Gruntz brings good goo to games

There has been a certain type of computer brain game that seems to get a small revival every couple of years. The biggest of these was Lemmings. Now, it’s almost the end of the 90’s and it’s time for a new brain-teasing obsession.

Gruntz, a game full of protoplasmic goo and infantile humor, provides an entertaining mix of puzzles and action. Set in a cartoonish world not a thing like our own, we become involved in a race of creatures called Gruntz.

Gruntz are native to the aptly named land of Groan. Chased into a wormhole by evil Disgruntled creatures, the Gruntz must try to make their way through new worlds and back home with your help. Not War and Peace, but enough of a story to setup the game.

And it’s fun.

That is the main point of the game, a little comic mischief, just like the label on the side of the box says. What could be the harm in that? Well, I found out the answer to that question. While the game starts out with an engaging and well-done animated sequence, you are introduced to the Gruntz, specifically one named Grumley.

Grumley, and his smartass comments and quips, are usually very amusing, though if you play the game enough it does end up being a little annoying. Grumley’s voice is used as sort of feedback to let you know that he’s understood your instructions or needs something, so you better get used to it.

The first couple of screens guide you through the world and let you train using the action elements in the game. Whether they are switches, toys or tools you will need to master them all. A small note here, as with the name Gruntz, you will see lots of "z’s" in this game. For instance, the game refers to the above mentioned items as switchez, toyz, and toolz. I however, can not bring myself to do that. It is just too cute. I refuse. You can’t make me. Moving on.

The levels themselves start out easily, bringing in new elements as you guide Gruntz through increasingly complex levels. As you master the new level elements you will also have to contend with mastering multiple Gruntz and fighting off the Disgruntled.

The learning curve is fairly gentle and makes this game appropriate for a wide-spectrum of ages. And the levels are not only challenging but very entertaining. In short, it has enough onscreen action to keep the youngsters interested and enough strategy elements to engage more experienced older players.

Is this a breakthrough in gaming? Probably not, but for a retail price of $19.99, its an entertaining diversion that can give you as much gameplay as more expensive titles. Just go into it with a sense of fun and you won’t be disappointed.

Gruntz brings together a cute story, lively animation, and challenging gameplay. In places, it might be a little too cute, but we can forgive it that for just incorporating goo into a quality game. So when you’re tired of the blood-spattered walls of the latest third person shooter, or the byzantine complexity of a new real-time strategy game, pop in Gruntz and while away a couple of hours committing a little comic mayhem.

It’s fun. Gruntz gets 4 GiN Gemz out of 5.

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