You don't get much more "my kind of game" than Legend of Grimrock. I was a big fan of dungeon crawlers back in the day, and being able to return to the genre in a game that managed to be contemporary while remaining wonderfully true to its progenitors was incredibly satisfying. That it was a big success for Almost Human Games made it even better, because that made a sequel possible. And in about a month, it's going to be here.
Legend of Grimrock 2
Legend of Grimrock was one of the happier surprises of 2012, not only because it was so good but because it demonstrated how a very old style of game could be successfully brought into the modern era. Developer Almost Human has been plugging away at a sequel since early 2013 and today announced that a major milestone has been reached, as the game is now in beta.
There are few creatures more ubiquitous in RPGs than rats, but it's not often we get the opportunity to play as one. And maybe calling it an "opportunity" is a bit of a stretch, but however you want to look at it, you'll be able to do it, more or less, in Legend of Grimrock 2, which today unveiled an all-new playable race known as "Ratlings."
It's a sad and strange state of affairs when a developer not releasing an Early Access version of their game feels like the exception rather than the norm - but here we are. Despite Legend of Grimrock 2 being in "strong alpha" - i.e. the game is playable from start to end in some form - Almost Human Games are not going to plonk this early version on Steam, and charge people to play it before it's done. You will be able to put down a pre-order at some point, however, giving the devs your money without getting anything immediate in return. Wait, what? (I imagine pre-orders will begin when the game is a little closer to being done, and there's almost no risk of development being halted by a sudden meteor or a desire for a shiny speedboat or anything like that.) Almost Human explained their reasoning to RPS, and because this opening paragraph is already lengthier than some novels, I've stashed it after the break.
There was a time, back when I was a young whippersnapper, that grid-based dungeon crawlers were a big part of the gaming ecosphere. Advances in technology rendered the style obsolete, as "better" games with complete freedom of motion asserted their dominance. Yet when Almost Human released the very old-school Legend of Grimrock in 2012, it found enough success beyond the nostalgic oldster demographic to ensure a sequel—and that sequel is now playable from the very beginning to the very end.
It's been a difficult day. I'd been sent to find Legend of Grimrock 2 news, and so journeyed out through the secret basement underneath PCG towers. I puzzled my way forward, avoiding the spectres of former editors, the skittering of malnourished freelancers and the unstable, towering pillars of graphics cards. Eventually, I came across a five-foot tall snail-beast, moving square-by-square in a rotating pattern that I could skilfully kite to avoid taking damage. "Could" being the operative word. Instead, I thought "bugger this", then returned to my desk and followed a hyperlink to Almost Human's latest dev update.