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Hon Hon Hon Feed Me a Baguette

  • Frogge
  • 11/10/2019 09:19 AM
  • 1481 views

Grimm's Hollow by ghosthunter
Length: ~3 hours


This one's probably gonna be a bit of a quickie, because while I had some things to note down while playing Grimm's Hollow, I didn't want to immerse myself out of it to take notes. It's mainly because I was too lazy to take notes, but it's definitely true that I couldn't put the game down as I beat the entire game in one go, and stayed up for an hour or two longer than I intended to do so. Grimm's Hollow is pretty great! It isn't a flawless game, but the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Upon starting the game, you're given the hallmark rpg maker warning screen that tells you about the game's various trigger warnings. It's nothing to stick out anymore, but most interesting to me is that the game makes extra effort to point out that it is not intended to be a romanticization of death, but for me here's where death of the author (hehe) comes in. I would argue that with a game looking this gorgeous, no matter what subject you're handling it's a hell of a romanticization. Okay, that part's a joke. But I think it's true that this game romanticizes death to a degree, and I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. I don't see anything wrong with providing relief as to what happens in the afterlife and making it sound romantic. After all, romanticizing death isn't necessarily the same thing as romanticizing suicide, which I think is what the developer was scared would be the issue people have here. In fact, I think the game works best if you think of it as a romanticization, a melancholic yet beautiful look into the afterlife that drives the game's plot.

You play as Lavender as she wakes up in the afterlife and searches for her brother Timmy. In the world of Grimm's Hollow, those who do not have enough spirit energy to pass on become reapers who must reap the souls of others to send them to the afterlife meanwhile getting spirit energy that allows them to eventually pass on themselves once they've gotten enough. The worldbuilding at hand is interesting and I found myself interested in finding out more about it. It's not the most complex look into the afterlife, but for a three hour long game that's not too content heavy, I think it works great. The game description promises memorable characters, and while I don't think they're unique or deep enough to be particularly memorable, I also don't think any characters were bad by any means. Their motivations and actions always made sense to me, and their designs are cute as heck and pretty recognizable. The story never has any real lows, though it is perhaps a bit heavy on the exposition at times, but I'd say it gives exposition at good intervals so that it doesn't feel like you're being spoonfed, and it definitely has its various highs throughout.

Now I'm sure you don't need me to be the one pointing this out for you, but Grimm's Hollow is a super good looking game, and I don't just say that because purple is my favorite color. Everything from the tiles to enemies to the CGs to the UI look incredible. The only thing to point out here is that the mapping can be a bit hit and miss with most looking great but some maps just looking all too boring, and at a few tiles are strangely cut-off. And also, that water.


I'm gonna guess the intended effect was for the water to look deeper in the middle but... yikes.


As for its soundtrack, Grimm's Hollow only really stood out to me in two tracks. The rest of the soundtrack isn't bad by any means, it gets the job done, but my personal favorites were the battle theme, which has adorable ghost sounds actually incorporated into it which was pretty awesome, and the final boss theme, which was just catchy.

As for the gameplay, Grimm's Hollow does a few cool things for the engine. You gain spirit energy which acts as both a currency and EXP in the game, and it can be spent to upgrade stats, learn new skills or just buy items. Spirit energy drives both the a major part of the plot and the gameplay. Good to know that limbo's based on capitalist values as well. You can complete Lavender's spirit by fully maximizing every stat and learning every skill to its fullest. The game has four endings, and they're all pretty easy to get if you just save before the final boss, and make sure you don't complete Lavender's spirit until you get two endings, as what ending you get is determined by two factors - whether or not your spirit is complete and whether or not you win the final battle. Interestingly, one of the game's main selling points is that it removes grinding, but I actually did have to grind for a few minutes to complete Lavender's spirit. Not much, mind you, and it certainly wasn't annoying since the enemies in the final area drop a pretty good amount of spirit energy, but I fought every single enemy at least once, probably found every sparkly field ghost which gives you some free spirit energy (think chests) and only used the shop twice, and still didn't have enough spirit to complete my spirit. Maybe if the final boss actually gave you plenty of spirit energy when you beat it, then you wouldn't need to grind to get the other two endings. It wasn't a huge issue, to be honest, I didn't have to grind all that much as I said, but still kind of weird that the game prides itself on removing grind but requires some of it for its best ending (the game doesn't really call it a true ending but it requires the most effort and has the happiest outcome so I'm calling it the best ending).


And man I just couldn't figure out this troop for the dear life of me until I remembered that I have stats I can upgrade.


The battles themselves are fun with a lot of different enemies you can encounter in various different troops that generally play off each other very well. The striking and evading mechanics are really fun, and I always love it when rpgs tend to add at least a little something that adds a little more action to the battles. Of course, the Mario and Luigi series is my favorite example of this, just as with most other people's I'm sure, and while the striking and evading mechanics aren't super important to Grimm's Hollow they make battles a lot less boring than they would have been and I think they work great. They're surprisingly well incorporated too, feeling very smooth and fair. There was just two times where the striking mechanic bugged out on me and made me strike twice for some reason and then on my second attack it striked without asking me to, and it was actually on the same enemy (though not the same troop) - the ??? enemy that divides itself. Speaking of which, I still don't know why that enemy didn't have a name. I assume if I let four of them be on screen at once they'd combine into one strong enemy that has a name, but I didn't stay to find out. My only wish regarding battles was a harder final boss. Even without my stats maxed out, it was hilariously easy, and I thought maybe there's a much harder version if your spirit is complete, but it was kind of a shame that there wasn't. Heck, I had to intentionally die twice to see two endings, and that was harder than actually winning the battle.

Grimm's Hollow's only aspect that can be improved is that it feels a little unpolished at times. There's a few times where events jarringly cut into screen or collissions are a little wonky, and perhaps the most noticable that map transitions can sometimes be entered from weird directions (such as being able to enter doors from the sides) or place you right next to other transitions that you will accidentally walk into if you just keep holding the same button of the direction you were going in. There's also a few bugs, most of which I should have noted down but forgot. One I remember from memory is that there's a muffin on the ground at the very end of the game which you can choose to pick up, but nothing happens if you do. Nothing gamebreaking or too major, though, but still a little surprising that some of them slipped past beta testers considering this game had a pretty large number of them and most of the bugs I encountered didn't really feel very hidden. If one thing's hella polished, though, it's those menus. Jesus, dude, those menus are so cool.

All in all, Grimm's Hollow is a great game that's got its fair share of lighearted moments as well as its emotional moments, with a good story and fun gameplay, as well as gorgeous graphics which you already know without needing to play it. Definitely check this one out, it's well worth your time, and I give it four baguettes out of five.

Posts

Pages: 1
Hello Frogge! This is late, but thank you so much for the detailed review - I'm happy to hear that you enjoyed it overall.

author=Frogge
After all, romanticizing death isn't necessarily the same thing as romanticizing suicide, which I think is what the developer was scared would be the issue people have here.

This is spot on. Yes, I was concerned before releasing the game that some would take the game's more lighthearted approaches to death (balloons, cake, Grimm's entire personality) in a harmful way, and I wasn't sure how to phrase it. Thankfully, so far that hasn't been the case, so I think a rewording is due in an update.

author=Frogge
My only wish regarding battles was a harder final boss. Even without my stats maxed out, it was hilariously easy, and I thought maybe there's a much harder version if your spirit is complete, but it was kind of a shame that there wasn't. Heck, I had to intentionally die twice to see two endings, and that was harder than actually winning the battle.
I'm genuinely surprised by the amount of people who found this battle easy, lol. Definitely ramping up that boss fight a bit in a patch - thanks for the feedback!

author=Frogge
Nothing gamebreaking or too major, though, but still a little surprising that some of them slipped past beta testers considering this game had a pretty large number of them and most of the bugs I encountered didn't really feel very hidden


This is 100% my fault for rushing release, since I was notified about some of these errors but didn't playtest properly. Now I'm working on fixing the game, but it's coming along slowly.

Thank you again for the review Frogge. :) It's very insightful, and I'll definitely work to patch up some of its mistakes.
Frogge
I wanna marry ALL the boys!! And Donna is a meanc
18309
Thanks for taking the time to read it! Good luck with the update!
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