Remember the moment you found out that most fairy tales weren’t originally the happy stories the Disney Corporation would have you believe, but rather brutal morality lessons? American McGee’s Grimm manages to turn that childhood disillusion into an episodic game (this review covers the first three of 23 30-minute episodes, to be released weekly on GameTap.com), by playing off those dark origins.
As a mean bugger named Grimm, you sprint through a variety of fairy-tale lands perverting everything within your small sphere of influence. Daisies become man-eating plants, trees shrivel, barrels turn to… well, exploding barrels. As more of the level goes sinister, the size and potency of your sphere of yuck increases. Dirtying the pseudo puppet show world is devilishly satisfying - it’s a tad unnerving how dark it gets occasionally, (dead kids on teeter-totters? Really?), but there’s enough dark charm to pull it off.
Sadly, that charm is about all Grimm has going for it, because there’s no real challenge here. Each stage has cleaners that reverse your work, but Grimm works so much faster that victory is a matter of running around the world until you win. When you must buttstomp in order to change larger objects, you’re given two cutscenes and a giant sign that says “Buttstomp Here” as hints. Really. Audio is equally rough, with Grimm’s quips repeating far too often and a looping soundtrack that can be maddening. What a bummer. Grimm comes out of the gate loaded with charm and armed with that greatest of rarities - a fresh gameplay concept - and squanders it with bad design choices.
PC Gamer scores games on a percentage scale, which is rounded to the closest whole number to determine the GamesRadar score.
PCG Final Verdict: 61% (above average)
Jul 30, 2008