Grimsfield, as the title would suggest depicts a grim and bleak linear world governed by incessant rules and regulations. Created by animator Adam Wells, this is his first fully-fledged attempt at making a video game, a modest tale that does its best to illustrate the nuisance of bureaucracy and cutting through red tape.
Grimsfield is a pretty straightforward game, you’re a beat poet who’s anticipating their first performance at an open mic night. You’re constantly talking to yourself or rather your brain, who’s always eager to help you out of a bind. You’re tasked with a number of objectives you’ll need to complete before you can give your performance. These objectives enable you to navigate this meagre world while conversing with amusing characters who have their own set of tribulations.
You’ll be running around a lot, going from point A to point B, picking up much needed items and fulfilling requests along the way. While helping characters enables you to progress within the game, these tasks can feel menial at times, and don’t require much in the way of thought to complete. The character you control are more of a parody of the self-obsessed, pretentious artist (or as the developer himself suggests, ‘knobs’). You’ll constantly rant about your anti-establishment ideals and how profound your poetry is. Agreeably all the dialogue is often insightful and humorous as it subtly criticises its own existentialism.
Grimsfield utilises an old school point-and-click mechanic, coupled with plenty of puzzle solving attributes. Admittedly, the puzzles themselves are pretty basic and lack much of a challenge, but they’re still enjoyable to navigate through and piece together. But if the gameplay feels like an old friend, it’s the art style that defines the experience.
Everything is primarily clad in black and white, seemingly as an attempt to mirror the totalitarian nature of the game. Characters and locations feel truly polished, accompanied by a quirky yet engaging soundtrack, flattering the sombre environment further. But to get a better handle on it, check out the trailer below. It definitely looks better in motion than just stills.
Although Grimsfield is a short game (roughly an hour long), it feels accomplished in telling a sincere story. The distinct aesthetic paints its oppressive narrative perfectly whilst the characters and places within the game feel substantially refined.
Grimsfield is truly a beautiful game that’s a pleasure to interact with. You can check it out for yourself on Steam.
Sunita Osborne is a freelance writer and contributor to PN2. Go say hi @SunitaOsborne