[PlayStation 5] Grounded Review

by EdEN, Owner

Grounded from Xbox Game Studios and Obsidian Entertainment is a colorful survival adventure now out on PlayStation 5. Learn more in our Grounded review!

Grounded from Xbox Game Studios and Obsidian Entertainment is a colorful survival adventure now out on PlayStation 5. This is one of the games from Microsoft that are now multiplatform experiences, along with Hi-Fi Rush, Pentiment, and Sea of Thieves – for which you can check out our PlayStation 5 review. For Grounded, you’ll take on a journey that sees you exploring the vast backyard after realizing you’re now even smaller than an ant! Dr. Wendell Tully’s SPAC.R device has miniaturized you, and you must now find a way to fix things before it’s too late. It’s a game you can take on by playing on your own, going online and hosting a session, or joining someone else’s session. Do remember that you need a current PlayStation Plus subscription.

We’re jumping into this one along with the launch of the Fully Yoked update, which adds some new content to the game. Along with all of the updates introduced to the game after its initial launch, the Fully Yoked update brings the majestic Ant Queen into play. Depending on your choices, you can form an alliance or wreak havoc and face the consequences. You can even end up with a new ant pet! On top of that, there’s also a New Game+ that remixes the challenges, changes the location of enemies and items, and offers a more demanding experience. There are also 20 new items and equipment to add some extra variety.

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You can play the game in one of three different game modes: Survival, Creative, and Custom. In Survival, the yard is a hostile environment, so you’ll need to look for any potential danger at all times. You can play either in Mild, Medium, or Whoa! difficulty, with the challenge climbing at a steady pace when moving from one to the next. For Creative, you can craft and explore without having to worry about resource management. You can decide if bugs should be present, but even if they are, they won’t be aggressive.

As for Custom, it’s a mode in which you can tailor your experience and customize the settings to your liking. This offers the chillest of chill times on PlayStation 5’s Grounded. Do know that you won’t be able to obtain any trophies if you play in Creative or Custom, so trophy hunters will need to play the game’s main mode – more on trophies in a bit. The next step on this journey will be to select which character you’ll play as during your time with Grounded. Your options are Max, Willow, Pete, and Hoops.

Once you get going, you’ll control your character with the left analog stick and look around with the right one. Sprint by pressing in on the left analog stick, and crouch by pressing in on the right analog stick. The X button will be for jumping, and the Square button will be for interacting. The R2 button will be for attacking, and you can block with the L2 button as needed. When in construction mode, you can place a building with the Square button. You can snap to grid by pressing the L1 button and rotate clockwise with the R2 button or counterclockwise with the L2 button.

By exploring and collecting the different available resources, you’ll eventually be able to craft a variety of useful items. These include ropes, bandages to heal your wounds, tools to cut, pummel, or stab your way through even the most dangerous scenarios, plating for crafting sturdier items, and even armor pieces to protect you a bit from incoming damage. This should be combined with perfect blocks where you block an attack just as it’s about to hit you so that you can use this to stun your opponent for a counterattack.

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By pressing the Triangle button, your character will form something that will look like a pair of binoculars. This is known as a PEEP. By using this to analyze creatures with the R1 button, you can unlock Creature Cards that will reveal each creature’s weaknesses and resistance so that you can know what you’ll be going up against. Be sure to do this from a safe distance, or else you’ll be bit and squashed to death. Size definitely matters in this adventure!

To craft more items, you’ll need to analyze each new object with a resource analyzer to unlock their full potential. Doing this will also reward you with Raw Science – more on this in a bit – as well as grant you a boost in Brainpower. Think of Brainpower as your experience points. Obtain enough, and you’ll be able to level up. The higher the unlocked level of Brainpower, the more crafting recipes you’ll gain access to. Leveling up is a must if you eat to survive in this new life of yours!

After finding BURG.L, you’ll learn that you must discover Auxiliary Chips and Super Chips to be able to restore the robot’s memory banks so that he can help you fix the SPAC.R to unshrink yourself. By logging into the Advanced Library System (ASL), you’ll be able to take on BURG.L quests to be rewarded with more Raw Science. You can use an ASL terminal to visit the Science Shop, where you can spend your hard-earned Raw Science for Chip unlocks.

These include options such as the Smithing Station, a workstation you can then use to upgrade weapons by using materials. Another option is Cooking 101, which will allow you to combine ingredients to cook various meals to handle your constant hunger. Make some yummy Gnatchos with hot and gooey gnat meat over crunchy chips or some fuzzy Miteloaf! You can also unlock Multi-Story Bases and Pebblet Foundation to have a solid way of setting up a base from which to defend yourself. Later on, you’ll have the option of spending Raw Science to duplicate an item.

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Something else you can do by interacting with an ASL station is upgrade your character thanks to
Milk Molars. You’ll find your first cracked Milk Molar when exploring the Hedge Lab. There’s another one on a branch around the Hedge Lab, but you’ll have to crack it with an upgraded hammer – an insect hammer, to be precise. What upgrades can you get with Milk Molars? You can boost your character’s hit points and stamina, lower the rate at which hunger and thirst drain, increase how much you can heal your wounds when using an item, or increase how many active Mutations you can have.

Mutations are special perks that you can unlock as you play through Grounded. Say you use the axe a lot to cut down spiderwebs or to attack enemies. Thanks to this, you’ll eventually unlock the Chopper Mutation. This one will allow you to lower a target’s chopping and stabbing resistance for a short window. Continue chopping down enemies, and you’ll upgrade the Chopper Mutation. There are also some Mutations you can buy gron BURG.L in exchange for some Raw Science, but those Mutations will only have a single level and can’t be upgraded further. You should mix and match Mutations to find the ones that best suit your playing style and what you need to do in each given scenario. You can set a handful of different Mutations loadouts so that you can quickly change between them.

Grounded has a full trophy list with a Platinum trophy for you to try and add to your collection. The list has 32 Bronze trophies, 10 Silver trophies, and 3 Gold trophies for you to work on. Some of the objectives include saving BURG.L after the Oak Tree Lab explosion, completing the Hedge Lab, buying your first upgrade from the ALS station, obtaining your first mutation, performing 10 perfect blocks in a row, discovering 20 sites on the map, defeating your first wolf spider, infusing yourself with the power of 20 Milk Molars, getting to level 10 Brainpower, accessing Photo Mode, unlocking every Creature Card, and starting and completing a New Game+ run.

The game has several accessibility options so that you can find the right combination that works best for you. Along with enabling larger text and a larger HUD, you can activate wide interaction so that you can interact with nearby objects even when not directly looking at them. There are also colorblind options, a read me option so that the game narrates aloud the text content for on-screen elements, and you can change the size of subtitles and if they should be displayed inside of a dark background.

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You can adjust the reticle size and opacity, enable chat text to speech, char speech to text, and enable a dark background for the chat log. A very interesting accessibility option is for arachnophobia safe mode. If arachnophobia doesn’t ring a bell, you should know it’s what you would call the fear of spiders. Since there are many, many spiders in Grounded, you can decide if you want to leave them as is or if you want to lower the spidery look of spiders. By adjusting this, you can start to remove some of its legs, fangs, and spider-like body and even end up with an almost non-descript bug-like thing with virtually no color.

Colorful survival adventure Grounded has now made its way to PlayStation 5. After being shrunk down to a size that is even smaller than an ant, you will need to work on your own or alongside gamers from around the world as you try and fix things before it’s too late. This version lands alongside the Fully Yokes update, which adds the Ant Queen, new items and equipment, some quality-of-life improvements, and a challenging New Game+ option. Grounded is available as a Cross-Buy title, so your $39.99 purchase will allow you to download both the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game at no extra cost.

This Grounded review is based on a PlayStation 5 copy provided by Xbox Game Studios.

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