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Secrets of Grindea demo is nostalgic, loot-obsessed and a lot of fun

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Today is *checks Gregorian calendar* Easter Day, and if you celebrate the occasion you're probably already catatonic on chocolate, lying on the floor under a mess of spent foil wrappers and half-eaten eggs. There's no shame in that - OK, so there might be a little shame - but I have the perfect game to unwind with later on while you try to digest the deliciously terrible thing you've done. That game is Secrets of Grindea , a very Secret of Mana-ish action RPG now with a demo (demos are what we had in the olden days before Early Access). It's a nostalgic (but not suffocatingly so) and tactile thing, boasting extraordinary pixel art and a bunch of modern features like a character creator and online co-op. I've spent some time with it this morning in lieu of eating my own weight in chocolate, and if you like Square's Mana series, I suggest you do the same. You'll find the demo here .

The demo offers a brief taste of the story and a few levels of Arcade mode, which randomly generates environments for you and up to three friends to hack and plunder your way through. The full game, meanwhile, will feature crafting and pets (though probably not craftable pets), as well as hunting, digging and fishing minigames, the latter of which makes a brief appearance towards the end of the demo.

Developers Pixel Ferrets are accepting pre-orders for Secrets of Grindea - which will grant immediate access to the beta - but as there doesn't appear to be a release date set yet, there's no clue how long of a wait you'll be in for. If you're on the fence, the following video will likely sway you one way or the other.

Tom Sykes

Tom loves exploring in games, whether it’s going the wrong way in a platformer or burgling an apartment in Deus Ex. His favourite game worlds—Stalker, Dark Souls, Thief—have an atmosphere you could wallop with a blackjack. He enjoys horror, adventure, puzzle games and RPGs, and played the Japanese version of Final Fantasy VIII with a translated script he printed off from the internet. Tom has been writing about free games for PC Gamer since 2012. If he were packing for a desert island, he’d take his giant Columbo boxset and a laptop stuffed with PuzzleScript games.