With the popularity of MMO RPGs, it is increasingly difficult to find a good single-player game. But a number of years ago, I discovered this amazing exception. Produced by Almost Human Games, released in December 2012, LoG is a 3D grid-based dungeon crawler reminiscent of Dungeon Master and similar games from the 80s, but with exceptional, state of the art, graphics and sound.
A group of prisoners are sentenced to certain death by exiling them to the secluded Mount Grimrock for vile crimes they may or may not have committed. Unbeknownst to their captors, the mountain is riddled with ancient tunnels, dungeons and tombs built by crumbled civilizations long perished now. If they ever wish to see daylight again and reclaim their freedom the ragtag group of prisoners must form a team and descend through the mountain, level by level.
Players control a party of four adventurers (Fighter, Mage, or Rogue of various races). You can select a pre-generated party, or build one yourself. There are three difficulty levels: easy, normal, and hard. I’m sure there are those that can manage to survive on the hard setting, but I found normal to be so much of a challenge that I restarted on easy mode in order to get through.
I really enjoyed the overall game mechanics. Combat runs smoothly, and the unique spell system was quite enjoyable. There is also a simple skill system that adds a little strategy in developing your adventurers. But there is much more than combat. Navigating your way through the dungeon requires you to locate secret doors, survive deadly traps, and solve complicated puzzles.
Fortunately, there are player sites out there with step-by-step walk-through tutorials (with Game Pressure’s tutorial being the best), without which I never would have gotten past many of the obstacles.
You can buy the game directly from the publishers for $14.99 (imo a fantastic bargain) or you can get it through gog.com or steam. Of course, the steam version requires the steam client to play.
In addition to the game, you can also design your own dungeon. Of all the editors I have ever seen, this is by far the simplest, most straight-forward one I have ever used. Each level starts out as a 32×32 grid. You click on squares to create open space. You select objects from a drop down menu and place them by clicking where you want them. If you want a key or pressure plate to open a door, you place the door and the trigger, select the trigger (such as a pressure plate), click “add connector” and select the object you want it to affect (such as a door). This is all done visually, with checkboxes and dropdown boxes to specify options. A novice can literally create a simple dungeon in a matter of minutes. The detailed Modding Guide walks you through everything you need to know.
Although simple to use, there are enough features to create a very complex and challenging dungeon. The editor even supports LUA scripting, for those that want to incorporate even more advanced functionality.
You can test the dungeon as you go with a “play mode” that allows you to experience your dungeon as you are creating it.
Sharing Custom Dungeons
Naturally, there are a great many player-created dungeons out there that you can download and play. I’ve only tried a few, but I am amazed at the ingenuity of the players out there. Their dungeons rival that which came with the game itself.
I am fascinated by the ease with which one can create their own dungeon. I’ve only played with the editor relatively briefly, but have already created a fairly intricate dungeon level. Hopefully, I will find the time to expand it into a full-blown dungeon and share it as well.
Legend of Grimrock II
Almost Human Games released a sequel in October, 2014. This time, the party finds themselves shipwrecked on an island. Instead of being limited to the constraints of a dungeon grid, the action now takes place largely outside in a much more wide open environment.
The challenges are more varied, new classes are added, and the overall gameplay is a notable improvement upon an already amazing game. Even the dungeon editor sees a marked improvement, with additional options to support the many new features of the game.
I would strongly suggest both versions of the game. They both warrant playing many times, and with downloadable player-created dungeons, you will never tire of the content.