Have you never heard of Grindstone? Don't worry about it! The charming puzzle game was released as a launch title for Apple Arcade in September 2019, which means that it simply rushed by the majority of the gaming community. Since December 2020, Grindstone has also been available for the Switch and will hopefully get the attention it deserves. The game is not only good, it also comes from a well-known team: Capybara Games, an independent studio in Toronto that works with games such as Below, Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP, Super Time Force Ultra or Might & Magic: Clash of Heroes has proven that it understands creative works with a distinctive touch.

Colorful splatter fun: When Jorj reaches out with the broadsword, the tatters fly.

Colorful splatter fun: When Jorj reaches out with the broadsword, the tatters fly.

Source: PC Games

Blue warrior sees red

Grindstone presents itself as a tactical puzzle with pleasantly clear rules. You play Jorj, a blue-skinned warrior who is on a manageable playing field. Now blue, red, green, yellow or purple enemies appear randomly there. Round after round it is important to mark as many opponents as possible of one color. The more opponents we select one after the other, the longer chains are formed – if you are satisfied with the selection, all you have to do is press a button and Jorj begins to roar through the given path. This works just as well with the switch controller as with the touchscreen, so it doesn't matter whether you play on TV or on the move.

Not without my gem

Of course, there are still a few things to consider that give the game its spice. Above all, the eponymous grindstones (grinding stones) are decisive: If you have formed a chain of ten opponents or more, Jorj receives a magnificent clunk as a reward, which then ends up randomly on the playing field.

Grindstone put to the test

Grindstone put to the test

Source: PC Games

The highlight: As soon as you build this grindstone into Jorj's path, you can switch from one opponent's color to the next, which means that particularly long series of attacks can be created across the playing field. But be careful: the opponents get ready for an attack over time. Therefore you have to make sure that Jorj's rage does not end next to an active enemy, otherwise he will lose a heart at the end of the round; after three hits the level has failed and you have to start over. Practical: Unsafe fields can be faded in with the push of a button, so it's always fair.

Enough variety

In each level there is a goal to be fulfilled before the exit opens. Most of the time you have to defeat a certain number of enemies, but sometimes there are also special tasks. Because Grindstone offers a pleasing variety: on some maps there are, for example, explosive barrels, lava pits or puddles of slime, in other levels you have to push stone blocks onto switches or kill special types of opponents. Even small boss fights loosen up the gameplay again and again.

The theme changes every ten levels and new elements such as these explosive barrels are introduced.

The theme changes every ten levels and new elements such as these explosive barrels are introduced.

Source: PC Games

Collect and do handicrafts

In each level there is also a treasure chest that can be opened with a key and a chain of ten. In addition, a king always spawns who can be defeated by a chain of five, and occasionally a jewel thief also comes along. They all have only one function, namely to discard resources and blueprints. We need both to return to the inn between the levels, where we can make new equipment for Jorj. Special clothes give the angry blue skin important resistances or other advantages, shields block enemy attacks and with magical swords and bows Jorj can make a few special attacks in case he is in a tight spot again. But be careful: most equipment has to be replaced after use, so it should be used sparingly.

Between the levels we visit the inn, where we have useful armor, weapons and consumables made. (Source: PC Games)

Lots of playtime

With more than 200 levels, Grindstone offers loads of games for the money, 20 hours and more are easy. In addition, there are two types of daily changing challenges, including an online scoreboard and your own rules of the game – so you can pass the time even further after playing through.

Grindstone is in Nintendo eShop available for around 17 euros, the texts are optionally available in German.

Motivating, easy to understand concept
Variety through new level modules and opponents
Considerable scope (over 200 levels)
Lots of unlockable equipment
Sympathetic graphic style
Daily challenges and leaderboards
The basic game principle always remains the same
Not a real story

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