By Chris Picone, 25 September 2022
Grid Force is tough to classify because it’s a hybrid that features shooter, tactical, and RPG elements. And I’m not just talking about a shooter that includes some levelling up choices or an RPG where you manually control the combat, I’m talking about a genuine mix of the three genres.
Grid Force is quite striking. The colour palette, primarily pinks and purples but lots of bright colours in general, fits the whole “girl power” theme that Grid Force has going for it. It’s presented in a cartoony, almost-but-not-quite-anime style, very slick, with gorgeous over-the-top animations. And there are even neat little comic-style cutscenes. It’s all very nice.
You run around the level shooting and being shot at in real-time, but there is a strong tactical element in the use of the grid. Unlike most shooters, you don’t run around freely, you move around the grid. You can only shoot and be shot at along the same row so dodging usually involves just moving up or down but the shape of the grid and obstacles affect your movement and it also means that you need to put yourself in the firing line when you want to shoot. Also, while you’re frequently outnumbered, you have a squad – but can only control one character at a time although you can switch whenever you like. Each character has their own elemental strengths and weaknessed and come with a range of special abilities, but so do your enemies. I don’t want to spoil too much but these abilities are what really make the game shine. As you kill enemies and beat levels you collect elemental shards which you can spend across your squad to level up their attributes and unlock new abilities as you see fit. Each character has their own inherent strengths and weaknesses but the decisions are ultimately yours. It’s a good system. Finally, in addition to the game’s main story, you also uncover character and sub-stories throughout,. These lead you to choices about who you rescue along the way (can’t save everyone!) and affect the way the story plays out.
I have been having an absolute blast with Grid Force and would happily recommend it to any tactics or shooter fans.