GRIDD isn’t a recent release but I encountered it while I was on the lookout for Aaero-like games, as I really loved that game! It looked like no one had covered it yet on ThisGenGaming, so I thought: why not write up a review for it?
Just like Aaero, GRIDD is an on-rails shoot’em up where you have to dodge obstacles and shoot any enemies that appear in your path. In the Arcade mode, your path is preprogrammed so each run will look more or less the same, making it easier each time as you remember how to get past a certain passage unharmed. What does make this more difficult is the fact that the game’s camera follows your ship and on some curving roads it can be difficult to determine wether or not you’ll hit the fast-approaching traps.
The visuals are clearly what set this game apart, with it’s neon-lit roads and cyberpunk-esque colour-scheme. The same goes for its 80’s soundtrack which reminded me of sci-fi movies like the original Tron (1982? Tron released a few years before my time even – Gasp!)
The actual gameplay is rather simple however, with only two inputs required: the left analog stick to move around and the A button to shoot. That’s it, no aiming with the right stick, no special moves to dodge or special weapons to fire every now and then. The lack of moves at your disposal is one of its major downfalls and makes the game too repetitive after a few runs.
It does require some lightning-quick reflexes and you’ll die in only a few hits, so luckily you can grab a few upgrades along the way: Energy ( ) will restore your health, Fire ( ) will upgrade your weapon and Shield ( ) will protect you from the next few strikes.
You’ll also be given two occasions to grab an extra life in the Arcade mode. You have to shoot the backdoor program as it highlights one of three code-entries and then try to collect enough number pickups on a set path. There is an achievement tied to beating the game without getting either backdoor failsafe thouh, so keep that in mind.
The most interesting parts of the game are the bossbattles, but there are really only two of them: The giant snake you encounter about 1/3rd in and the actual final face-boss (but you encounter the latter three times throughout the Arcade mode)
You can’t just keep the fire-button pressed at all times though, as there are a few objects and enemies that discourage this tactic. Metallic looking surfaces are able to reflect your shots right back at you. In fact, it’s probably the main cause of damage in the game: when you fail to spot these ahead of time and you basically end up shooting yourself. Getting hit also drops your multiplier back down and takes away your weapon upgrade, so it’s often better to only shoot when you’re absolutely certain that your target is one you should be firing at.
As said before, the Arcade mode stays the same each time you play it so you could just memorize everything if you’re having a hard time. I was able to beat it on my 3rd run however and it only took about 25 minutes. Which leaves a bit of an empty feeling.
Beating the Arcade mode unlocks a procedurally generated “Endless mode” which offers quite a bit more challenge as you can’t really prepare for it and only have your reflexes to rely on. The enemies you’ll encounter are the same as before but the combination of traps and hard to kill opposition will make this mode something to sink your teeth into for a longer amount of time.
GRIDD’s neon visuals are definitely pleasing to the eyes and the soundtrack is like a timetravel machine sending you back about thirty years into pop-culture. If you’re a fan of those Tron-inspired influences, you’ll have a blast! But the repetitive nature of the game is its main undoing and I doubt you’ll get more than 2-3 hours of enjoyment out of the whole package.