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Saturday, January 01, 2000 by Pyro

Overall: 4
Graphics: 4
Interface: 4
Gruntz is a pretty funny puzzle type game. Imagine a cross between Lemmings and The Lost Vikings. The whole object of the game is to traverse a map and recover a spiritual rock and return it to your Chief. In order to accomplish this, you have Gruntz (basically animated clay characters with awesome attitudes) which you guide around having them manipulate switches and fight other Gruntz.

There are various weapons, toys, and other goodies that you use to accomplish your goals. Sometimes you must use 2-3 Gruntz at a time, for instance, 2 Gruntz must stand on separate switches in order for the third to grab a tool you need to get past an obstacle. Some of the weapons include gauntlets, which you can use to break rocks (which sometimes reveal goodies), a shovel which will dig or fill holes, and a straw which sucks up the goop left behind after you kill an enemy. Once you have collected enough goop, you can "cook" more Gruntz to help you out. Toys are used to distract enemy Gruntz so you can slip past them without having to fight them. Very useful if your Gruntz weapon is a lower class than that of your enemy. (Gauntlets are better than bare hands, shovels are better than gauntlets, etc.) There are goodies to help you regain strength (Jolt Cola woohoo!), coins to collect for bonus, and hidden warps that give you bonuses, and if you can find all four in a stage (which is 4 maps), you are given a cheat code.

The sound effects are funny, and the little comments by the Grunts and the Chief are quite funny, although I can see how they might start getting annoying after a bit. Interface is extremely simple. Pretty much point and click. Left click to use a tool, right click to move around the map, and a series of left and right clicks to perform certain tasks, but all in all very easy to use.

There is a built in tutorial that gives you a good start, and at key points in the game there are information spots that give you very good clues on what needs to be accomplished, or what a new tool or toy can do and how to use it. The graphics are top down view, but for a game like this, it works nicely. The game is best played at a high resolution (1024x768) so you can see more of the map at a time rather than trying to scroll all over the map. All in all this is a very cool little game that kids and adults alike will enjoy, provided of course that you like puzzle games.





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