Episode 1. "A Boy Learns What Fear Is"
of American McGee's Grimm
was free so I decided to give it a go on both PC and laptop.TL;DR
– Cute, basic/easy game with mildly entertaining characters and stories. Will bore the average adult gamer. Is good for mindless “butt-stomping”.
Growing up I came across a series of books by Japanese author, Misao Kiryu (桐生操) titled roughly along the lines of The Horrible Truth Behind Grimms' Fairy Tales
. I think they're officially known by the Japanese title Honto wa osoroshii Gurimu dowa
(本當は恐ろしいグリム童話) or Dreadful in Truth
. As there are probably only Japanese and Korean versions available (unfortunate 'cos they're a great read), chances are they’re unfamiliar titles but this is what sprang to mind when I ran this game. They're three volumes filled with the re-telling of famous Grimms' Fairy Tales with a very
sinister twist. In Kiryu's books, Snow White is r*ped by King Dad (incest), her knight in shining armour asks to buy Snow White's sleeping body thinking it is a corpse (necrophilia), Cinderella goes right to home base the night she meets Prince Charming at the ball (fornication), Sleeping Beauty was also r*ped/"pricked finger on spindle" and the guy she ends up with either likes transvestites or is a closeted gay(?) because he'll only bed her in men's attire and Rapunzel locked in her tower was a pr*stitute, Dame Gothel(the witch), her pimp.
I could go on, it was three volumes after all but instead I'll leave you with some articles in English to quench any morbid curiosity.
There's quite a bit of truth in the pages of Kiryu's series as many of the delightful stories we heard growing up were originally made to scare all into fear and wariness against the outside world. Brutality, sexual content, wicked villainy and death were all too common. There are plenty of materials on the "actual" fairy
tales. For some interesting reading that may ruin the stories you have come to love, Emily Temple's article
(2012 piece) is a beginner's paradise.
Grimm isn’t as hardcore but is basically a watered-down version.
Grimm contains playful animation and cheeky puns with a somewhat stimulating story along with an abundance of cinematics between plays. It’s like an interactive storybook where the controls remind me of a beginner’s version of Super Mario 64
. The graphics run smoothly on my low grade HP laptop but with it being such a colourful and detailed game, it obviously looks better displayed on a bigger monitor. I’m sure it could keep a toddler pretty happy for a few minutes, which is saying a lot. The first time I was bored and downloaded the game on my BF’s PC, skipped all the stories, just concentrating on progression. Then I started getting stuck in places where I’d have to jiggle my way out until at one point after a few scenes I couldn’t do it anymore and was completely stuck. I had to force close the game and left it at that.
When I came back to it a second time I used my laptop, which is a feeble thing that cannot run high performance games but luckily did fine with Grimm
. You can control Grimm using a keyboard/mouse or both and it’s spectacularly easy to familiarise yourself with. If you’re used to FPS games, using a mouse will add fluidity but if you’re easily nauseous as I am, stick to the keyboard and it’ll be buckets more pleasant. :)Tip 1:
The game is ambiguous with instructions when “butt-stomping” at designated points in the Grimm world. When you play, you’re filling up the Dark-O-Meter at the top of the screen to the indicated goal first. Then, and only then can you butt-stomp under the butt-stomp arrow. It appears before you need it so when I didn’t comprehend this at the start I was stomping like mad under the arrow trying to figure out how to progress. :P
On my laptop I decided to go through the whole thing and listen to the story properly. It was surprisingly thought-provoking. Grimm the dwarf doesn’t like naïve, happy things and thinks children should know the truth about “the dark side of the moon” instead. Yet he’s a likeable character with a quirky, macabre sense of humour that seems misanthropic on the outside and philanthropic on the inside.
Once you finish watching the initial introduction (you can skip all the cinematics though I advise against it as it is half the fun) you have the choice between the Light Theatre and Dark Theatre. 6 scenes await you, each averaging 3 minutes. The faster you finish each scene, the better. You/Grimm are in a delightful little kingdom where everyone is dancing, joyful and ecstatic to clean stuff. You must walk, jump and best of all, “butt-stomp” on everything and anything and turn the scenery dreary, the people menacing, and practically just everything apocalyptic. There’s more to the actual story in each episode. In episode 1 Grimm wants the player to discover the meaning of fear
in both an overtly depressing light (Light Theatre) and a positively realistic manner (Dark Theatre). Which is actually a refreshingly enlightened point of view for both adults and children alike. Tip 2:
It proves helpful not to skip the shorter clips between games that show you what you should do next or you may get lost. Also, use butt-stomping like crazy to save time.
So now I’m thinking, it isn’t that bad and could be pretty educational. But then come words like fondle
and butt-stomping on top of things can kill dogs you’ve brought to the dark side into a splatter of red meat flying all over the darn screen while gleeful villagers awaiting execution are turned into hanging corpses. At this point it’s confusing to tell if Grimm
was made for a target audience of children, adults or kidults. The attention to detail is imaginative enough and I kept a watch out for how different objects in the game “turned” albeit usually not being one to dwell on surrounding graphics/illustration. But I have a niece and nephew, ages 3 and 4 and I wouldn’t let them play this. It might be good, simple fun for adults who think dark things are cute.
When all is said and done, it’s still an entertaining game and well made apart from a few glitches/bugs. It is mainly concerned with the controls such as the accuracy of the hovering butt-stomp arrows failing the player, at times making it difficult to find the right spot to place your final butt-stomp. This causes the player to re-start a scene completely to get past the bug. It froze once but I can’t be sure it was the game’s fault or my lack of a proficient processor. As mentioned, crevices or cracks I’d get stuck in were tiresome. I had to give up on this game and pick it up again three times (PC/laptop) because of various problems.
No part of it was even close to so awful that I disliked it but the bugs got to me substantially and to vote up a game I’m uninterested in buying feels deceptive to me so here I am writing both good and bad and then telling you not to bother. If you’re interested in trying the demo, go for it. Relatively, it’s a cheap game and great quality for the price. I just can’t figure out the objective for adults playing this game. It lacks an addictive quality and has some mildly educational merits that would rarely interest a grown up. It’s darkly sweet but it’d be like buying an ornamental ceramic bunny for my dressing table and just looking at it from time to time. I actually feel pretty satisfied after reading Wikipedia’s episode list for Grimm
and feel like I’ve had my fill of light, gothic, storytelling.