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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Shows the ecosystem of the backyard at a macro level. Players deal with how certain bugs behave, though some behavior isn't completely realistic. Players learn about importance of things like food, water, shelter. Also teaches how to use creativity and ingenuity to overcome obstacles.
Challenges players to get creative when faced with unique obstacles and to be prepared ahead of time in case of emergencies. Players work with nature instead of against it in order to survive. Multiplayer games also opens up themes of teamwork, with players working together, dividing responsibilities to solve problems and survive their backyard jungle.
Positive Role Models
BURG.L is a robot that players run into that helps out with keeping players on the right track to progress the story, improve skills, etc. He's generally friendly and a useful ally. Players working together online can run the gamut from being nice and helpful to being selfish and mean. Otherwise, no real character development.
Ease of Play
Lots to keep track of, lots of menus to navigate: checking inventories, sorting through crafting menus, accessing the quick menu wheel, etc. And since the action doesn't stop when menus are accessed, players are often left vulnerable. It's also easy for players to lose their bearings in the thick "brush" of the backyard lawn.
Violence & Scariness
Players fight to survive while shrunken in their yard. Survival often means hunting and fighting against different bugs. Some, like grubs and aphids, don't fight back while others, such as ants and spiders, hunt players with a vengeance. Some blood and goo as players kill the bugs, leaving material behind that can be used as food and in crafting.
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Some minor language in some logs players discover while on their adventure. Also, due to online component, younger players may be exposed to offensive language from others in online party chat.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Grounded is a survival adventure game available for download on Xbox One and Windows-based PCs. Players find themselves shrunken down and forced to survive the dangers of their now oversized backyard through combat, crafting, and strategy. Players can take on the challenge solo or with up to three friends in online multiplayer. Violence comes mainly from hunting bugs for both food and crafting material or from defending oneself against larger predatory insects such as different breeds of spiders. There's some minor language that can be found in the audio and text logs that players find scattered throughout the game, and online multiplayer could expose players to offensive language from others in party chat.
Is It Any Good?
There are many things you might see and take for granted in your everyday life, like a half-empty juice box tossed on the lawn or a prickly little thistle plant that refuses to go away. Now, what if you were somehow shrunk to the size of an insect, like what happens to the characters in Grounded? Well, those discarded and forgotten nuisances suddenly take on a whole new purpose and might be key to surviving to see another sunrise. That juice box suddenly becomes an oasis to prevent thirst, and thorns from that thistle become a bundle of arrows for your trusty handcrafted bow. In Grounded, survival is all a matter of seeing things from a different perspective.
One of the appealing things about Grounded is that, as outlandish as its premise is, the game still feels somewhat believable. Crafting tools, building shelter, and otherwise making due with what resources are available genuinely feels like what one might do in a real survival situation. Even the bugs in the game seem to act and react in a realistic manner. Worker ants will address players with a moment of curiosity before going back to work, while an encounter with a soldier ant can quickly become a deadly meeting. Players must constantly monitor things like hunger, thirst, and sleep while harvesting resources and avoiding the constant threat of spiders looking to turn them into an instant snack. Meanwhile, there's still an actual story to uncover along the way. It's a daunting task requiring a lot of patience and forethought. Navigating the game's multiple menus doesn't help the situation either, because it's not exactly the most user-friendly interface. Making matters worse, the game doesn't pause while players are in the menu screens, often leaving players open and vulnerable at the worst possible time. But if you can look past the menu issues and the threat of insects, Grounded could be the next adventure you want to explore.
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