Since Obsidian announced Grounded back in April at the Xbox Series X event, we’ve been super excited to play the game. Steam Games Fest offered us a 30-minute preview at the brand new survival game that will be released on 28 July 2020.

Developer: Obsidian Entertainment
Xbox Game Studios
Release Date:
28 July 2020
Platforms: PC, Xbox One

Taking influence from Honey, I Shrink I Kids and The Ant Bully, Grounded introduces you to four characters, all of who, have been shrunk and wake up in a garden. It seems that you are on a search for a way to get back to full size and return to normal life. Of course, the garden now presents new threats, ants, ladybugs and spiders. You must lead these characters to survival through day and night of the garden.

You can play as a group of four, selecting one of the characters, to aid your journey or you can choose to play alone. I’d assume that the enemies are levelled depending on the number of players, therefore meaning it is not any more challenging to play on your own if you wish. You must maintain your hunger, thirst and tiredness levels to ensure you are ready for all the dangers that come your way. But you must be careful to make sure you are eating the rights foods and drinking from the right source to make sure you stay healthy and avoid poisoning.

Grounded is a very cartoonish game but looks incredible as you get overshadowed by the common grass and critters that lay within. The scenery allows you to climb up and down while you can use objects such as dandelions as a parachute to move freely around the garden.

Obsidian has done an outstanding job with the AI, with each creatures having its own behaviour. Ants, for example, tend to sniff around you rather than an attack on first sight and only do if you attack first. While mites will only attack in dark places. Grounded is a fresh take on the survival genre, moving away from forests and zombie Apocalypse but managing to create that feeling of danger and anxiety but in a more child-friendly manner.

I love the building mechanics in this game. You must collect items around the garden which in turn give you new recipes to aid in your survival. Things such as plant fibre, sap and rock pellets all give you new tools, and it’s a pretty simple menu system. Selected into different groups, medical and food, crafting tools and weapons, it is straightforward and accessible.

However, you must build an adequate shelter to survive through the tough nights in the garden. This requires more abundant building materials such as grass and weeds, these don’t fit in your backpack. Instead, you must carry planks back to your base and store them for use. As you can only carry five planks at a time, the game introduces a unique building mechanic, where you can partially build parts of your structures dependent on the materials you have and then come back at a later time to finish them. For me, this is such a fantastic mechanic, as you no longer have to horde millions of items around with you to complete a piece of a wall. This a welcome change from games such as Fallout 4, where fitting anything in your backpack based on weight meant that often you were left stranded without the necessary resources such as health and water.

Obsidian has made sure that Grounded was accessible for all by including an arachnophobia setting, meaning that those with the phobia can still play the game. It also states that players who chose this setting will not lose out on the lucrative rewards that Spiders give as high levelled NPCs.

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