Legend of Grimrock and Legend of Grimrock II came out in 2012 and 2014 respectively. They are two of my favorite games of the last 10 years. I’d put them probably in my top 20 favorite games of all time, maybe even my top 10 (though it’s harder and harder every year to think in such small numbers with all the amazing games coming out!).
They are both first person, tile based, dungeon crawlers - a beloved and ancient type of RPG that is largely dead and often remembered more through nostalgia than actual game quality. I recently played through Shining in the Darkness and it was a goddamn nightmare.
The Legend of Grimrock games are, I would argue, the two best games in this genre. The first one is a classic dungeon crawl - you are trapped in Grimrock prison and must fight your way down, floor by floor, to win your freedom. The sequel expands this tile-based world to an entire island, improving upon every part of what makes the first game great with beautiful new areas and even larger puzzles.
Each of the games is designed to near perfection. The tile based movement is balanced incredibly well with the flow of combat. The art style and graphics are perfectly meshed to make an enthralling experience. The puzzles are fun and feel like a real part of the world. The combinations of different adventurers makes it have a high replay value and a different experience for each player. The worlds are built alongside the plot as exploration is rewarded not only by better gear but also more knowledge about your surroundings.
These two games took this classic genre and modernized it to make a smooth, enjoyable, absorbing experience. The problem is....no one seems to know what happened to the studio, Almost Human. The website is still up but has not had a blog update since July 2015 announcing Legend of Grimrock for iPhone. The forums are still used, largely because of a still active modding community.
Some of the devs from the studio moved to another studio called Ctrl Alt Ninja. This article announces Ctrl Alt Ninja’s game, Druidstone: The Secret of Menhir Forest, which released only a month ago and states the devs were tired of working on Grimrock games but doesn’t really say why only some left or if Almost Human is still operating or not. I haven’t played Druidstone but judging by the lukewarm reception, trailers, and screenshots it doesn’t seem to have hit that same perfect spot of balance that Legend of Grimrock 1 and 2 did.
So what could the future hold? Well, if the Grimrock games came to Switch I know they’d be a day one purchase for me. Playing them portable would be amazing. Is a third game in development? I could not find a single piece of news to show that it is. The series is probably dead, and reforming a studio after many have left would likely mean a change in the team working on the games. It’s hard to recapture that magic. One can dream though...and I know one of my most hoped for games is Legend of Grimrock 3.