Release Date: September 7th, 2015
Price: $6.99 on Steam
Gridberd delivers one of the most frustratingly boring horror experiences I’ve played. It’s marred by a poor translation, numerous bugs, and baffling design decisions. There are hardly any redeeming qualities to speak of other than the somewhat interesting voice acting and the partially decent graphics.
Right from the very start, I felt something wrong. The main menu loved switching to new screens with a direction and a copious amount of motion blur, enough to make me feel uncomfortable. Anyone with motion sickness should be very cautious of going through the options. I also noticed a lack of confirming the selections made with any of the settings. Some bars didn’t even appear until you clicked on the option. Several of the AA settings just had Replace Me placeholders or maybe they were crying out for help, praying for rescue. You can’t even adjust the volume in the game.
Starting a new game, which I recommend not doing for any reason except morbid curiosity, throws you into a world full of confusion and bad storytelling. You’ll immediately notice the questionable voice acting performances with accents thicker than refrigerated honey. It was a strange treat, listening to the villain’s changing accent, that most people will not find as interesting as I did. As for the story, it didn’t do much for me. Much of it is told through radio news, villain narration, and poorly translated notes littered around the former mansion. Apparently, you’re some guy trapped by a supernatural being in a place with sections heavily inspired by Playable Teaser (P.T.) – namely, the hallway – and that early boss fight in Resident Evil 5 where you need to lure the giant tentacle creature (Uroboros) into the incinerator. I’m fairly certain that you can guess that the latter is used for the “boss fight” in Gridberd. More on that later. Anyway, the inept presentation of the story could not garner any interest from me and the nonsensical ending didn’t help with its villain doing something out of character only to still do something bad. I didn’t understand any of the reasoning or motivations behind the actions.
Oh, I should mention, if you have the subtitles turned on to help you comprehend the plot, you’ll notice many errors within the text. They were also off with their timing, usually resulting in them disappearing too quickly and had frequent instances of words not matching up with the dialogue. Be they subtitles or notes in the world, they let me know that the game could have benefited greatly from an attentive proofreading pass.
Some additional testing for the gameplay, mostly walking, would have been nice too. For 85 percent of the game, I walked at a glacial speed. My movement became even slower when crouching which was necessary for all the vents. You can jump too, but I can’t remember using it for anything other than freeing myself from being stuck. At one point, in a vent, I was on my way to a room. I thought I would scan my surroundings before popping out there, but the grate decided to slam on my face as I decided to move forward. I discovered shortly thereafter that the game softlocked. I had to reload and make sure to beat the grate with my incredibly slow gait. I’ve also crashed for reasons that are still unknown to me.
You can expect two puzzles in Gridberd and that single boss fight that I mentioned earlier. The boss fight is just walking around and hitting a switch. If you miss, you run another lap and try again until you have it right which can be sort of annoying. The line of sight isn’t too clear for that section and the villain’s path seemed to cut the corner which meant doing a handful of slow laps in my case. I was very bored with it all. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat or feeling very stimulated. At least the credits gave me a sense of relief which was something.
As for how the game looks, well….
I suppose it looks okay for a budget title. I wasn’t very impressed, but there are some nice textures present. I especially liked the pants.
You have a finite amount of time in the world and I cannot recommend spending any of it on this game. There are much better horror experiences available that are polished and written well. Make sure to avoid this title and enjoy yourself.