Grotto is a short but well-crafted 2D platform game. It sees you dropped off on a beach outside the mouth of a cave which, as you venture inside, introduces you to a variety of obstacles such as spike pits, stone doors and unscalable chasms.

Fortunately, you are not without powers! Grotto imbues you with the enviable ability to control air, fire and ice in order to traverse through the cavern, best the Goblin King and collect the Earth Gem… and that’s pretty much the extent of the story!

Take that, pointless ice platform!

Like I said, Grotto is a very short game — I completed it in less than half an hour — but there are some great concepts here. The game mechanics are really good, the pixel-art style graphics are lovely and there are some wonderful lighting effects with fires flickering and casting a glow onto the walls and floor etc.

Got to light the lamps: tricky, unless you’re an awesome shot, of course!

In addition to standard directional movements, Grotto lets you do some sizeable jumps (using the power of the air), shoot fireballs to bust ice blockades and light lamps, which in turn opens up stone doors and lets you progress. You can also freeze water with a short-range ice beam to create new platforms and gain access to hard-to-reach places. Grotto uses these abilities to add a puzzle element to the gameplay and it works really well.

Controlling your character is either really fiddly on a keyboard or simple on a controller. I hooked my Steam Controller up and used a standard gamepad keymap and it all just worked. Plus, the analogue pads were useful for controlling the direction of fireballs and ice streams.

So blowing this up will release the waterfall and allow me to get up this cliff…

For a free game (you can donate to the developer) it is a lot of fun to play and a great use of half an hour. The game mechanics have a lot of potential and it would be brilliant if the developer created more levels, maybe introducing new ways to interact with the environment. For what is basically a demo, it could so easily become something much more!


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