Obsidian’s new survival IP, Grounded, is finally here. Very lucky Xbox Insiders and steam players will get access to the game’s 30 minutes re-playable demo. The full game is not set to be released till July 28th but this 30-minute demo shows plenty of what we can expect from the full game.
I have been excited for Obsidian’s new game for quite a while now. Seeing the bigger reveal at the beginning of the year had me hyped. As a huge fan of survival games since the original days of Minecraft on the Xbox 360, I have always had a soft spot for any cartoon looking survival that comes my way. Grounded is what happens when you throw together the elements of Minecraft and Honey I Shrunk the Kids. In your head that sounds crazy but when you play, it’s an incredible, fun, terrifying experience.
30 Minutes On The Clock
The game’s 30-minute demo doesn’t seem like long enough at first. You feel almost panicked once you drop into the game after the character selection screen. It becomes clear after the first 10 minutes that the half-hour you get is more than enough to get a varied view and experience of Grounded. But be aware. Do not let these welcoming, fun graphics fool you – the game is stunning. In terms of design, lighting and music, there is a lot more under the surface. Literally.
Once you spawn in you are thrown into this miniature world with all types of insects around you. Ants are very common but also friendly if you stay clear of their territory. I learned the hard way a few times. The game brings the horror for a self-proclaimed arachnophobe like myself. Walking through the dense grass looking for items to make tools with. But then accidentally stumbling upon a spider-surveyed area is terrifying. So many times I had to just run and hope to not be caught by the eight-legged giant. All whilst hearing the music flare. The sounds of the spider’s legs hitting the dirt and the low growl it emits. Like I said, terrifying beyond belief.
Building bases is easy and fun with the very simple snap mechanics. I just made very simple bases as a start so I could spend more time exploring. In past survival games, I always got by on the bare minimum base as I spent more time in the world. I did manage to put the time in on one of the 30-minute sessions to build a nice little base. That was accidentally close to a hostile area so once I left said base, I didn’t last long.
Crafting in the game is easy and a lot can be done on the fly, with more being possible through crafting a workbench. To further your crafting skills, you need to use the research sites you find around the map. Researching simple items like pebbles, tree sap and even dry grass opens the possibilities of what you can create. Spend the time early in the demo to research tree sap, pebbles and plant fiber. This combo lets you craft the workbench and most importantly, woven fiber. You don’t understand how vital woven fiber can be to the crafting of essential items.
Fight For Your Life
Combat in Grounded is very straightforward. You can attack, throw or block. Fights can be easy but I sometimes find the controls to be slightly sluggish. Adding a dash move or a step back move could improve the combat feel and make fighting less claustrophobic. Although that feeling plays well in certain scenarios.
Fighting most enemies can be easy. Gnats can be a pain as they seem hard to hit sometimes, red mites are easy but also very irritating. These two are the main enemies you will come across in numbers. Easy on their own but if they manage to corner you with a small group, the fight can turn quickly. Now comes the terrifying (for me) part. The spiders. Obsidian has added an incredible arachnophobia feature to the game that can be activated in the menu. The slider gives you control on how much of the spider you want to see. Reducing the slider shows the spiders as 2 orbs. Although not looking like a threat anymore they still deal a lot of damage.
Grounded’s demo introduces players to the world slowly and steadily. Giving players enough creativity and a good sizeable mission from the game’s campaign. Playing a short mission lifts the feeling of being rushed in this short demo. This introduction to what this game offers has me excited. This demo was also only singleplayer so I can’t wait to see what I can pull off with friends. For such a small world, this game has a big future.