Grimms Notes Review: a Simple but Fun Mobile RPG

Grimms Notes

The Basics

  • Name: Grimms Notes
  • From: Square Enix & Flero Games
  • Genre: RPG
  • Price: Free, with in app purchases

The Details

  • Installed size: 1.65 gb
  • Best played in medium sessions
  • Some translation issues
  • Playable Offline: No

What is Grimms Notes?

Grimms Notes is a gacha game that lets players collect characters from a variety of classic stories and fairy tales. The game combines hero collection with a touch of city building, a bit of crafting, and a combat system that asks players to do a bit more than just activate skills.

Grimms Notes stars a boy without a preordained story as he and his companions travel through different fairy tale inspired worlds encountering a variety of enemies. The game’s story is told in visual novel-like cut-scenes between battles.

Combat puts players in the shoes of their party’s leader and lets them control that character’s movement, attacks as well as the ability to activate their special ability or the ability of any member of their team. The game’s combat mechanics allow players to do things like get behind an enemy and pummel their back while an AI controlled team members attacks them head on.

Straying from the established hero collection formula, the characters players collect are equipped onto the game’s heroes instead of replacing the story’s characters in your party. That means that the story’s protagonist might equip Snow White and appear as her during battles. Players can also customize the AI behaviour of their team members, giving players more control over their team than most gacha games.

Grimms Notes gameplay

Recommendation

Considering that the original game was released several years ago in a constantly changing mobile gaming world, the global version of Grimms Notes does an admirable job at creating an interesting RPG experience. The game does a lot of things well, but never truly excels. It also skips the mobile RPG staple that is the stamina system and lets players grind as much as they want and yet still rewarding players who progress in the story with one time reward chests.

While the absence of a stamina system appears to be a blessing at first, it is much more of a double edge sword. Some titles like Helix Horizon have stamina systems that feel punitive, with players effectively being restricted to a small amount of missions per day unless they choose to use the game’s in app purchases. On the other hand other games use their stamina system to encourage a healthy limit on gameplay time while making the available playtime feel more valuable due to its limited nature. Grimms Notes has neither the drawbacks nor the benefits of the stamina system.

Grimm Note’s combat system works well. Players control their hero’s movement and attacks using one hand, with attacks being executed by simply tapping on the screen. The other hand is free to swap heroes or execute special attacks once they are available. Even though the system works well, it feels shallow and does not create a lot of room for strategy or experimentation. That is particularly true when taking on waves of generic enemies.

The game’s PVP, city building, and co-op elements definitely fall into the category of throw-in content that adds little to the game. City building requires that players build and upgrade certain buildings in order to craft weapons, upgrade their characters, or collect resources. It is not an interesting mechanic and never feels like anything more than a hassle. Thankfully, it also never feels like an obstacle to playing the game.

Grimms Notes story scene

If you were going by the game’s Google Play description, you might expect the game’s story to be a mess due to translation issues, as is often the case with mobile RPGs. Translation issues certainly exist, but they are mostly encountered while browsing the game’s menus and descriptions. While the story won’t win any awards, it’s competent and falls well outside of the “skip it as soon possible” category.

If you’re looking for a game that lets you focus on its story while not providing a lot of gameplay depth, Grimms Notes is a good choice. The game never reaches the highs of other free to play JRPGs like The Alchemist Code, but it offers a smooth experience without many of the obstacles often found in free to play games.


Basic, but well executed
Available on Google Play
Note: This review reflects the author’s views on the game at the time it was played. The state of the game may have changed since that time. Please note that installed size includes optional downloads where applicable.