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GrimGrimoire occupies a unique niche as the only side-scrolling real-time strategy game for the Playstation 2. It borrows many familiar concepts like resource management and base building but presents them in an original way that fits well with the context of the game. The entire game is wrapped in Vanillaware
's signature sumptuous hand-drawn art style.
GrimGrimoire holds another distinction as an ESRB-rated E10 game with some fairly blatant sexual overtones, including alluded-to girl-on-girl, teacher-on-fellow-teacher-who-is-now-a-lion, and devil-teacher-on-underaged-student action.
The story revolves around Lillet Blan, a young magician in training and her first days at the prestigious Silver Star Tower magic school. With every new day she gets to attend class with the various teachers and learn how to use the magical grimoires. Unfortunately, her studies are abruptly interrupted on the fifth day when she discovers that everyone in the tower has been killed. Before she can make any sense of what is going on she finds herself back in time, at her very first day of school.
Lillet is then caught in a spiral of mystery as she relives the same five days over and over again to unravel the truth behind the tower and it's inhabitants.
GrimGrimoire plays very much like a traditional RTS but it differs in its execution. Instead of on a world map with terrain viewed from above, missions are played out in the tower itself. Viewed from the side, each floor is connected by stairwells and rooms which are divided by walls. While this make for interesting and sometimes confusing navigation, some unit types are less restricted than others. A good example is the enormous dragon that simply climbs over everything, obviously too large to fit inside a mere human-sized room.
Scattered between the floors are magical crystals which supply you with the only resource of the game: Mana. As you collect mana you will be able to place "runes" which are essentially "buildings". Every rune is tied to a specific magical grimoire and offers different units, spells and upgrades. There's a hand-scissor-paper-like mechanic between the various grimoires, adding a subtle tactical layer to the mix as you're fighting other magicians.