(embed) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0u__DXn9iU (/ embed)
Ever since we saw it Grime in the Guerrilla Collective showcase during E3, it was launched quietly and is now becoming a hit among players. Grime is a side-scrolling Metroidvania who also eagerly drank the Dark Souls well.
You control a humanoid statue with a black hole for your head (several characters called you “chiseled,” which made me laugh), and that should only tell you what style Grime was going for. It takes place in a surreal world, where a boy with a black hole for his head is one of the most normal characters you will find.
You’d be forgiven for thinking that by now, the soul-like smiling Metroidvanias are about a hundred dozen dollars; if you’re into the concept, I can already tell you that Grime is a safe bet. But his world is part of what makes Grime special. The tradition is quite vague and it takes time for things to make sense, if not, but even though it doesn’t offer a plot, like so many Metroidvanias, you manage to baffle the history of their locations so slowly.
It seems that the world itself consists mainly of different caves. Like Hollow Knight, it’s amazing how much visual variety and how many secrets you can introduce into a rock setting. It looks very, very good and also has a killer soundtrack. And Grime has a lot of secret passages and … caves inside the caves. Jumps between platforms, descents by stairs, jumps by ravines that can be seen in the part inferior, all with quite standard things.
But the Dark Souls comparison comes more from Grime’s systems than from its overall vibe. You have an RPG style system that allows you to spend points on skills, you can change your appendages and stony weapons, and they can also be upgraded. There’s also a resistance bar: resistance is called breathing because even statues with black holes for the head need to breathe, apparently. The more you know.
But while all this is nothing new, Grime has an interesting ability to absorb. Used at the right time, absorption helps you catch enemy weapons and allows you to launch them again, and once an enemy has lost enough health, you can absorb them in their entirety, which in turn rewards you with features that you can use yourself.
Absorb skills (but not attacks), probably so as not to make the collection of weapons in the game questionable. Head design is another important feature of Metroidvania that Grime achieves: big heads look great and are hard to beat, plus there are a lot of mini-heads to find and take on.
However, this is not a Metroidvania that reinvents the wheel, which would be difficult to do with the current popularity of the genre, anyway, but it feels good to play and is just good at what it does. The Clover Bite developers appear as true Metroidvania fans who have understood what makes the genre fun and the gamers are understanding it.