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Short, extremely well-designed adventure game

  • Mr. Y
  • 07/06/2007 03:19 PM
Your first impression from booting up Grave Spirit is professional. This game can be described as the 'total package,' with its entirely-custom graphics, music, and battle and menu systems. The one catch? It's not an RPG, sadly, so if you're waiting for the perfect one of those you'll have to wait a bit longer. My only real complaint, if I have one, is that the game is obviously heavily inspired by Fumito Ueda's PlayStation 2 games, Ico and Shadow of the Colossus, in much of its design and storytelling. But this game shouldn't carry the reputation of the Legion Saga series in 'ripping off' its big draws from a lesser-known commercial game.

Similar to Ueda's games, then, you get a sense from playing the game that the storyline is much larger than you'll ever know. You gain snippets of the plot from reading tablets, being talked to by other characters, and putting two and two together yourself as the player. It isn't especially deep, by any means, and the creator Zohaib takes pains to explain everything by game's end after one playthrough (At least if you pay attention and read as much as you can.)

Gameplay is simple but clever. You'll generally shuffle through areas of the game in sections, where you'll pick up one or two new gameplay concepts per area and then apply them to proceed on. You'll also fight several cool boss fights in what can be described as a Zelda-style battle system. The method is always the same- hit the bad guy lots of times with your whomping stick- but the challenge lies in the boss' patterns and how you'll get around them.

I was a little disappointed by some aspects of the game. In particular, the two areas of the game before reaching the stone fortress didn't really offer new game concepts to master. In particular, the final water area involved a lot of swimming and figuring out how to reach that next area a little ways over; by contrast, earlier dungeons feature acceleration pads, spike traps, and exploding bombs. Fortunately, the final dungeon of the game features the best puzzles yet, so it does make a turn-around.

All said and done, you really, really ought to try downloading this game. It's a short but fun puzzler that doesn't emphasize combat very much. I rate the game a 4.5 only because the action towards the end of the game starts to get a little too recycled, too easy; by game's end, I had enjoyed everything but was ready for it all to finish already. Still, you'll have a great time experiencing Grave Spirit while it lasts, so definitely give it a go even if adventure/puzzle games normally aren't your thing.


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