Grood is a highly difficult 2D horizontal shooter. Other than a time slowing mechanic, there are no other highlighting features making this an average shooter at best.

The game has three difficulty settings: hard, hard, and hard (literally). Having a stiff difficulty setting doesn’t make the game extra fun, unfortunately.  Instead of offering a genuine challenge in which the player needs to refine skill with practice, enemies simply take too many hits to defeat.  Enemy placement can also be unfair, just as a string of sushi-looking enemies that are bullet sponges fly in a pattern that fills the screen, or encountering one-hit kill laser shooting enemies that are basically unavoidable, and constantly being faced against annoying heat-seeking missiles that hone your position throughout the campaign.  Making matters worse, there is no visual damage indicator; the ship doesn’t flash when damage is taken.  Even the UI doesn’t inform the player how much exact health is remaining.  Instead of listing a standard red energy bar, the screen starts to get fuzzy and cracks to indicate damage. If anything, this annoying system just gets in the way and makes the game look intentionally uglier.

Speaking of ugly, the weird cell-shaded models isn’t doing the presentation any favors.  The left trigger slow-down effect is nifty and all but the interface doesn’t tell the player when it can be activated or when it can be unleashed.  Even the playable ship is this awkward, round vessel that doesn’t seem like it should be flying in the first place. Enemy design falls into this same category. They are supposed to be evil mechanical machines but are really nothing more than incoming blobs. Perhaps the strangest inclusion is the day/night cycle. It has zero effect on gameplay but seems like there was some effort put into this moot effect.

The only replay value comes from the online leaderboards and local co-op.  There are no unlockables, nothing to level-up, and there are only a couple other sub-weapons that can be found during play.  These extra weapons do not make the game any more fun and actually make the difficulty even higher; the shotgun blast doesn’t work as well as the standard peashooter, for example.  Starting over from the very beginning ever time without any checkpoint option fits the difficulty motif but doesn’t respect the player’s time or efforts.

Without any replay value or extra features, Grood is a shooter only the extremely dedicated fans will enjoy.

Also available on Switch and PS4.

SCORE: 5/10

Not To Be Confused With: Snood (Bust-A-Move clone)
Also Not To Be Confused With: Groot (Guardians of the Galaxy)
Wait For It: Ikaruga 2

By: Zachary Gasiorowski, Editor in Chief
Twitter: @ZackGaz

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