Reader Review: Grim Fandango Remastered (PC)

GRIM_BOXI’ve always been a big fan of point and click adventures and have played and reviewed many of them.  One of the best ones that I missed out on was Grim Fandango, a detective story with a Day of the Dead setting.  But now you can downloaded a remastered version of it on Steam!  So here’s my friend Robbie Allen’s take on this version of Grim Fandango!  Check it out!

Back in the day, I used to love me some point and click adventure games. Some of my favorites included Lucasarts games like Maniac Mansion, Day of the Tentacle, and my personal favorite, Sam and Max Hit the Road. Despite enjoying these games, one I never got to play was Grim Fandango, so I’m sure you can imagine I was pretty ecstatic to see a remastered version of it appear on Steam. The only problem now is not only will it be judged by whether or not it’s a good game, but also by how well it’s aged over the decades.

Gameplay-wise Grim Fandango is pretty much like any other game of its type. You go around talking to people, finding items, and using said items to solve puzzles of often questionable logic. These are all present, especially the questionable logic part. If there’s any problem I do have with the gameplay in Grim Fandango, it’s the interface. Grim Fandango drops the easy to use interfaces from Day of the Tentacle and Sam and Max for an interface that only gives you options when they are usable for a person or item on the screen. The icons it gives when you find an item or character you can interact with isn’t always understandable or intuitive. This caused a little confusion at first, but after a while you’ll get used to it. What’s really annoying is the inventory screen. Unlike most point and click games that gives you an inventory screen with all your available items at once, Grim Fandango will only show one item on the inventory screen at once and you have to slowly scroll through each item until you find the one you want. Considering there’s a lot of near useless items you can find, or duplicate items you can get, this makes selecting an item really tedious and annoying. Why they didn’t just stick with the usual inventory screen is beyond me.

The graphics in the game actually hold up surprisingly well, to my surprise. This has a lot to do with the game using a candy skull-ish art style inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations, so the very simplistic skeleton character designs feel oddly fitting and age rather well. This can’t be said for ALL the designs though, as your demon friend who drives you around doesn’t look as good. In fact, he really looks horrible. His face honestly isn’t very intelligible at first and his mouth movements just look awkward at best. Despite this, I’d say the game has aged pretty well graphically, way better than most other games from 1998.

Where Grim Fandango REALLY takes off is in its writing. The game’s dialog is extremely well written, the characters are very likable, and the game has a lot of creative atmosphere. This all makes the game well worth playing, even with its kind of awkward control setup. You play as Manny, a down on his luck Grim Reaper, who is looking for the big score, so he can clear his debt to society and move on to the afterlife. However when he accidentally sends a girl named Mercedes to travel the afterlife on foot, he makes it a point to go find her and help her complete her journey. The whole adventure takes place in a variety of supernatural locations, with a new one in each chapter. Everything is really well designed, and Manny’s various comments to himself as he examines people and items are pretty funny. The voice acting in this game is also top notch, with fitting voices for all the characters. It really makes you want to keep going, even if the logic necessary to solve some of these puzzles can be dubious at times (I’m not ashamed to admit I had to rely on a walkthrough a couple of times).

Overall Grim Fandango is great game I recommend to anyone who enjoys point and click adventure titles. Heck, the writing and characters are so good, that even people who don’t like these types of games may be able to find enjoyment in it. I say give it a look, but don’t be surprised if you have to resort to using a walkthrough in spots.


Kid Factor:

Kids might find the slower pace of these styles of games dull and some of the puzzles frustrating. Otherwise I can’t see any reason why kids shouldn’t play it –Robbie Allen

One Response to “Reader Review: Grim Fandango Remastered (PC)”

  1. That inventory thing sounds annoying, but I’m not surprised the writing and characters are good, because didn’t Tim Schafer head development on this game? The guy that made Psychonauts? That’s Tim Schafer, right? I know Google is right here on my laptop, but if I’m wrong, I’ll just accept looking stupid.

Discussion Area - Leave a Comment

Tired of typing this out each time? Register as a subscriber!