For those of you that haven’t checked out Los Angeles based, NIS America’s 2007 Playstation 2 release of Grim Grimoire, some downtime this Halloween weekend might be well spent with this Playstation Network download. Here in L.A., there is no shortage of activities at any time let alone a holiday weekend but Grim Grimoire is probably not the game you might expect it to be and the frenetic action very well might have you late for original plans.
NIS releases a good amount of quirky Japanese RPGs and a quick glance at the cover of Grim Grimoire might lead you to believe this game is another one those, that may be just a little too bizarre or “Japanese” to stomach. Fortunately, you’d be completely wrong as Grim Grimoire is much more Tower Defense than Final Fantasy. Co-developed by Nippon Ichi Software and Vanillaware (Murumasa,) the game allows players to take on the role of Lillet Blan, a young magician who is admitted to a prestigious and mystical magic school. If this immediately conjures thoughts of Harry Potter, you’d be on the right track.
The game begins with Lillet’s first day and a lesson on how to master using grimoires. The game surprises you in how the magical battles play out. There is no collecting, grinding, turns or inventory management. Grim Grimoire is a relatively small scale Real Time Strategy game complete with resource harvesting, 2D cutscenes and save points between battles. Speaking of the cutscenes, the supporting cast may at first seem bizarre but they are well acted and as the story progresses are fleshed out surprisingly well.
The first four days and lessons pass by as expected as you learn how to summon various units and acquire new types with new grimoires. The fifth day of school is where everything gets a little weird and the mystery begins as everyone vanishes, under ominous circumstances. Somehow, Lillet awakens the next day to discover she is once again living out the first day of school with her memories intact, giving her the opportunity to prevent the tragedy from re-occurring.
Grim Grimoire features four magic types to master: Glamour, Necromancy, Sorcery and Alchemy. Each of these types of magic has its own unique abilities and different types of units. These are each unlocked by acquiring the appropriate grimoires. Players have to defend their base and eliminate enemies by summoning elves, fairies, imps, and even dragons to fight for you. These units and unlockable upgrades all require the collection of mana by each of the categories’ workers.
Now five years old, Grim Grimoire is surprisingly good fun and considering the game has not been enhanced, this $9.99 title looks pretty good on a High Definition console. The story and characters are bizarre but as the game goes on, they become increasingly familiar and the game mechanics work perfectly. With the save points between battles, as you progress through the game, you will need to allot increasing larger blocks of time to be able to win and save your progress. If after you finish, you’re still looking for more and you probably will, once the story mode is completed there are bonus levels.
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