Grounded is one of the most unique co-op survival games in recent memory, invoking 90s nostalgia for anyone who grew up watching Honey I Shrunk the Kids, and borrowing aesthetically from Pixar animations, it could be the game of the summer for the young and young at heart, but will it be any good?
Grounded feels like a triple-A title, undoubtedly due to the literal truckload of money Obisdeon now has at their disposal thanks to being owned by Microsoft, aesthetically it’s stunning, it feels like you are part of a Pixar movie, and considering its target audience, they could not have chosen a better aesthetic.
Mechanically it’s challenging enough to keep adults interested, and the gameplay loop is easy to pick up, like all survival games, crafting plays a huge role.
The Combat in the demo is rather basic due to being limited to 30 minute of playtime, but what I was able to test was pretty enjoyable, and very much on par with any other Unreal Engine survival game.
The survival mechanics are rudimentary, mostly focusing on eating and drinking, its a far stretch from the over-complicated vitamin management of Unreal Engine titles such as Atlas and Scum.
I did not get to experience the base building aspect during the demo; however, our full review upon launch will certainly venture into that aspect.
Gamepass & Crossplay.
Launching day one on Xbox Gamepass for PC and Xbox One ensures a potentially massive audience will at least try the game, the addition of crossplay ensures longevity as the more gamers you have interact, the better it is for a title’s lifespan.
I feel that if Grounded launches without any form of public servers/matchmaking it will severely hamper its potential, while the game’s appeal to minors could be the motivation behind excluding public matchmaking.
It’s far more dangerous to restrict it to friends only, you will have kids going to Reddit/Discord/Steam and asking for randoms to add them to friends, potentially exposing them to far more dangerous people long term and opening up the risk of grooming.
This is a similar logic flaw we see with Minecraft Dungeons, and I hope it’s not the way Microsoft intends to proceed in future with its family-friendly/mass appeal titles.
Let’s not risk turning Grounded into another hunting ground for sickoes.
It’s certainly a good game, but it’s not without its flaws.