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Grounded is a survival, active-adventure video game by Obsidian Entertainment, where you play as a teenager that was abducted and shrunk to the size of a bug. However, your character has no memories of this initially, and it’s only through the exploration of a backyard that you discover what happened to you and some friends. This game is multi-player, allowing you to play with up to three friends for a total of four players. You can play on different difficulty settings as well as custom game modes. It was originally released in early access in July 2020, then fully released in September 2022.
My friends and I originally started playing this game as a bit of a joke. We were going to play it once for a laugh, mainly as I have arachnophobia. Usually, whenever spiders appear in games, I freak out. It’s not to the extent where I can’t continue playing but I usually end up having to look away from the screen in order to get through that section. So, considering I knew there were going to be a lot of spiders in this game, I didn’t think we would play past that first time or that I would want to keep playing an entire game where they weren’t in one area that I could quickly avoid. No, the spiders respawn and roam, so the chances of running into them at any given point are high.
Still, somehow this became a game I played 105.7 hours worth of within the last month or so. And my friends and I completed pretty much everything, ending the game with a 96% completion rate. There were a few things we missed but they were minor things like one Burg.L chip and a few markers on the map. But everything else we completed including fighting/beating every boss/mini-boss, peeping every bug, and getting the Good/True Ending of the game.
I was surprised by how much I got into it, even going so far as actively seeking out the spiders and taking on the Broodmother five times in a row. Which I’m positive she got annoyed by as she yeeted herself right out of the battle once. So, we had to restart the game in order to get unstuck. That was the only real issue/glitch we faced while playing the game too. I think the part that really got me into the game was when we completed the first lab. Or I should say I completed the first lab. My friends all fell off the hedge, so I ended up completing the actual lab by myself as no one managed to make it back to me in time and I didn’t want to leave considering how far I got at that point. Then after that first cutscene happened, which triggered when we went to sleep, we all wanted to see how the story would progress. After that, we put in a solid effort to get through every other section of the game.
Building and resource gathering in games normally is a tedious thing. But I never found it to feel like that while playing Grounded. Sure, I had to go out and collect resources, but it never felt like a chore. And building process wasn’t instantaneous, so you got to see the progression as you built. Meaning, you didn’t have to have everything on you when creating bases. You could go get resources, then come back and place some before going to get more. The only things you needed to have the resources for on hand were things created at the workstation. So, things like armor, weapons, upgrades, etc.
I do have to say that everyone upgrading their gear and weapons in a group did become a challenge. We didn’t know the rocks were limited, so we were upgrading things right away and then switching to new weapons meaning in order to get upgrades for our stuff, we had to go hunting for alternatives (larva, wolf spiders, sap, grub, etc.). Still, it was nice seeing the improvement of things over time.
We feared coming across Antlions or Infested Wolf Spiders, and then towards the end, we were killing them in a few hits without taking much damage. The game charger weapon for us was the wizard staff. Mainly the spicy and sour one, the mint one didn’t do much for us at that point. It was almost ridiculous how much damage we were doing with those things. Or with our other tier III weapons. Fights we were dreading and took a long time to prepare for were over quickly. But also, we were playing on mild so take that what you will. We could’ve increased to moderate difficulty but at that point, no one really wanted to as we were having too much fun where we were at.
Ultimately, I had a blast playing Grounded and would recommend playing it even if you have a fear of spiders as I do. Eventually, you get so overpowered that you don’t have to fear them. And it becomes fun to mess up their day by killing them. I don’t know when I’ll go back to play more of the game as we pretty much did everything, but it’s always a possibility in the future.
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