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American McGee's Grimm: The Pied Piper

Score: 60%
ESRB: Mature
Publisher: GameTap
Developer: Spicy Horse
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Like its predecessors, American McGee's Grimm: The Pied Piper shows off the blocky, simple style of the series and doesn't really deviate from it. The rats in this story are basically little boxes for example. Textures are flat and stylized, and everything is cute, even when it's supposed to be disgusting. There are moments when you notice something kind of cool, like a swirling water pattern in a river or little stylized skulls sprouting from your every step. For the most part, however, it's very simple looking.

The music is again simple and a little retro sounding. It stays in the background and doesn't contribute a whole lot to the game either way. Maybe Grimm's voice is growing on me, but the gruff-voiced villain seems to at least have some clever lines in this episode. No, the game still doesn't make sense, but it does seem a bit more charming than Iron John.


Once again, in this game you play as Grimm, who has a vendetta against happy fairytales. You'll be trying to turn the (supposedly) happy Brothers' Grimm fairytales into foul and disgusting messes. I can say that I at least enjoyed the "dirty" version of this fairytale that you can view when you beat the game. The gruff-voiced Grimm does an excellent job of retelling The Pied Piper story. It was pretty funny and surprisingly coherent compared to the rest of the game.

I'm more confused than ever with American McGee's Grimm: The Pied Piper. I really don't understand what this game is going for. On one hand, it seems like it's meant to be disgusting, but in a friendly kind of way. Perhaps I'm thinking too much along the lines of Tim Burton's "The Nightmare Before Christmas." It's obviously not a kid's game based on the ESRB rating, but then the ways that it earns that rating seem a little, well, immature. For example, one of the buildings you foul up turns into a building with a big light-up sign that says "Whore House." The mayor gets a sash that says "pimp daddy." In a different game, those two things could have been funny, but The Pied Piper just has you sighing at the dullness of it all.


American McGee's Grimm: The Pied Piper doesn't do much differently from its predecessor in terms of difficulty. This is a simple platformer, but is marred by annoying and difficult jumps. The slippery game mechanics seem to show a whole lot more here. The ending level has some of the most annoying platforming ever, and you may find yourself sliding off moving gears or just perplexed by why these platforms exist at all.

Other than that, it's pretty easy to accomplish the goals set for you in The Pied Piper. With the short length of each game in this series, you shouldn't have too much trouble finishing it in an hour or so.

Game Mechanics:

Again, American McGee's Grimm: The Pied Piper is pretty simple in the control department. The series doesn't usually require more than just running around in order to spread darkness. This gets your Dark-O-Meter up as you've spread more and more. Since the good people inhabiting the world will be constantly cleaning it up, you have a butt-stomp move available that will stop them for a while so you can build up your meter again. Really, this is about it: running around and jumping. The controls are simple enough that you can play the entire game without the use of a mouse by using the arrow and the W, A, S, and D keys.

As mentioned in the difficulty section, the slippery mechanics of the game really show in this episode. There is one area where you have to jump from moving gear to moving gear. You seem to slide around in a way that you're not supposed to, and when you're spinning around trying to figure this out as well as jump to the next gear, it's just a little frustrating and it doesn't feel right at all.

As charming as these games could have been, it's difficult to recommend them. You can try it out if you're quick enough, however. GameTap offers new installments of the Grimm series for free within the first day of launch. See www.gametap.com/grimm for details.

-Fights with Fire, GameVortex Communications
AKA Christin Deville

Minimum System Requirements:

Physical memory greater than or equal to 512 MB, A video card greater than or equal to 128 MB memory, CPU speed greater than or equal to 2400 MHz

Test System:

Windows XP, 2.4 GHz Intel Core2 Duo, 4 GB ram, NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT, Realtek High Definition Audio

Microsoft Xbox 360 Tom Clancy's End War Nintendo DS Goosebumps: HorrorLand

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated