Grim Quest – Old School RPG

The Game

Grim Quest – Old School RPG by Goran K is a game that’s popped up as recommended several times in my app store and I decided to give it a go – I just wish I’d done so sooner. As the game’s name suggests it’s an “old-school” RPG game that focuses on exploring dungeons, turn based combat and purchasing/upgrading spells, skills and equipment. The game also features has crafting as a method of creating powerful buffs and potions. You can also accept and complete bounties for XP and gold.

Each dungeon is essentially a square grid – these vary in size. Each turn you can choose one of the adjacent squares to move into it – at that stage you can either encounter enemies, a random event or the exit to the dungeon. You are discouraged from walking back over already revealed tiles as there’s a good chance you will get ambushed. While navigating the dungeons you need to keep an eye on your health, sanity and supplies. I quite like that there’s no mana to maintain, spells are just based on a number of charges that resets before each battle. If you’re low on sanity your fears will start manifesting themselves into monsters that attack you; run out of health and you’ll be kicked out of the dungeon. You will also find various items that buff you for that specific dungeon run. There are a decent variety of dungeons, monsters and a great selection of skills and spells to learn and combo.

Worth it?

One thing that needs to be mentioned is that this game was made by one person, which instantly propels it to a whole new level of excellence. Simple/minimalist graphics combined with classic mechanics and a great amount of depth make for a pretty amazing mobile gaming experience. You can pick this game up for a casual dungeon crawl or run after run attempting to beat a dungeon boss. There’s an ad-free version for £5.49, but it must be said the ads are essentially non-existent – apart from a bottom banner and the option to watch ads for cash every time you return to town (you don’t have to do this if you’d like an extra challenge). Personally I do feel that that price is a little steep – if it was 15-25% cheaper, I feel I’d be a bit more inclined to purchase it. There are some quality of life improvements that could be made like an option to sort your stash or being able to see the spell description at the Alter of Oblivion.

Overall it’s a brilliant game with familiar classic mechanics, simple but effective aesthetics, customisation options and a huge amount of spells, skills, crafting and enemies to take on. It’s also quite a challenge, especially early game until you’ve got some upgrades and good spells. The game will keep you thinking – just one more dungeon, one more level. It’s great for both short and longer sessions of play. A must see for any RPG/Turn-based aficionados out there.

Tips

  • AOE spells and attacks are very helpful
  • Hold on to ingredients that can be used in the cauldron
  • Make sure you always have as many bounties as possible on at a time
  • If you have an item already in your possession/stash you can complete item bounties
  • Items can be used to buff yourself on a particular dungeon run (very useful for boss levels)
  • Always check the vendor for steel ingots or other upgrade materials
  • You can reset/forget spells and skills at the Alter of Oblivion (Level 1 spells cost 0 to forget, but higher level ones will cost more)
  • Reddit Guide for beginners: https://www.reddit.com/r/GrimQuest?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

Useful Links

Abstrrkt Explorers

The Game

Do you have that feeling that all mobile strategy games are just annoying gatcha games with loads of microtransactions to help you speed things up? Me too, but this one is something different. Abstrrkt Explorers (or just Explorers) by Abstrrkt is a free, turn based strategy game for android. The game is reminiscent of some familiar classics (live Civ 6) with its hex grid setup and conquest mechanics. The game is pretty much a fully fledged 4X game which lets you build, explore, develop and fight for control over the world. It has a campaign mode, single player and even a local multiplayer option.

The campaign serves as a tutorial and introduction to the game. It gives you series of increasingly challenging and complex scenarios. Things start out simple with a small settlement and 4 initial types of resource wood, stone, food and population. You need to build up your economy through farms, lumberjacks and fishermen or hunters, later on gold is also added. You can then expand your empire through barracks which you can later upgrade. This is where the combat element of the game is introduced.

The combat is a bit of a different take and is based around the influence zones of your barracks and taking barracks from your enemies using your units from your own adjacent barracks. The game adds a bunch of other buildings as you progress, including catapults, harbours and ships. All this and more is delivered in a nice pastel low poly style with simple and intuitive controls.

Worth it?

A beautiful game with a lot of depth. The various game modes will give you plenty to mess around with, the campaign has a lot of gameplay for you to get stuck into (6 missions total). There are 3 types of game you can run in single player (Fixed, Domination, Survival) and a bunch of other settings you can configure. There are some ads, mainly in between campaign missions or when you start a game, overall they aren’t that intrusive but if you’d like to help the developer out you can buy an ad free option for £3.09. The game has a lot to offer, but there are some drawbacks, personally I think the combat can get to a point where you are just trading buildings with the AI without making much progress and that can be a bit frustrating. It feels like maybe another dimension can be added apart from the catapults and you can only ever build one new soldier per turn per barrack. The research tree has a good amount to uncover and keep you busy and it could easily be expanded with new buildings or upgrades.

Overall a great game for short to medium length sessions, although the game definitely has that “one more turn” element that can keep you locked in for ages. The simple style and low poly aesthetics make for a very beautiful and chill experience. There’s a bit more to be desired in terms of the combat, but other than that it’s quite a solid game with various gameplay modes and even a local multiplayer option.

Tips

  • Focus on food the most (especially early game)
  • Try and place as many buildings as you can each turn
  • Reinforce your barracks with units – ideally build a unit every turn
  • If you set a barrack to receive units it will pull in units from all barracks which have the “deploy” option on

Useful Links