What is that I spy upon yonder? Why it is a puzzle game that I have yet to play. Quick first-mate Peg, set sail for the horizon I wish to play Grindstone!
No idea what that was about, but I drew a black with my opening, so this is purely some gibberish to get going. Why is it being kept in this article? I dunno, just is!
Anyway, Grindstone is a puzzle game that shares similarities with the likes of Ironcast and an early iOS game called DungeonRaid. Honestly, DungeonRaid no longer being playable is a travesty, Take this as a cry to bring it back!
The idea behind these games and also with Grindstone is instead of using a basic tile swapping of traditional Match-3, you instead draw a patch through matching symbols on the board. Each symbol has an effect on the gameplay and leads to a degree of strategy to add depth to the game.
Grindstone is a dungeon crawler in some respects, where you keep pushing forward to new levels, beating enemies, completing objectives, collecting gems and pushing even further forward. You can quit out at any point and spend on upgrades, new blueprints, etc.
It isn’t clever and is really simple to play and understand, but that is always the key to a good puzzle game. You need to understand the mechanics instantly to get the most from the added layers of depth. It is why the likes of Tetris have stood the test of time.
Whilst Grindstone isn’t quite as simple as that, the intro levels do a great job of onboarding and tempting you further. With a very (and I mean very) light story of sorts to push you forward, Brindstone becomes a light game to play in small sessions, but can also give you the depth needed to play for longer.
New mechanics are introduced at the right spots and the challenge increases nice and smoothly. I didn’t find myself hitting a wall until much, much later in the game. But this was then down to the game upping the challenge enough that I couldn’t just breeze through. I needed to add some thought.
In all honesty, though, the main single-player campaign is fine, but that is not why you keep coming back to Grindstone. The main hook is the ‘Daily Grind.
The game tempts you to either get through the various rooms as safely as possible or to stick around and try to get as many chests and gems as possible. The ultimate goal is to get a high score and get on the daily leaderboard.
You aren’t limited to a single run-through, Grindstone lets you attempt the daily grind as many times as you wish to improve your score. Which unfortunately mean you might struggle to get to the top of the leaderboards. That being said, I very rarely saw the same names up there every single day and my own position varied wildly. Make of that what you will.
I wasn’t actually expecting much from Grindstone after being burned by a few other puzzle games of late. Treasure Stack being the worst offender. But this from Capybara Games is an outstanding effort and if you can stand the cliche… It is perfect for the Switch.