Grounded game review

Grounded’s setting is totally under-explored in the industry. There are a few games where you’re shrunk down, but they’re usually as part of a single level or event. There are very few games that really targeted that Honey, I Shrunk the Kids nostalgia, but Grounded went all-in and utterly nailed it.

You play as one of four pre-defined teens, inexplicably shrunk down and deposited into a backyard brimming with hungry insects and gigantic flora. Clearly, some sort of science experiment went wrong, leaving you in the midst of a dangerous adventure. The backyard is dotted with abandoned science facilities and bunkers. Therein lies the real excitement with Grounded: it’s all about that raw potential. The game features a dozen or so insect types, but there are hundreds they could add, from scorpions to wasps, to praying mantids, grasshoppers, and beyond.

The way Obsidian has designed the game’s crafting loop echoes the likes of Monster Hunter, where you craft weapons and armor from the creatures you defeat in combat. This adds a compelling reason to undertake the challenge of fighting beasties more powerful than yourself, learning their behaviors and combat patterns, planning your attacks, and even building traps if needs be. Every time they add a new bug, it could come with new armor types, adding new playstyles, new weapons, and more. It’s exciting to think about.

Speaking of combat, Grounded’s combat is relatively basic but satisfying to participate in. Skyrim-style, Grounded has both first and third-person modes, with archery, and melee combat with typical combos and heavy attacks. Where Grounded diverges a bit is with its perfect blocks and stunning system. Smack a bug in the head enough with a high-stun rating weapon and it will get dazed, similarly to how status effects build up in Monster Hunter with repeated attacks. If you time a block perfectly by learning the different bug’s attack animations, you can negate damage completely too, which rewards practice and precision. It’s a relatively basic system, but it’s easy to see how it could be expanded with new status effects, new weapon types, and other contraptions.

Like any self-respecting sandbox survival game, Grounded also features a crafting system that youngsters familiar with Fortnite will find themselves right at home with. You can construct floors, walls, platforms, windows, doors, and all sorts of tools to aid in your survival, built from blades of grass and weed stems. I appreciate the attention to detail with the system too. Instead of stuffing huge blades of grass into a magical bottomless inventory dimension, you have to transport them on your shoulder to where you want to get them to. It adds a layer of immersion often missing from survival sandbox games that also feeds aspects of the game’s tense atmospherics. If you get attacked while heaving a pile of grass planks across the map, you may have to drop them to run.

Here I take a picture of my friends on grass.

If you’re scared of spiders it can truly take you to some fearful moments. The game’s day and night cycles elevate the game’s living ecosystem. Certain bugs sleep during the day, while others become more aggressive, and seek out prey to eat — namely you. Spiders are also incredibly stealthy while on the hunt. Turning around to see a gigantic Wolf spider in your face with glowing, murderous eyes is as exciting as it is terrifying.

Here I take a picture of my friends on grass.









In this picture me and my friends are defeating a boss spider that spawns many baby spiders

Finally, when Grounded isn’t scaring you half to death with its creepy nighttime spider hunting, it soars as a truly stunning visual experience. With gorgeous Pixar-style art, evocative music, and impressive lighting and water effects, Grounded is a testament to what a small team can achieve with nothing but hard work, talent, and raw passion.


  • Great construction tools
  • Amazing, unique setting
  • Satisfying combat system
  • Raw unbridled potential


  • Seriously needs dedicated servers

Bottom line:  Grounded is an incredibly fun adventure with exciting combat and creative survival gameplay.