Legend of Grimrock is an old-school dungeon crawling game which is inspired by games like Dungeon Master oder Eye of the Beholder.
The game tells a story of four criminals whose crimes are forgotten by getting tossed into the maw of mount Grimrock. A massive mountain which holds a huge dungeon of untold horrors. No one has ever managed to escape this atrocity. No one but, well you might guessed it, you !
You are in control of the four criminals. You can either chose a preset of four ready-to-go characters or create your own party. Once you are in the Dungeon your job is to find a way out. You can move your party from tile to tile and can only perform 90° turns to the left or right. This sounds quite simple and to many quite boring, but Legend of Grimrock does a fantastic job of keeping things fresh and interesting.
As you progress through the dungeon you have to solve puzzles which become increasingly harder and sometimes force you to think in unconventional ways. But they are never unfair and can be solved with a decent amount of thinking and experimenting. The puzzles are the highlights of the game which are quite rewarding in most cases and keep you motivated as you progress deeper into the dungeon.
The combat system is rather simple but still challenging. As already mentioned you control four characters which are always standing on the same tile. On the bottom right of the screen you got the avatars of you characters which are also used to control you characters. If you left-click on a equipped melee weapon you will perform an attack with this weapon. The twist about this system is that the upper row of your characters represent the front row on the tile you are standing. Characters in the back row cant hit targets with melee weapons / attacks (with a few exceptions). So you are forced to build a solid mix of beefy warriors / melee characters that stand in front and weaker but also very useful range characters that stand in the back and cast spells or use throwing weapons or other types of ranged attacks.
If you have a mage in your party things really become interesting. The spell-system requires you to combine several runes in order to sucessfully cast a spell. And you have to do this during the fight in real time. So things can get a bit stressful if you fight off several enemies because you still want to use your other characters. There are no shortcuts you could use. You have to memorize the runes and the combinations to put your mage to use. To some of you this might sound disappealing but if you get the hang of it, it feels really great.
Technically the developers have done a great job. Some light effects in Legend of Grimrock are really great to look at, the textures are very sharp, the animations of enemies are great and fluid.
One of the downsides of this game is that it may lack a bit of variation. There are only 3 different looks in the dungeon. Some of you might think that this it no problem because a dungeon is a dungeon but even in that particular scenario you could do more than three different types of wall textures.
All in All Legend of Grimrock is a great expierence if you like solving challenging but rewarding puzzles and if you love exploration because you get to explore a lot. There are a lot of secrets to uncover in this vast dungeon.