Guest post: Grizzland – Review

Today is a pretty big day. Ninja Refinery has it’s first ever guest-written post.

Here is the review from Grizzland, from Mike of codewithmike.com

Grizzland is a retro inspired adventure platformer that’s available on the PS4, XBOX ONE, PC and the Nintendo Switch.

As with all of our reviews we like to be transparent and honest. So just to make you aware, the copy of Grizzland we’re reviewing was given to us by Eastasiasoft in an exchange for a review. We’re reviewing it on the Nintendo Switch.

The pixel art retro style may not be everyone’s cup of tea but let’s take a closer look at our first impressions of Grizzland before we get into the review.

Grizzland Review – First Impressions

Released in February 2020 and developed by Khud0. We first covered Grizzland over on our blog. It’s a minimalist open-world adventure game. My first impression was that I didn’t think I’d actually like the game. It’s mono-chrome and the visuals are very scarce but it has a charm of sorts and a retro vibe that so many gamers seem to love. I gave it the benefit of doubt.

Grizzland is only £3.99 / $4.99 on the Nintendo Switch Store, which is a bit of a bargain. It’s a fair price to pay for a small indie developed game. There are loads of free Nintendo Switch games available on the Nintendo Store front too.

The game is set on Grizzled Planet, you take control of a 2D character in order to tackle the secrets of the planet. You aren’t just let loose without any kit, you’re equipped with items, skills and abilities that’ll help you overcome obstacles and of course, enemies along the way.

When you first start Grizzland you’ll be greeted with a quick tutorial, which is really helpful. And then it’s straight into the game. You’re free to explore as you wish. 

In terms of a story, there really isn’t much to tell, all I can figure out is that the character you play is on a journey to restore the lifeblood of his world, the trees. That journey will take you through the world, meeting the various inhabitants and enemies. You’ll also need to collect special magic water in order to restore the trees and uncover the mysteries of this strange planet.

The story is basic but I’ve not played a game where the goal is to restore the planet’s trees before, so it’s something new and feels fresh. I only feel that it could become pretty boring quite quickly. But the difficulty, which we’ll come onto later should hopefully keep it interesting for most.

I’m not going to do a separate subsection for the sounds as it only really has a simple sound track. The soundtrack has a simple melody that is played throughout that adds to the retro vibe. There’s nothing not to like here.

 

Grizzland Review – How Is The Game Play?

As exploration is the core gameplay element the controls need to be smooth and lag free. Other indie games I’ve reviewed have been a bit clunky with heavy input lag. Grizzland button inputs are in fact smooth and lag free. There isn’t any delay on the button press. I have seen other reviewers suggest the best way to play the game is with a Nintendo Switch Pro controller and I have to agree. A full size d-pad is perfect for this game as you’ll use it alot.

The movement of your character and environment is intuitive and smooth. The movement variable is a decent pace but I found at some points to be a bit slow. Perhaps a future update could fix that, or it may just be me, I like fast paced games to be perfectly honest.

Combat sequences are a great opportunity to really get to grips with the games overall gameplay feel. You are equipped with a sword but during battles you can’t move when you try to use it! This means if you don’t carefully time your attacks you’ll leave yourself defenseless against the enemy counter attack. It’s highlighted further when you come to face a boss. These bosses are powerful and a mis-timed attack can lead to one hit death.

It’s a strange system and is one of the only poor things about this game.

 

It’s quite difficult!

Grizzland doesn’t have any difficulty options so you can’t get an easier way to play. It’s fairly difficult but if you have enough time to put into the game you’ll be able to work your way through it and complete it! The retro vibe continues in that respect. Many modern games are far too easy.

The boss battles are really tough, mostly due to the fact that you need to learn new patterns for each boss. But once you’ve learnt the pattern it’s doable.

 

Conclusion

I really enjoyed playing Grizzland, the visuals could be described as gritty but the gameplay is what really engaged me.

I’d probably recommend this game to people who don’t need an epic AAA rated game with the latest in graphics technology. People who just want to play a game for the sheer enjoyment of beating the game and overcoming the challenge of one.

Grizzland is a fantastic retro inspired game. It’s a brilliantly made and what makes it more impressive is that it’s created by such a small dev team! It feels complete and polished and it’s not often you can say that about an Indie Nintendo Switch game.

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