[Nintendo Switch] GrimGrimoire OnceMore Review

by EdEN, Owner

GrimGrimoire OnceMore from NIS America and Vanillaware brings the classic 2D RTS experience to Nintendo Switch. Learn more about it in our GrimGrimoire OnceMore review!

GrimGrimoire OnceMore from NIS America and Vanillaware brings the classic 2D RTS experience to Nintendo Switch. GrimGrimoire was originally released way back in 2007 on the PlayStation 2, with NIS acting as publisher in Japan, Koei for PAL regions, and NIS America for North America. The story takes place in The Silver Star, the tower where Lillet Blan, a student at the Magic Academy, first laid hands on a Grimoire. Once you’ve selected the language for voiceovers – with the options being English and Japanese – you’ll be ready to dive into this wonderful journey.

Grimoires are books that all magicians use to contain the power needed for summoning. Upon your arrival at The Silver Star, you’ll get to meet Sir Gammel. He states that the plan is for Lillet to act as a pupil so that she can learn what is needed to take over from the older magicians who hold all of the knowledge. Margarita Surprise will be your new friend. She and her Familiar, named Surely, have been at the tower for six months now, and she’ll help you get used to things. Gaff the elf will be joining you as well.

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GrimGrimoire OnceMore can be played in one of three difficulty settings: Easy, Normal, or Hard. Playing in Easy will give Lillet some abilities that are only available in this mode. On top of that, enemies won’t be able to use Rune abilities, and they will deal less damage. You’ll also get more mana per crystal and will gather mana at a faster pace. Normal offers the standard experience. If you decide to bump up the difficulty to Hard, you should know that enemies will have access to many abilities, your units will receive a bit more damage from enemies, and the AI will be faster. Playing in Hard will also decrease the mana gathering rate and the total mana per crystal. At least Lillet will have access to additional abilities!

Anything you want to do in GrimGrimoire OnceMore will use mana. As you know, mana is the source of magic. You’ll find it in crystalized form, which is why you’ll have to direct elves and other special units to collect the crystals so that they can bring them back to the portal so that they’re converted into mana. How will you play the game? I’m glad you asked! You’ll move a cursor around the screen with the left analog stick and will select an elf with the Y button. Once you do this, you can command him to go to the crystal by moving the cursor over it and pressing the A button. When mana is being gathered from a crystal, a shrub will form. This is known as a Sanctuary. If it’s destroyed, then mana can’t be gathered. If this happens, you’ll need to send the elves again so that they can rebuild it.

Mana that has been gathered is displayed in a light blue in the lower left corner of the screen. Mana gathering is a slow but steady process, so you’ll have to be patient as you wait to have enough to use for your defenses. You can summon more familiars from the portal – which is known as a Rune. You’ll have to spend mana to do this. The first step to take will be to move the cursor over the Rune and then press the Y button to interact with it.

After that’s been taken care of, you will have to summon more elves to speed up the gathering process. Since each elf costs 50 mana, you’ll only be able to summon one right away. Something else to consider is that there will be different colored Runes to interact with, and each Rune will have different Familiars to summon. You also have a limit on how many Familiars you can have in play at any given time. This is the number that is right below your current mana total.

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As you can probably guess, the more powerful a Familiar, the higher its overall mana cost. You’ll have to plan accordingly and mix and match as needed to keep your mana flowing and your units safe. Your first attack Familiar will be the fairy. Although not very powerful, they can excel when in groups. And since their cost is not high, you can put several into play. Attack Familiars are important because you’ll need to use them not only to defend the area but also to gain control of crystals so that elves can gather mana from them.

While there are different Rune types that will allow you to summon different Familiars, there’s one more element for you to consider: leveling up! Some of the mana that you collect can be spent to level up Runes. Doing this will make it possible to gain access to more of the Familiar types you’ve unlocked up to that point. Take, for example, Ghosts. They’re a familiar under the Necromancy Grimoire, and they can be used to gather mana. Since they can fly, they can quickly move between floors if needed.

Speaking of Necromancy, another one of the very useful Familiars you can summon from the Rune – which is of a light blue color and showcases some screaming souls for good measure – is the Phantom. Phantoms deal good damage when attacking but also have a very useful quality: they’re Astral entities! What this means is that they don’t have a physical form, so they can’t be damaged by physical attacks.

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To speed things up, you can press and hold down the Y button when selecting one unit so that you can then continue to move the cursor to select the rest of the units of the same type. That way, you’ll only need to issue one command for all of them to follow right away. You can also press up on the D-Pad to quickly select groups of the same Familiar type. This is very useful when you have many summoned Familiars, and it’s hard to be precise with the cursor when trying to select this or that group. Pressing right on the D-Pad will allow you to cycle through all Familiars, one at a time.

By pressing the X button, you’ll be able to open up the different Grimoires from which you can draw the knowledge of each of the four trees of magic. This is from where you’ll activate the additional Runes you’ll use during your time with GrimGrimoire OnceMore. Another useful Rune is the Wicca. Once you’ve built it, you’ll be able to send in an elf to advent a Talisman. Talismans help to protect your Runes since they act as towers. If you’re feeling confident, you can press and hold down the ZR button to fast-forward through the action. Just be careful and don’t overuse it, or you might find yourself overwhelmed by opposing forces!

GrimGrimoire OnceMore brings us the definitive version of one of the classics from NIS America and Vanillaware. We’re getting a remastered take on things, with revamped graphics, an art gallery with tons of gorgeous art to look at, and some quality-of-life improvements, such as being able to fast-forward the action, a new voice cast, and some other bells and whistles here and there. Did I mention how GrimGrimoire is a bit like Groundhog’s Day in that you’ll end up relieving the same five days over and over again as you try to find a way to defeat the evil Archmage Calvaros who used to own this very same tower and is now a spirit trapped there who wants to escape to obtain the power of the Philosopher’s Stone? I didn’t? Oh well. GrimGrimoire OnceMore is out on Nintendo Switch at a $49.99 price.

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This GrimGrimoire OnceMore review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by NIS America.

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