Can’t be the King of the World, If you’re Slave to the Grind! – Early Evaluation of Secrets of Grindea

Oh, Secrets of Grindea, how I wish I could like you. But you have instead earned from me the moniker “Secrets of Crashia”.

Seriously, this game despite being in EA for the last year or so is still a bit of a buggy mess, at least in Story Mode. And given that I play games like this for the story… yeah.

Let’s get into my Pillars and discuss the good… and the bad.

Oh, and the title of this post is a reference to this sweet song from the 80’s by Skid Row.

VISUALS

One good thing I can clearly say about this game is that it’s a visual treat. I love a well animated and colorful style and this game has that in spades.

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The towns are super colorful!

Everything about the visual presentation of this game just oozes charm. The enemies are cute, the weapons are well done, your summons if you take them are adorable, and it’s just a wonderful game to look at. Animations are solid on all fronts as well. I love watching my personal storm cloud float over an enemy and hit them with a blast of lightning, or watch a Boar rev up for a charge.

It’s very similar in style in fact to the SNES Classic Secret of Mana. I will make this comparison often because, frankly, this game is a love letter to that one.

AUDIO

It’s forgettable. Seriously. The sound effects are solid work and serve their purpose, but the music is honestly something I couldn’t recall even after the fact. Bring your own soundtrack here is what I personally feel.

STORY

You are a child in a small town who decides to become a Collector. What’s a collector? It’s a person who goes around hunting rare items. Seriously. The entire basis of the story, at least what I could experience, is about going to the main city of Evergrind (no, really) and joining the Collectors Guild with the help of your magic talking bag who has a surly attitude.

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He’s like Navi only angrier and more judgey.

It’s rather insane.  One thing to note is that as of right now the game is incomplete, story wise.  After a point later on down the road you cannot progress any further as it’s simply not in the game yet.

Sadly, due to some issues I could not progress past joining the guild and entering the Pumpkin Woods. What issues? Well, we’ll get into those now.

GAMEPLAY

This game is your classic top down action RPG. It plays almost identically in fact to Secret of Mana and games in that style. You have hotkeys for your spells and skills, an attack button, a block button, and that’s about it. Personally, playing it with a Controller is highly recommended as the keyboard layout felt odd to me.

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Bosses have this sweet Splash Screen when you face em.

You have a classless character skill system allowing you to build yourself to use one handed weapons, two handed weapons, or spells. Or any mix. For me, I went with summons, which included a tiny snowball and a storm cloud that followed me and rampaged against enemies.

Annoying, during combat enemy healthbars only show up in the lower right corner of the screen, but your summons have their health bars over their heads. I have no idea why enemies don’t have the same healthbar setup though, as it would make things much easier.

But sadly, this is all I really know about the game. I have seen screenshots talking about new skills like this one called Season Change:

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Sure looks interesting.

But I could not get far enough to get them. Because the game kept crashing at one particular point in story mode. I tried uninstalling and reinstalling, I tried verifying game cache, and nothing I did would fix my copy. It just kept crashing. It’s been in Early Access for almost a year as of this writing (one year will be 7/15/16) and this crash is literally game breaking.

Here is a video I did of me playing the game… and crashing at the exact same point multiple times.

I have made a bug report on the official forums so hopefully this will be fixed at some point.  As it stands now however….

OVERALL

2 Hour Rule – FAILED!

It fails because despite WANTING to continue I literally can’t. I played the game for a grand total of 75 minutes. I am not going to try “Adventure” mode because I wanted to experience the story. I wanted to see the insane references and things. It’s so over the top.

But with this issue I cannot recommend it, personally. Sure, it’s possible that like others you won’t have these issues, that you will be able to play the game and get further into it than I. It’s only $15 so it’s not a huge amount of money.

But there are other games I would recommend over this one right now. Perhaps once it’s out of EA I will revisit it, and hope that the issues have been fixed. For now, however, I suggest skipping this one unless it goes on sale, at least for right now.

View Secrets of Grindea on Steam

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