Lemmings set the benchmark for puzzle games years ago; Gruntz attempts to raise the standard for such games even higher. With its eye-catching graphics and amusing little critters, Gruntz is entertaining and has fairly challenging puzzles. It unfortunately has a number of drawbacks which caused me to lose interest in the game much faster than I'd anticipated.
As I said, the puzzles are quite complex -- tough enough to keep players on their toes. They are also extremely inflexible. If on a certain level you start with, say, boxing gloves and a stick of dynamite, you have to use those in a very specific place or you'll be unable to finish the level. Solving the puzzles is made more difficult by certain aspects of the control panel and the display. You can choose a number of screen resolutions, with higher resolutions slowing down the gameplay; even with a 200 Mhz processor, the highest resolution made the game nearly unplayable. Worse than this is the fact that even at the highest resolution, you can never see the entire main screen at once. This was a feature of Lemmings as well, but with two major differences: In Lemmings, you could scroll back and forth while the game was paused, and the display was a side-on, two-dimensional worldview. Gruntz only lets you scroll when the game is actually running (a disadvantage if you're playing to beat the clock) and its display is a top-down view that is pretty to look at, but also fairly cluttered. And being unable to see the entire screen at once is a SERIOUS drawback when you have to figure out exactly where you want to exchange your Goober Straw for Gauntletz. (Yes, the constant substitution of "z" for final "s" on every relevant word in the manual and game was also an annoyance.)
My only other gripe is the cutesy comments made by the Gruntz, who sound like a demented mixture of Elmo from "Sesame Street" and Cartman from "South Park." I'm sure many players will find them funny, but for me, I'm so glad one of the game options is Voices Off.
Pentium 133 minimum (they recommend at least Pentium 166), 32 MB RAM, 2 MB Direct X-compatible video card, Windows-compatible 16 bit sound card, 4X CD-ROM (12X recommended), Windows 95/98. For multiplay, you'll need at least a 28.8 modem, a LAN or serial connection.
This game got old fast. The idea is fun, the game looks cute, but in the end there's no flexibility, which is what keeps this kind of game appealing. If you are the kind of player who likes figuring out the hidden secrets (of which there are many) and exactly the right solution, you will probably like Gruntz. If, on the other hand, you prefer a more free-form puzzle game, I suggest you break out your old copy of Lemmings or The Incredible Machine. Sometimes there isn't any need to improve on a classic.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP