This week I’m going to introduce you all to Grinns Tale, the latest time management game from Nexon.

Now, I’ve never tried to hide my disdain with micro-purchase time-management games. They tend to be a dime-a-dozen and all feature very, very similar play. I’ve played several of them over the years, but never stuck with one for long. I think the 2-3 months I played Mafia-Wars was about the longest I ever played one.

Grinns Tale, however, takes a charming, artistic, and different approach to time management that I find refreshing. Instead of the universal “daily energy” system that grants you a certain number of actions based on how much energy you have, Grinns Tale works to separate this out a bit to increase playability. Oh there’s still an energy system in the game, but it’s better hidden and much more flexible.  Instead of energy there’s food, which is built with the resources your village produces.  If you’re willing to set aside  a fair amount of resources in a given day, you can pretty much play the dungeon crawling portion of the game non-stop for as long as you want. So, compared to “you have 20 units of energy today that regenerate once every 10 minutes” this approach is far more generous to somebody who wants to play more than 30 minutes a day. There is also a fair bit of humor in the game that adds to the light-hearted feel of the whole package.

The basic premise of Grinns Tale is that you control warriors trying to build a city at the base of a magical tower infested with evil machines that are seeking to escape and do mischief to the world around. You build up your town to produce residents, items, resources, food, and heroes to help you climb up the tower in hopes of eventually conquering the evil contained within.

On the city side, there isn’t a whole lot new. You have limited space and buildings with which to build your city, and buildings can be upgraded to produce more/better things. Pretty standard of most time management games. You use resources of wood and metal to build everything, and the only reasonable way to get a good supply of these is to build resource buildings. From there you use those resources for all your other endeavors. Creating equipment for your Heroes requires buildings be created and upgraded for them, and the equipment itself requires resources as well as loot items form inside the tower. You can also do some decorating of your city if you like making things pretty, but that’s primarily aesthetics and nothing more.

The place where this game begins to shine is in the combat/dungeon crawling aspect of it. As you progress through the game, you begin to build a troupe of heroes. These heroes can take any of 6 job classes: Adventurer, Cleric, Knight, Wizard, Ranger, and Berserker. What’s more is that any hero can train up multiple classes in order to access cross-class skills that make them more effective in combat. By utilizing these classes and their cross-class skills there is actually quite a bit of strategy involved in the simple, yet surprisingly robust battle system. Add to that the survival mode dungeon that pits you against ever increasing waves of enemies, and you’re in for a good time if you like min/maxing.

Like all of these micro-purchase games, there is the standard pay-for currency: Pramins. By using this currency you can do anything from buying elite equipment to supplying yourself with extra resources to build things. And, like a lot of games, there are limited ways to acquire pramins in the game, but really the idea is that Nexon wants you involved enough in the game to consider paying for some. While I don’t like the micro-purchase business model in general, I’ve never actually begrudged a company from trying to make money off their game, so this doesn’t really bother me. The impact of pramins on the game is lessened by how playable it is without using them.

It’s certainly not going to be a game for everyone, especially not those who are cultivating their image of being hardcore, but it’s a nice little game that provides a few new experiences in a genre choked with -villes and -wars games.

-Confusion is a state of mind, or is it?