Remember the age of demakes when every game had a spin-off on handheld devices which kept the core idea
of the game but often switched perspectives and genre?
If it was still that time and Dark Souls had an official mobile game spin-off, then Grimvalor would be the result.
The similarities are neither subtle nor unintended, but Dark Souls is a big inspiration to live up to – so does Grimvalor manage to pull it off?
As soon as you begin playing Grimvalor you will notice that it’s spectacularly polished and the
developers clearly took it very seriously.
You’re asked to choose between two genders for your character and are thrown into the gameplay immediately.
The game follows a 2.5D perspective, so it’s fairly straightforward for the most part and has enough hints to help you out at every step of the way.
You’ll be fighting many different types of enemies which includes cool boss fights, and the diversity is most certainly a highlight of the game since enemies are unique to different parts of the map.
Grimvalor has its fair share of RPG elements such as leveling up, equipping different kinds of load-outs, and finding upgrades for your character, but they are not too essential as you can beat most of the game even with the default equipment.
You also find new weapons in the game as you progress so the experience always remains fresh.
The gameplay is simple due to having mobile controls but has some of the most responsive and fun combat that I’ve experienced with a touch-based game.
Another thing that I love about the controls is that it does not feel automated, which is a problem I usually have with action mobile games in general.
I would have liked if the game was a bit more difficult, even in the early stages, but accessibility is something to be considered important for mobile gaming and the developers certainly had that in mind considering the fact there’s even the option to replace all spider-like enemies if one has a phobia.
The graphics of Grimvalor are gorgeous and there is a high-end setting for devices that can handle it
which is incredibly crisp and a delight to look at.
The game avoids aesthetic repetition by adding many different color schemes for various areas of its world.
The UI is simple but matches the game’s atmosphere, and you will very easily notice the Dark Souls inspiration to the point where words like ‘Victory’ is even in similar fonts. You even find similar statues to rest in which lets you upgrade your stats.
The sound quality is another great aspect of the game, as the music is very mature and well-produced.
There is also voice acting for some of the cutscenes which is surprisingly well-narrated and truly adds to the overall presentation which is already one of the best in the market.
One thing that you should keep in mind is that the game only lets you play the first act for free, so you will have to purchase it for the full experience which will provide you roughly the average length of gameplay as a console hack ‘n slash game.
In the free version, you only get to play around 1.5-2 hours of the game which is just the first act and it also has occasional ads that pop up every once in a while after you enter a new area.
The game having a price is most certainly justified for something this well made, but adding ads in a demo is a bit…desperate.
Grimvalor lacks the gameplay depth of Dark Souls but captures the atmosphere and heart, and doing that as
a mobile game is no easy task.
For fans of true single-player experiences with no hidden microtransaction baiting, this game is not short of a blessing.