In May 2018, Talerock took a shot in the dark and put Grimshade on Kickstarter after already working on the game for about two years. We’re not even a year later and the game has launched. Over a thousand backers helped to gather a goal of 100k, helping Grimshade come to life. It’s a story-driven RPG set in a fantasy world, featuring a turn-based combat system. Grimshade was released on March 26th and I was happy to see a key for this game was granted to us, so let’s dive into it!

Don’t be fooled by this image, the game involves a lot of talking.
  • Different characters: So there are several characters you can play with. You start with Alister, a brave guy with an Ether gauntlet who everyone keeps referring to as ‘Champion’ (you’ll find out why, don’t worry, but let’s not spoil this here huh). Okay so, you don’t immediately meet all characters, this happens along the way. Honestly, big plus you guys! You learn about the back story of the different characters, like the first one you come across is Kiba, ‘the dark child’. You meet him, have a chat, and joins you. Tadaaa, now there’s two playable characters you can use during fights, yay!
  • Art style: Grimshade is inspired by JRPG of the 90’s and it’s looking very good. All characters have their own style and look, which is really setting them apart. There are various places you’ll walk through are also enjoyable and you get to look around a little.
  • Interactive environment: In this game you can interact with a lot of elements in the environment. In the beginning, or if you’re just not good at noticing things, you can use the tab key to highlight different items you can interact with. I did enjoy this, mainly because it gives you a reason to pay extra attention to your surroundings (and yes, I had to use the tab key at times, even if it was just to make sure I wasn’t missing anything).

You’ll get to gaze at the pretty artstyle for hours!
  • Combat: The combat system has some ups and downs, making it a mixed feature. It can get rather difficult but if you experience it as too difficult, you can adjust the difficulty setting during the fights. I found this to be a great help at times! There’s also the fun aspect of battling with multiple characters, and the fact that points linked to attacks decide how long you have to wait for your next turn. BUT this is a mixed point, so here come the bad aspects. Fights take a little too long. This because there’s a turn-based system that’s working rather slow. If there are multiple enemies, this comes with a loooot of waiting, which gets boring.
  • Constant updates on the game (still): You’d think the developers constantly listening to the feedback of the players is good, and it is! BUT not if you’ve already released a full game. Grimshade isn’t an Early Access game on Steam, so how come the devs still have to make lots of major and minor fixes? This is not what you expect from a game that’s been fully launched.
  • Long ass tutorial: Okay so be prepared to learn a lot. The game offers quite a lot of features, making the tutorial quite long. There is sooo much to learn about the mechanics of the game, it’ll take you a while to be fully settled. Every time you meet a new character, you get a tutorial on how their attacks work in battle, so explanations go on for a while. It shows a lot of work was put in this game, but it also takes a lot out of you. Not everyone enjoys complex mechanics, making this a mixed point.
Battling looks way more confusing than it actually is, don’t worry
  • SO MUCH READING: Okay firstly, there is a lot of text because a lot needs to be explained. I can live with that. But it doesn’t stop there. Dialogues are also quite long. I mean, I enjoy reading but even I started skipping the dialogues after a while because it was just too much. Sure, background on the characters and the game is nice, but holy shit, don’t exaggerate. Items also have description, and surprise, these were also too long. Clearly, there was no balance found between giving extra information and not being too much. You just tend to give up and skip everything.
  • No voice acting: Since there are long dialogues involved, some voice acting would have been very nice. Okay, the game is based on JRPG’s of the 90s but COME ON, you could’ve modernised it a bit and added some voice acting. Characters and items would’ve become a lot more interesting and I would have been way more tempted to actually immerse myself in the game. Missed chance here! 

Score: 65%
The main issue with Grimshade is that it definitely feels like an Early Access game. The developers are still fixing major and minor issues with the game. Nevertheless, this game shows potential so I’m not shooting it down yet. It has some positive aspects like the art style and the different playable characters, but the lack of voice acting combined with the massive amount of reading is definitely a downer.

Developer: Talerock Publisher: Asterion Games
Played on: PC
Time to beat: about 20 hours
Perfect for: JRPG fans with a love for the 90’s 
Steam Game Store link: click here