Grounded

So this is a survival game which means that I played it for quite a few hours, carefully avoiding riling up the ants or spiders and then disaster struck.

A giant thistle next to a rock - with a huge yellow house in the background.

You start off as a small human in the middle of a backyard and must collect grass, clovers, and dandelion stems to build a small hut. You can eat mushrooms raw, but gnats and weevils cooked over a tiny fire fill you up better. Water is impossible to find it seems although there’s a nearby juice box that works for a couple days before you have to go back to brackish ponds.

I was doing okay. I built a small hut near the first science lab I found so that I could analyse as often as I wanted. It wasn’t much, an oddly shaped room with a clover leaf room. But it had a workbench, fire pit, sleeping spot, and several resin lights. It was homey.

My first creative build. A little two-story leaf house on a rock. Picture taken at night so you can see the lights inside.
Not this house. This is far too magnificent a home. Mine was four walls and a roof.

I don’t know if it was because my walls were just leaves and the basket made for something interesting for the ants, but they were all over my house after I returned from a trip to the Oak tree. There were two of them seriously interested in my basket container and glitching through the walls of my house. I watched them closely – then probably made my mistake and killed one through the walls. I wasn’t sure if they could even tell it was me.

An all purpose room, with a big arm chair, drying rack, food spit, and several boxes for supplies.
There’s actually quite a bit of furniture you can build already…you can’t sit in chairs (yet) though.

Then things started to get really weird. I saw more and more insects glitching though the walls – a weevil which I thought ants attacked on sight…maybe not. The weevil and ants seemed to be able to attack my basket through my walls. Not cool. Then I turned around and shrieked outloud. My heart still races when I remember it. It was an ant IN MY HOUSE staring at me. Now, ants are curious and won’t attack but it’s the size of a large dog in this game and I wasn’t expecting it. My cat glared at me for disrupting her nap with my reaction.

My second house built near the "mysterious machine" I'm bringing some stems back for funsies. This house is three stories and made of stems.
Another creative house I built. I was going for “security”.

Heart racing I decided it was time to get outside my house to see what exactly was going on. Not a moment too soon. Looking back I could see two large soldier ants with giant mandibles – twice the size of a normal ant – maybe the size of a rhino? Almost the size of my house. And it was attacking my house!!

Was it because I killed that one ant attacking my stuff? Was it just because it built there? I have no idea, but I watched as the two ants ripped my walls apart like it was made of grass blades…which it was. Then they turned toward where I stood watching. Night was falling.

Are you sure you want to superquit?

YES! I went back in the next day when my heart was pounding a little less. Let’s try this creative mode out.

Upstairs in the green glow of the sleeping nook, downstairs you can see a homey armchair in front of a roasting spit and smoothie maker.
I made a little sleeping loft! It was adorable. I wonder if I could do something similar for reals.

I don’t actually recommend playing in creative mode – I was hoping it meant I would still have to collect the grass and clovers to build, but you don’t. You can just build whatever you want. It is good for building practice, I guess. All my pictures from this post come from the kinder, gentler, bug-free creative mode. But it’s not really much of a game if you play this way. You can walk around and don’t need to eat or drink or be careful and of course the story is only in the other modes. So…yeah no point really.

Another shot of the house in the distance, up close you can see the pond and flower pots (where spiders dwell normally).
All safe. Not a bug to be seen whilst I wandered.

But I’m not ready to go back into bug mode quite yet. Maybe next week. It’s really fun…but these games aren’t my strong suite. (If there are pictures of bugs in this post you’ll know I was brave before Friday just to add images to this post.)

Grounded is $30 US on steam right now – it’s in early access. If you don’t like early access games wait, but it feels pretty polished so far. This game also has a multiplayer mode which I think would help to build faster. My first night I had to spend awake and alone because I didn’t grab clover before nightfall.

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