We're used by now to the fact that the folks at RPGCodex are allergic to the very idea of rushing out a review, so it's not particularly surprising that they've only managed to put out their verdict on Legend of Grimrock now. While they have their share of gripes with the title, they seem to appreciate Almost Human's efforts in creating a new old-style first-person dungeon crawler:
As mentioned before, Grimrock is a "grid-based dungeon crawler". Now the dungeon crawler part is self-explanatory - you're dumped in a dungeon and have to crawl around - but it's the grid-based movement that sets the game apart. Unlike most modern RPGs where you might point and click with the mouse or simply walk around using WASD and use the mouse to direct just where you go, Grimrock uses a 2D grid for movement.
This odd (or should I say, classic) movement system will trip you up from time to time, especially during combat (more on that later), but it grows on you and it won't be too long before you find it wholly appropriate for the game. In fact it has a nice way of slowing you down and making you not only appreciate the level, but think more about what you're doing... and thinking is going to come in really handy, because the dungeons of Grimrock are full of puzzles, traps and other assorted challenges which will have you racking your brain for the answer.
The dungeons underneath Mount Grimrock are full of traps, puzzles and assorted things designed to trip you up. There are floor traps which you'll have to close... or figure out how to open, along with others which open in a sequence you'll have to memorise (and hurriedly follow). There are secret buttons for hidden (and powerful) weapons and secret combinations of levers. Thankfully (at least on normal difficulty), there are always clues not too far away and most puzzles can be solved fairly intuitively. The game, in that sense, has been very well designed.
The only real complaint I did have was the level design. At first, I really did thnk the levels were randomly generated. Randomly twisting corridors, dead-end rooms that made no sense and arbitrarily placed puzzles all made me think it was being generated on the fly. Unfortunately, it wasn't. This has two effects, the first being that replayability is limited - Legend of Grimrock is the same every time you play it. The second effect is that, in my opinion, they're designed like someone pulled something out of their ass, smeared it on canvas and said "that'll do pig, that'll do". Still, provided you never ask "just why the hell did someone build a room with this kind of trap / puzzle in it anyway?", you'll do fine.
... still, I've never played one of these types of games before, and despite my frustrations with it, I can genuinely say that I loved it. I'm now salivating at the chance to get my hands on the game's level editor which is going to be released shortly. That will no doubt add hours of replayability and other challenges. And while I think the game could do with some fun things like hoarding loot, traipsing back to town and selling your wares at the local market, or randomised dungeons and a hundred more levels, it's pretty awesome for what it is.