Grime Review

Grime is metroidvania meets dark souls in a lovecraftian-esque twisted setting. This game drops you deep into the world to rise up to where you had fallen. As a monstrosity with a black hole for a head, your goal is to work your way up through each of the unique areas to the land above and to remember your past. Destroy and absorb all that oppose you in this interesting and unique game!

Visuals and Music:

Visuals on this game are extremely odd and that’s a good thing. There are a ton of interesting designs of NPCs and creatures that scatter this twisted world. Long elongated arms, tentacles,  and contorted shapes frequently appear in the creatures of this universe. Love the artwork and design in this game. 

Music and audio is on point with creepy high pitched or deep rumbling voices from npcs keep the tension up and feed into the vibe of the game. Music does a good job with an eerie soundtrack with escalating crescendos when finally absorbing an enemy that you spent multiple attempts to defeat.

Story:

The story for the game is fairly straightforward. Defeat enemies and absorb their remains to become more powerful. I feel like a vast majority of the story beats do happen late game. This causes the main backstory of your character to happen all in one section, which I felt it would have been much better spread across the game, allowing me to piece together my past. I do enjoy the characters and the smaller beats of story that do happen in each of the individual sections, so overall, I found the story pretty good.

Gameplay:

Grime’s combat is very well done with the dark souls esque style with tons of weapons with unique animations.  Combat is punishingly difficult, and as a long time souls fan, I found it more frustratingly difficult than most of the souls games. You get a meter of breath to heal but can only hold 2 breaths(heals) at a time (excluding using items), which you can refill the meter by parrying abilities with absorbs or killing enemies with one of the perks. 

Stats and upgrades are really well done with the ability to gain new perks based on enemies you have absorbed. DIfferent weapons will benefit from different stats based on the playstyle you want to use. Armor is strictly cosmetic with a few pretty cool designs. Personally I wish that armor was not cosmetic only and had unique armor values so you could set a more solid playstyle.

Since this is a metroidvania game, it has plenty of platforming which I think is well done. Plenty of interesting abilities to traverse the sprawling tunnels and to get to hard to reach places for items. I did have a few glitches where I would teleport beneath the world when dashing, but for the most part graphical bugs and glitches didn’t mess up my gameplay.  

Overview:

Grime is a great dark and twisted metroidvania that I do recommend for metroidvania fans, but with a caution that this game is very punishing and difficult. The game has beautiful visuals and a soundtrack to go with it. Story is good, but could do better with it’s pacing. Gameplay is really good, but could do with a bit more in depth armor system. Nearing the end of the game, I did experience more issues with bugs, which I do feel the game could take a bit more polishing. Overall, it’s a great twisted game and definitely recommend it.

Rating: 4/5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The game is available on GFN and on Stadia via Stadia Pro.

Check out our Grime gameplay videos on Youtube!

Darksiders 3 added to Stadia with a Pro discount

After been rumored for a long time it has now happened Darksiders 3 has arrived on Stadia and with a Pro discount. This is the third entry into the Darksiders franchise of games and follows Fury this time. Many long-time players of Darksiders did not think this game would be made as had been a long time coming out when it was released in 2018. Despite this many fans of the franchise were not too keen on the latest installment, myself included. The combat was changed from the last two games (this can be changed in the menu) and overall for me felt slightly under the other two games.

Return to an apocalyptic Earth in Darksiders III, a hack-n-slash Action Adventure where players assume the role of FURY in her quest to hunt down and dispose of the Seven Deadly Sins. The most enigmatic of the Four Horsemen, FURY must bring balance to the forces that now ravage Earth.

Hopefully, this opens the door for the original Darksiders to hit Stadia as it for me arguably is the best of the series.

Questions arise about the funding aspect of the Stadia Makers Program

The Stadia Makers Program in broad terms is a scheme to bring indie games to Stadia. This program was announced on March 23 2020 in partnership with Unity and was lauded at the time as a good thing for Stadia. As part of the Stadia Makers Program, they provided technical assistance, free hardware, and crucially funding. We have seen some fruit from the labors of this over the last year including Kaze and the Wild Masks, Tohu, Figment Creed Valley, and others.

It is our understanding after speaking to a number of indie game developers, who wish to remain anonymous, that the funding aspect of the Stadia Makers Program is scaled back or is no longer available. A number of developers have reported to us that when asked about the funding aspect of the Stadia Makers Program has been changed and they cannot receive funding. This has resulted in some developers lower the priority of the Stadia port of the game. For others, this has made them question bringing their game to the platform. While some games are still on track to come to Stadia.

We reached out to Stadia for comment and the Stadia spokesman said

The Stadia Makers program is still accepting applications through Stadia.dev/apply, which we’re actively working through. In addition, we’re currently busy supporting Makers partners in launching their games on Stadia, including Merek’s Market arriving on the Stadia store next week.”

Thursday September 9th

During our conversations with developers, we also discovered a number of 3rd party game projects and partnerships have been canceled from Stadia. These cancellations happened a number of months ago. Over the last week, we have learned that Tchia is no longer coming to Stadia and is heading to PlayStation. Following a tweet by Stadiasource’s Lee Reid, this may have been the case with Tchia.

We approached Stadia for comments about partnerships and the funding and were told that they cannot comment on individual business deals. This was an expected response.

The Stadia Makers Program is still available via Stadia.Dev.

PGA 2K21 on Pro & Free Weekends

Stadia TWoS Header Image

It couldn’t possibly be a Tuesday without an update from the Stadia team and in a week with game releases, there was also some great news for Pro members in the form of a new pro game being available to claim tomorrow and then a weekend with not one but two games for you to enjoy!

First up, let’s cover the free weekend. This weekend as a Stadia Pro Subscriber, you’ll be able to play Madden 22 from September 9th until September 13th. In the very same weekend, you’ll also be able to jump into Rainbow Six Siege! Two very different games that will appeal to different audiences but a bumper weekend for games to try out if they aren’t already in your library.

PGA 2K21

That’s right, from tomorrow you’ll be able to claim PGA 2K21 as part of your Stadia Pro Subscription!

Play against the pros. Play with your crew. In PGA TOUR 2K21, you can play by the rules or create your own featuring a new PGA TOUR Career Mode, licensed courses and more! Powered by The Golf Club.

What stands out most for you to try this week? Are you hitting the course, the football field or breaching walls in RB6? Let us know what you think about the news!

Darkwood is now available on Stadia

We have a second game on Stadia today in the survival horror game Darkwood. This game was rated a couple of weeks ago and it has made its way to Stadia. The game started life in Early Access on Steam in 2014 before moving onto a full release in 2017. The game has very positive reviews on Steam.

Darkwood – a new perspective on survival horror. Scavenge and explore a rich, ever-changing free-roam world by day, then hunker down in your hideout and pray for the morning light.

Will you be picking this up?

Katamari Damacy REROLL now available on Stadia

Stadia have today added Katamari Damacy REROLL to the platform and it is on sale priced at £5.27. The game has generally received good scores on Metacritic and is also a bit of a cult classic. This is a welcome addition to the Stadia catalog and a number of people have expressed their delight at the game making its way onto Stadia.

The stop-at-nothing pushing prince is back and ready to reroll! When the King of All Cosmos accidentally destroys all the stars in the sky, he orders you, his pint-sized princely son, to put the twinkle back in the heavens above. Join the King and Prince of Cosmos on their wacky adventure to restore the stars – now in full HD!

The beloved roll-em-up game returns with fully updated graphics, completely recreated cutscenes and in full HD!

Are you going to pick this up?

Preview: Merek’s Market

Merek’s Market: Credit Big Village Games

Overview

We’ve been lucky enough to get an early look at Merek’s Market, which will be launching on PC, Playstation, Xbox and Stadia on September 15th. Merek’s Market is a builder/crafting game from Big Village Games, based in Sheffield, UK. It sets out to bring you an experience where you are crafting, building, haggling to try to make your business survive and thrive. One thing that is worth mentioning straight out of the gate is that Merek’s Market is the creation of a team of 2 that spans 40 years worth of experience in video games between them they have contributed to over 50 video game projects too.

Merek’s delightful British humour with its cast of Merek’s friends in Tess and Len. Tess is a west country friend out to bring your more blueprints for items so that your craft them in your soon to be busy store. Len arrives to add to the mix, hailing from Scotland, always trying to help by contributing where he can, buying bread and milk, finally he teaches you the art of haggling so that you can try to maximise your money for items in demand by the various customers who will grace you with their presence in your store, all set in medieval times.

This game can be enjoyed either solo or with up to 4 people local co-op, so you get a real mix between taking on those challenges on your own and then looking at squeezing in some fun family time or simply that time where you want to have a laugh with your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband.

In Merek’s market, whilst your primary focus is to craft, make money and help your business grow and survive. The element of competition is thrown into the mix. At each stage or level within the game, you will be up against the clock to see how much money you can truly earn but that’s not all. Each level has a Bronze, Silver and Gold rating for how well you do through each level, which then ties into a leaderboard to bring that competitive edge out in you and amongst your friends.

Merek’s Market Leaderboards

Graphics & Audio

Merek’s Market has an art style that perfectly matches the overriding theme of the game and more importantly, the voice acting that goes with it. It is really well optimised in terms of its performance and during my time with the game, there hasn’t really been any evidence of dropped frames, stuttering or any screen tearing.

It’s an art style that will appeal to many and is also one that will attract the kids in the family as the characters look friendly, easily identifiable and have an element of humour about them. So I would certainly say that their approach in game design has been to capture a varying age range and they’ve done this extremely well.

Whether you are crafting pottery, glass, shields, swords, sculptures or even carts. You can see that everything has been thought about and the items you craft have an intricacy, which leaves you feeling with a sense of achievement and accomplishment as you craft bigger and better items.

Merek’s Market: Crafting

Audio-wise, I think it’s fair that this is broken down into two elements. Firstly music, I found the music to be friendly, fun and strikes those notes of medieval times. After sitting down and playing Merek’s Market, I often found myself with the sounds ingrained in my brain and I couldn’t get them out of my head until I’d watched or listened to something else.

The other element to the audio is the voice acting. Now being from the UK, I can say that the elements of accents, humour completely landed with me and I got it. You find yourself listening to your friends who come to the shop to help, customers and placing those accents and personalities to people that you will have come across from all walks of life. The only thing this really left me questioning was that I got it, but will players further afield in the US, Europe and beyond resonate with the humour and those accents?

Even several hours in, I’m still unsure as to the answer to that question and I’m sure only time will tell and of course it also depends on the target audience for the game. I will re-affirm that I fully appreciated it and at points even had me throwing those accents out as I found myself narrating the characters lines as they displayed on-screen.

Merek’s Market: Haggling

Gameplay & Mechanics

Merek’s Market’s controls are easy to pick up, intuitive and will not take long to pick up at all. This lends itself to being a fantastically fun game, especially if you get your kids involved in gaming, meaning that you can buddy up with them and take on the campaign together.

I played through with a controller and found it really simple to navigate my way around and carry out the crafting.

Big Village Games have thrown some great variety into some of the gameplay/mechanics in terms of either remembering sequences when constructing statues, the button combinations to successfully get paid for the items you’ve crafted for customers when they come to pay for them, which also acts as a multiplier for each one that you get correct, meaning that you can continue to earn more money. Another element is when you get to the stage of crafting your cart, following the on-screen little movements in order to fill the bar up or rotating your left joystick to fit the wheels on the cart.

It really feels like they’ve tried to pack in some variation to ensure that not every challenge or crafting experience feels the same.

When it comes to crafting specific items, your crafting book is your friend. It will show you what materials go together in order to make the objects that the customers will require from you, but be mindful to pay attention though because as you progress, you’ll find that you need to combine two materials, to make a component and then couple that with other materials to make your final item.

As with most stores in real life, you get those characters that just come in to waste your time (I have retail experience so I appreciate the dread this fills staff with), so being up against the clock, time is of the essence and if you feel like the conversation with those characters is going nowhere and there’s no sale in sight, get hitting that Y button on the controller to get out of that conversation and get back to crafting!

As you play through the game you’ll find various things that try to stand in the way of your budding empire, whether it be competition, dragons, there’s nothing that will get in your way as you seek to be a success.

Merek’s Market: Dragon

Summary

If we go right back to the top, I mentioned that this game is constructed by a team of two and given the level of visual representation, details, dialogue and everything else that pulls Merek’s Market together to become the game that it is. Big Village should be extremely pleased with the end product because I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun with it and it would certainly be something I’d recommend for families with kids that want to get their first adventure under their belt.

My biggest frustrations with Merek’s Market is that despite the variety of items to craft, the scenarios you face that after a while it does begin to feel like it enters into becoming monotonous but given that traditionally this style of game is not something I would have played, I may be being a little on the harsh side there especially considering how well it did actually motivate me to come back and play more. So as much I do level some criticism here, I think it’s fair to say that this game is still great fun and will keep you occupied.

I smiled. the music was addictive and I even got in on the voice acting, so I would certainly say it’s well worth checking out and especially if you have a family as it will be a great couch co-op game that will bring laughter, confusion, fun, oh and chaos.

Keep your eyes on our YouTube channel too as we did a live first look of Merek’s Market, so you can see it in action with me at the helm of the controls.

In summary, a game launching in 2021 that can have a net thrown far and wide to capture its audience is always appreciated as it brings people together, gets more people involved and more importantly, brings you fun. Merek’s Market certainly does that but it will certainly need your British humour engaged to get the most out of its comedy value. I have real admiration and appreciation for what the team at Big Village have created with Merek, his friends and the game overall.

We’d like to extend our thanks to the team over at Big Village Games and their representatives for providing us with a preview/review key as we really appreciate these opportunities to have fun with new, up and coming titles.

Merek’s Market is due for release on September 15th on PC, Xbox, Playstation and Stadia, so there’s plenty of opportunities for you to pick it up and enjoy it.

Merek’s Market: Wizarding Statue

September Stadia Pro Titles Arrive

Stadia Controller

September arrives and so do the Stadia Pro games and this month there is a twist! You’ve got two extra games to claim. So earlier in the month, we covered the fact that Darksiders II, Little Big Workshop and Wavebreak! Well, Stadia fans today is your day to rejoice because the holy grail of pro games has finally arrived.

Here are those extra two treats that Stadia has in store for you this month.

Legend of Keepers

Legend of Keepers is the perfect mix between Dungeon Defender and Roguelite. You have been hired as a dungeon manager by the Dungeons Company. Your job is simple: protect their dungeons!

Leged on Keepers – Stadia

Ark: Survival Evolved

Yes, it is finally here, it’s arrived in the summer window. Stranded on the shores of a mysterious island, you must learn to survive. Use your cunning to kill or tame the primeval creatures roaming the land, and encounter other players to survive, dominate… and escape!

Ark: Survival Evolved – Stadia

Stadia Pro Games Announced for September

Stadia Logo

In a week absolutely packed with gaming content, we got the latest Stadia blog post yesterday and we know now what those Stadia Pro titles will be waiting for you to claim on September 1st. That wasn’t all we got through from the post, so let’s take a look at what else there was too.

First up, what I would possibly say is the biggest bit of news for the week, was that during the Destiny 2 event yesterday where they confirmed the next season, in the season of the lost AND full cross-play support! So ready up guardians, as a new adventure awaits.

Stadia Pro Games

As we said at the top, the Pro games for Stad have been confirmed for September and they are Darksiders 2, Little Big Workshop and Wavebreak.

Darksiders 2

Become the terrifying force that everything fears but nothing can escape. Awakened by the End of Days, Death, the most feared of the legendary Four Horsemen embarks on a quest to redeem his brother’s name. Along the way, the Horseman discovers that an ancient grudge may threaten all of Creation. Death lives!

Darksiders 2: E3 Trailer

Little Big Workshop

Imagine a magical factory, appearing right in your living room. A carefully planned masterpiece, where diligent workers throw together anything customers want. Rubber ducks and dressers, drones and electric guitars, scooters and other wonderful goods can be created from many different materials and sold for hard cash – cash you invest right back into your factory to get more machines, more workers and grow your business. In Little Big Workshop you become a factory tycoon!

Manage your workers, stations, machines and create awesome stuff as your little big workshop grows into your dream factory!

Little Big Workshop Stadia Release Trailer

Wavebreak

Wave Break is the world’s first skateBOATING game, inspired by arcade skateboarding classics. Grind, grab, kickflip and shoot your way through an explosive 80s crime-filled Miami Vice themed world.

Enjoy an episodic single-player campaign, ranked online multiplayer, multiple custom game modes, and an advanced park creator. From tropical beaches to frozen tundras, ride the waves and score the world’s biggest combo with style.

Wavebreak Stadia Trailer

That’s a wrap on September’s trio of pro games, what are your thoughts on them? Don’t forget to claim Blue Fire, Chronos and Gunsport before they leave Stadia Pro on 31st August!

The final piece of the blog was confirming that there is new content for Watchdogs Legion, with 2 new story missions and also the new free co-op mode available with Legion of the Dead, where you get to fight your way through an infestation of zombies through good old London town.

First hints of Stadia expansion into India

One of the markets that cloud gaming is trying to get into quickly is India and we may have the first hint of Stadia making its way there. In a newly released job listing Google are hiring for a Product Manager for Telco and Enterprise to work with the Indian market. Within this job listing it mentions to work with the Stadia team. The full quote is below.

Work collaboratively with cross-Cloud stakeholders including Anthos, AI/ML, Stadia engineering and product teams, Global telco solutions team, Global Network team, Telco partnerships, networking specialists, Outbound Product Managers, and Telco Customer success teams.

The job role is described as

You will be responsible for working with the growing engineering team in India and will have the dual role of working with the larger Product Management team in US, understanding the needs and missing and working with local Product Management and engineering teams to execute on the plan.

It mentions both the Stadia engineering team and product team so this could mean that both the white labelling and/or Stadia the consumer product team. This does mean that it will be happening soon. It is however a good sign that this could be happening at some stage. While this is early days in regard to the long awaited Indian expansion let’s hope it will happen soon.