Survival is instinct. We share the planet with billions of living beings who spend every day staying alive. As George Carlin said: “That is the secret of life…not to die!” It is also the secret of video games. Survival is now a genre of its own, albeit human-centric. Most of the games focus on you, a human in a human world/apocalypse, surviving. But what about the other 99.999999 percent of living things? Did we never get his perspective on survival?
We make. Grounded from Obsidian Entertainment offers a new look at survival through the eyes of four teenagers (and hundreds of hungry bugs). An Xbox exclusive, it left early access this week and the full release is now on Xbox Game Pass. It is like Honey I shrunk the kids-Satisfies-Fortnite. It is an eye-catching and fun adventure full of terrifying spiders.
Seriously, spiders are scary in this game. So much so that the developers put in a feature to dim his little spider and made sure to call him in a special prompt before even starting the game. These spiders aren’t depicted as hyper-realistic nightmare fuel either, but they do feel so real. Why?
Because Grounded manages to immerse you in its world and play by its rules. You don’t experience a human-sized spider that is in our world. There is a dissonance there that is comforting. Instead, you experience a normal wolf spider from the perspective of a normal insect and your human brain goes haywire. He understands that he would have no chance. It is horrible and amazing.
Mechanically, Grounded follow the conventions of the genre. You wake up the size of an insect with no background and begin collecting twigs and pebbles to craft rudimentary tools. As you gather tools and experiment, you unlock blueprints for better and more complicated things. A constant stream of objectives keeps you busy on the map, and as far as grinds go, Grounded it’s good
This is further enhanced by Obsidian’s talent for level design and creativity. You choose one of four characters to start with and can play online with up to three other people in a shared world or one you’ve already started yourself. The map is packed with ’90s vibes and found narrative, and the slightly cartoony feel of it all helps keep things light. Fake brands, like the He-Man Yoked Girth knockoff, will make you smile. Then you get eaten by a spider.
The advantage of being eaten by the spider is that you can respawn and get your stuff. The shame is realizing that an ant ate your food while you were dead. This is also true for your base of operations. Grounded It feeds you a wacky sci-fi story to get around the map, but your real goal is building. Build a bug-proof fortress and show those wolf spiders that humans are more than just a really big pair of shoes.
Grounded is now available on Game Pass. It is also available for purchase on Steam and Xbox.