Grimsfield is animator Adam Wells’ first attempt at making a game, and as will be discussed below, it definitely seems to have a good amount of potential attached to it. Many of you will immediately be uninterested to learn that Grimsfield is a narrative-driven adventure game, that it may fall into the ever increasing buzzword “walking simulator.” However, those of you that perked up a little bit at the idea of a cool story from something not Telltale should be more than interested in what Grimsfield appears to be offering.
Here’s how the Greenlight page describes Grimsfield:
Off the M62 Between Leeds and Manchester lies Grimsfield* – a market town in the North of England. In this point, click & natter adventure you will gob your way through a number ginnels**, working mens clubs, and underground temples***. You take on the role of a poet**** whose job it is to cut through copious amounts of red tape in order to make it to the open mic night down the local beatnik club.
*** only 1 of each of these
Grimsfield takes the form of a kafka-esque short adventure game set across a number of mini dioramas.
Now if that doesn’t sound like an exciting adventure, I don’t know what is. While it doesn’t come across as the most gripping setting to explore, it’s certainly not something we’ve seen in an adventure game (to my recent memory at least). We can all be assured that it will at least be somewhat relatable in both the frustration we’ve felt dealing with the ridiculous bureaucracy of whatever we were trying to do. Also the often, to put it nicely, less than helpful members manning said bureaucracy. And in that comes potential for that vicarious feeling of triumph for when the main character inevitably says things we’ve always wanted to say to someone who’s created all the ridiculous rules and hoops we have to jump through.
More than that, what immediately drew me to Grimsfield was obviously the art style and the animations. It’s all so cohesive, and when you then read what the game is about and its setting, it completely makes sense. It’s a rare talent to know how to match the aesthetic with both gameplay and the writing of the game. There are plenty of wonderfully beautiful games, but they often are just for the sake of looking pretty great, rather than helping to inform the aesthetic of the game to enhance its overall feeling, mood, or atmosphere. So in that sense, I think Grimsfield does a superb job.
What made Grimsfield stick, which it should have been, was the writing. The whole Greenlight page is quite witty and elicited a few chuckles from me. There’s not a lot to go on when looking at the screenshots or the video provided, however. It’s another rare thing to be so convinced through basically the description alone. Not much else to say other than if you can see the potential yourself in the writing, then Grimsfield is most assuredly something to keep an eye on.
One thing that may be hit or miss for some people is the fact that Grimsfield will be telling the one story with the one ending and that’s it. Obviously that comes with its own pros and cons in that some may feel a lack of player agency in the title, while others may appreciate the fact that the developer can focus solely on the story they want to tell. In a world where Telltale rules this genre, though, many will have some expectation of choice regardless. One of the screenshots showed that there should at least be dialogue options. The extent of the impact they may or may not have is unknown at the moment, however.
While everything looks pretty good for Grimsfield, we do have to remember that this is someone’s first attempt at a game. Wells’ understanding of game design or things of that nature may be limited. Though, at least this is a genre where a lack of that knowledge can be more easily forgiven.
In any case, Grimsfield seems to have a ton of potential for something very interesting and unique. If you’ve found yourself interested in Grimsfield, be sure to give it a thumbs up on Greenlight.
What do you think of Grimsfield‘s setting? What about the writing? Any other games on Greenlight worth mentioning at the moment?