Genre: Open world FPS
Developer: Raul Parada
Release Date: August 8th, 2020
Edited by AlexKnight2005
Sometimes you run across a game that just makes you wonder. Many questions and very few answers. What does this game want to be? Are we looking at a collect-a-thon or a wave defense game? With Gronions we have both, though I can’t say it is for the better.
Much like other games of the early PS1 era, there is no real story given in-the game. It starts and lets you go. As you explore, you find little shiny things to collect and enemies to kill. In certain areas, you get locked in an arena with your core and must protect it with your life. After clearing the waves, you’re back out exploring and collecting again.
Gameplay switches between the third person on-foot sections and flight sections using the “space pod.” In the flight sections, you can switch to a first-person view, though it’s probably best to stay in the third person. All of this switching and collecting is part of the adventure mode of the game.
In the base title, you also get the Frenzy game mode. This is just a ground-based wave defense, without the exploration and collecting. As you complete waves, the arena dynamically changes to throw out several unique challenges, but ultimately it is not much different from the core sections of the base adventure mode. There is also a third mode on offer as DLC, but it’s more of the same except with the space pod. Odyssey mode sees you defending a core ship as it travels through a changing environment. Ultimately though, more of the same action you would see in the main campaign. This DLC mode will set you back an additional $5.00, though I don’t feel its worth the price.
There is just something off about the way this game feels. Controls are floaty and a bit sluggish during platforming and exploration segments, and space pod segments feel off as well. I don’t know quite how to explain the feel of the game other than to say not satisfying. You do get multiple weapons throughout your journeys, but they fall into one of two categories, either nearly useless or overpowered. The combat is much like the rest of the package, a mixed bag.
Graphics and sound are next on the table. The game has a lot of mixed colors. The creatures you fight don’t stand out very well against the dark alien landscapes you travel through. The sounds have that traditional stock sci-fi feels to them, and the music is not the most memorable thing I’ve ever heard. It all works well enough, but won’t be winning any “best sound design” awards any time soon.
I did experience a few crashes during my time with the game, mostly related to trying to figure out how to switch views or take random screenshots. The game feels very unpolished and very prone to breakage and bugs. The options menu is not much of a help either as there are minimal settings to customize. There are at least some options for keyboard remapping as well as slight tweaks to controller mappings, though it is not a full solution on that front.
On the other hand, the environments give off that alien wonder. Soundscapes like waterfalls fit well with the environment to draw you in. Though the colors may not be the best, the environments are still well designed.
There is no tutorial or hand-holding in the game at all. This leads to a great sense of mystery and wonder as you explore the various environments, trying to piece together what is precisely going on. You will eventually run into new weapons and abilities that will aid you in your progress forward toward the end game. You’ll be running all over the various maps, switching between collecting items and upgrades, or blasting foes who wish to see the destruction of the various cores on the map. You’ll be exploring many landscapes, and even using the space pod to fly between areas to take out the numerous enemies scattered all over the place.
I wanted to enjoy this title however, in practice, the quality is quite inferior. Multiple crashes prevented me from making much progress, and I’m now running a fairly good system. I wanted to try the advertised first-person mode, but every time I tried switching over, there was that crash waiting to smack me in the face. On top of this, the floaty gameplay was simply not very enjoyable. I faced many deaths due to the poor contrast between enemies and the environment, and in some cases, just could not see them at all.
- Mixed gameplay experiences
- Unique alien landscapes
- Solid sound design
- Controls take some getting used to
- Performance bugs when switching views
- Unfocussed gameplay
GlitchedVision gives Gronions a Drastik Measure of 3.5 (35)
This one is honestly a hard pass. If you want to check it out, you can grab it for $25 on steam, but I would wait for a sale at least.