Grim Nights Review
A Zombie Survival Management Game
Written by Ray D. on December 29th, 2018.
Grim Nights is a single-player, colony management sim with zombies. It is developed and published on Steam by Edym Pixels, and is available for just $2.99. It’s similar to games like Fallout Shelter and This War of Mine. In the game, players are tasked with commanding a colony of villagers to build, farm, train, mine, defend against zombies, and more. Grim Nights features a decent variety of enemy types, building choices, unit specialties, and other elements to keep play varied. It comes with a short campaign with the option to continue playing thereafter.
Simple, Relaxing, Addictive.
Gameplay in Grim Nights is very simple and easy to enjoy. Just click on your units, give them commands, and let them do the work. There are a variety of different tasks you can assign your villagers, and each new villager is created with a random perk (or no perk at all) that makes them better suited for certain tasks. Your goal is to survive and eventually thrive by amassing resources, upgrading and building new structures, and increasing your population. While doing all of this you are constantly under pressure by the threat of a zombie horde. Every night at hour 20, the zombie tomb releases a wave of enemies to come and besiege your village. While not an overpowering threat at the beginning, if you don’t remember to stay prepared, the zombies can get the best of you.
Grim Nights is relaxing and calm. The pace is not too fast to be frantic, but not too slow to be boring. There isn’t a massive number of complex options to overwhelm you, but rather just enough to keep you working towards something. A simple and easy save system means that if you make a mistake or things get out of hand, you can always go back and do something differently. New elements are introduced over time with the passing of days: new enemies every few hordes, new buildings and upgrades as you collect the resources, and even a few surprises like the Mogha. You have to survive 13 days to see the end of the campaign, and there is sure to be at least one new experience every day.
Not Without Flaw.
While most of my experience with Grim Nights was pleasant, there were a few notable flaws. The first and most noticeable issue I had with this game was that it was extremely unsightly. I don’t say that because it’s a pixel-graphic title. I love pixel graphics and find them endearing and cute. I say it because the images are muddy, and all of the colors blend together in ways they really shouldn’t. It’s easy to lose a unit because his shirt blends in with the background too much or miss an item because it takes up about one single pixel. Units stand in tight groups and there is no easy way to distinguish them while grouped. A quality set of keyboard shortcuts and a ticker in the bottom right of the screen help to find things that are lost and stay updated when things change, but it does not eliminate the fact that the game is hard to look at sometimes.
Controls in Grim Nights, while simple, are not always perfect. As I mentioned before, units have a tendency to group up and it becomes very difficult to select them individually or as a specific group aside from setting squad numbers using CTRL + NUM hotkeys. Telling units to go to a point that involves climbing up or down ladders is also inconvenient, as you have to first tell them to climb to the right level by clicking the ladder, then tell them where to go. You cannot, for instance, tell them to go from the tavern to a stone deposit on the second level of the mine. You must first tell them to go to the second level of the mine, wait for them to get there, and then tell them to go get the stone. Attacking enemies is a similarly frustrating experience as you have to click on their tiny bodies, and they move quite quickly. Thankfully, if you get your soldiers close enough and deselect them, they’ll usually work it out themselves.
I experienced a handful of bugs in Grim Nights as well, but none too game-breaking. There was a bug (which has since been patched) that allowed you to sometimes infinitely upgrade a house, causing it to produce a ton of food by itself. The worst bug I encountered was an issue where moving the camera with directional keys would distort the background music. It didn’t break anything except the relaxed immersion, which I believe is a big point of the game.
My time with Grim Nights was overall pleasant. I enjoyed the game and found it very addictive. A question I often ask myself when reviewing games is, “Will I continue to play this once the review is over?” For many games, even great ones, I find that answer to be “no”. But, I think in the case of Grim Nights, I might just come back to it from time to time. At $2.99 on Steam, I would definitely recommend you try this game.
Graphics: This game is ugly. Not because it's pixelated, but because it is poorly pixelated.
Sound: The sounds in the game are simple and well placed, with a nice soundtrack to set the pace. A bug that distorts the background music takes away from an otherwise great-sounding game.
Gameplay: It is a lot of fun and very relaxing. A few minor control issues, but otherwise a great village management game.
Controls: Simple and easy to master, with a few notable issues. Nothing too unbearable. This game controls well enough.
Replay Value: If you like this kind of game, you will like it twice. A simple gameplay loop and a decent pace make this game very replayable.
Final Rating: 8/10. If you're into colony management sims like Fallout Shelter and love zombies, this is a must-play.
At $2.99 on Steam, I would definitely recommend you try this game.
About The Author
Hey guys, Ray here. I'm a lifelong gamer with a love for all things dev. I'm an Indie freak and wannabe dev myself. I try to look at all new games with a sense of wonder and admiration. Every game is somebody's pride and joy, and my hope is to help them share it with the world.
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