacts your stamina bar. The stamina bar is essentially a health bar.
After blissfully acing some initial quests, I unlocked the ability to use different types of magic. Then my levels would have red plants and yellow plants together in bunches, and I would have to hurry to switch back and forth between my magic types! When I reached this complexity, I started getting less than 50% completion score on levels instead of 100%. I’m unsure if it’s intended to be hard or if I’m just not used to the mechanic.
Once you initiate a spell on a creature, you only have so much time to finish it off before it vanishes entirely. This means that you don’t have the option of just putting in more time on a level to get to 100%. Once a creature has vanished, your chance is gone with it.
I look forward to seeing how punishing the final game is and about how well I manage my magic types. Ultimately, this may not be a game I enjoy playing myself. No matter what, it’s certainly beautiful and well-designed. I hope it’ll find the right audience! You can find the Grimoire Groves Steam page here.