Game: Secrets of Grindea

Friday, February 12, 2016

I played the current version of Secrets of Grindea and I really liked it. Secrets of Grindea is a kind of oldschool RPG game with influences that I assume come from games like Zelda, Ragnarok Online and Secret of Mana. Given the name, it parodies the tropes a bit, but incorporates the grinding aspect into its story, as you are a member of the Collectors and Adventurer Academy and set out for big treasure and loot. Your adventure begins in Startington, your home village.
... Yes that's the tone of the game that's being set.

 I was really surprised about the quality of the game. You have an infinite space bag which talks and hunt (or rather stumble upon) other talking artifacts for the story and they are pretty entertaining. The brute strength buddy who can't solve puzzles was pretty funny too actually.

There's only a quarter of the full content in the game yet I think so I can't say too much about story and endgame content. As far as I know, even current content is being tweaked and improved on.
But the visuals are great, the pixel sprites are very high quality and have fluid animations. They can still improve upon skills, especially magic and maybe movement but I didn't really have any complaints other than blocking seems inefficient due to having to face directly at the attacker. And you can't dodge, so you kind of have to get hit. Trash mobs drop health pellets which restore your health.
Right now there don't seem any restoration potions or spells in the story mode. Ignoring melee skills that make use of either one-handed weapons or two-handed weapons, combat feels a lot like Zelda and Secret of Mana. You can also make use of a bow and a shield (with above mentioned deficit). Currently neither had active skills but shield use can be improved via passive skills. Shield block all damage coming from the direction you are facing at, but shields have health and if you block without letting it recover, it will become unavailable for a while. Having a shield up or charging a spell, which is very short by the way, slows down your movement unless you get a buff via equipment or passive skills. Didn't seem to matter all that much though, since you would choose the timing of using a skills when you're safe or plan to hit immediately.

The parody style doesn't really suit me but it works well with the Item Collector guild theme. It actually feels great just looting stuff because of that and the fact that you don't have to do silly item management. Also the sound effects are satisfying. The bosses and dungeon are really good and little bit challenging thought the puzzles could be a bit harder and the grinding mechanics is also pretty great. took some idea from Ragnarok Online I assume, since enemies have like 0.1-5% to drop a card for a permanent boost and sometimes other loot like gear. It also pretty much uses the same vanity headgear system as Ragnarok Online. The only difference is that in RO, the drop rates 0.01% for cards and most rare gear so it feels better, plus you can get multiple cards there since they are used as slot item.
Still feels good to get them in Grindea.

The Arcade Mode is also really fun actually, since it's more like a Rogue-like but you can unlock vanity rewards for Story Mode. And both have a 4 player multiplayer I think, but I couldn't try that out yet.

There is some sort of grind mechanic in the game, which starts to take effect when you start killing a group of mobs in the same location. It results in a very high respawn rate and thus increases the chances of spawning elite versions of monsters that are tougher and have advanced skills, but also higher drop chances. It is worth mentioned that grinding is pretty much completely optional, and it also doesn't feel like a "grind" because of that. It's just neat for completionists, or people who want the buffs and rare gear. It didn't seem like shops offered any decent options for gear however, so you are left to use quest and chest rewards, drops or craft gear. The crafting is based on the loot however.
There's no tedious item management, so you can literally keep everything since it seems like the bag is truly infinite with a variety of sorting options and items are split into various categories. I didn't even bother to sell duplicate gear not used for crafting, even though I'm normally a victim to my item management OCD.

I got really lucky with some of the drop so I finished the current story in about 7 hours with only a little bit of item grinding. I tried getting the cards and all other drops from every monster in the current build, which I've almost done in 13 hours (only a fourth of the story and content is available I think). Filling the catalog with getting all drops counts towards the completion %... I had some really bad luck with about 3 cards and there are still some other drops I didn't even get yet but I won't even try until the game is done and actually presents are reason to get 100%. I got a ton of money, which is useless right now unless you keep resetting skills or dump it into potions to level pets which right now have no cap and increase your stats. They are planning housing and other money dumps though.

The Arcade Mode is pretty difficult, and with some friends might be a decent time sink. Alone, it's a bit repetitive on the early stages since you see them the most. Probably will change when they have all the content and bosses in the game though.
Arcade Mode is always on high difficulty but you can freely adjust Story Mode and toggle between normal and high difficulty. Which makes monsters tougher, use more skills and advances strategies.

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