The new Xbox Survival game is like Minecraft but scarier

A player using a bow and arrow will be attacked by a giant spider.

screenshot: Obsidian / Xbox

It’s dark outside and I’m scared. I hide behind a small chest and a rock. Around me are a few thin walls of leaves. I can hear it outside these walls: a huge, angry spider. I can’t see it directly, but I can see the massive leaves and tall blades of grass that surround my tiny shelter move as he watches for me. A large mosquito flies by at the top; a few meters behind, an ant scurries across a fallen branch. I hate bugs and insects and I’m starting to regret playing Grounded.

Although it’s been in Early Access for about two years, Grounded Version 1.0 was finally released this week via a major update for PC and Xbox. Developed by Obsidian, Grounded is a survival game in the same vein as Minecraft. Yes, you will hit things with rocks to get other things to make better things, to hit bigger things to get more things. It’s one of those games.

but Grounded has two major advantages over so many survival games that have followed it Minecraftis awake. First, it has a really interesting history involving scientists with secrets. And second, it’s set in the backyard, where you play as a small child shrunk to such a small size that ants, spiders, coins, and soda cans tower over you. Maybe you’ve seen the movie Honey, I shrunk the kids? Spring, Grounded but this can be done with more violence and resource management. And way too many bugs.

Despite all the nasty critters, exploring a handcrafted world is really exciting – there’s no procedural generation here! – as a tiny little survivor. Hiding in giant soda cans or collecting giant blades of grass is something I’ve never done in a survival game. It also made exploration more interesting. What random everyday object, now massive, would I encounter next in the new deadly backyard?

obsidian

In the game’s basic gameplay loop, you build your camp using resources you collect from the backyard. As you get stronger, you can find new areas of the world that contain new lore to discover and quests to complete. Completing these quests will help you in your goal of returning to your normal size and safely escaping the reign of spiders and mosquitoes.

I fully admit that I almost activated the game Anti-Spider Mode before it begins Grounded. (It changes how the game’s spiders look to make it easier for people with arachnophobia to enjoy the game.) But I decided against it, partly because I wanted to fully experience the game, and also because of all the other bugs Grounded, like larvae and fleas, would not be optimized at all. So I realized I was going to freak out anyway, so why not just have the full, spider-filled experience.

No story spoilers here, though Groundedwrites is solid, and I became more and more intrigued as to why my character had shrunk and what was going on in the backyard before I arrived. This narrative helps you keep going when things get tough. You know those moments in every survival game when you have to spend an hour moving your base or gathering resources to build better gear? You still have to do all this Groundedbut at least on the other end of it all is a new story beat or piece of lore to enjoy.

A screenshot shows a player surrounded by large ants and mosquitoes.

screenshot: Obsidian / Xbox

Another reason I kept playing Grounded, even as I was slowly becoming paralyzed with fear of all the damn bugs was how good it felt. Navigating menus, using your inventory, crafting items, and building bases all feel great. And better yet, it’s all very simple and snappy. In particular, building is easy, but not easy. You can create some large, complex, and detailed structures, but the Blueprint system keeps things organized. I imagine spending a year in Early Access, letting players help out with feedback and testing is probably a big reason Grounded feels more polished than so many other survival games.

Grounded could be the perfect game for people who are tired of chopping down trees and crafting axes. Yes, you make some of it in Grounded, to. But on a completely different scale. They don’t cut down trees, but blades of grass and sprouts. It’s a refreshing twist on a genre that’s gotten a little dated for me over the last few years. And its story and well-designed gameplay systems help me keep going, even when it gets a bit too survival-heavy from moment to moment.

If you have Microsoft’s Game Pass, I’d definitely take a look Grounded on Xbox or PC. And if you want to play with a friend, it also supports co-op! Just let them know in advance that there are many bugs in this game. Please.

https://kotaku.com/grounded-survival-xbox-game-pass-minecraft-review-1849598495 The new Xbox Survival game is like Minecraft but scarier

Curtis Crabtree

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