Obsidian’s Grounded Delivers One of the Scariest Moments in Video Games
Obsidian Entertainment’s Grounded is the video game version of Honey I Shrunk the Kids. It’s a survival title that miniaturizes players and asks them to survive in a backyard environment that is filled with mystery and a ton of threats.
While the game itself is focused on the pillars of the survival genre like crafting and base-building, the combat in Grounded puts an overarching sense of progression on top of the experience. Fighting insects and other enemies starts out as an exercise in futility, but eventually, fully equipped players will be able to make quick work of the more imposing threats.
But arguably the biggest moment in Grounded is players’ first encounter with a spider. For most people, spiders are scary enough at their normal size, but in Grounded they tower above the player and are downright terrifying. Seeing a spider for the first time is easily one of the most memorable parts of Grounded and stands right alongside any jump-scare in a horror game.
Grounded smartly guides players towards a specific area of the map in order to progress the story/mystery and the developers put a spider just close enough to ensure that most players will run into it. Depending on how players approach, there are a few different ways that the spider encounter can play out, but all are terrifying.
Some Grounded players might hear the spider first before being instantly killed by it. Others might see the grass moving and wonder what type of larger create is able to split the blades to the side. And a select few might decide to test how strong the spider is, and learn that the answer is, “Very strong.”
No matter how the spider encounter in Grounded goes, the only recourse is to run away. Eventually, through crafting and finding rare items like Ant Eggs in Grounded, players might be able to build up a loadout that is capable of taking down a spider. But for the first encounter, players are ill-equipped and outmatched in every sense of the word.
One has to imagine that the spider encounter in Grounded is built as one of the main selling points of the game because of how memorable it is. It may be scary but it also should generate a bit of laughter, as players try to run for their life. Grounded players who take on the backyard in co-op might have a more unique experience, as they watch their friends helplessly try to escape.
There are other merits to Grounded and it’s one of the better games in the survival genre, so those who might be too scared of spiders or actually arachnophobic might be turned off by that possibility. Luckily, Obsidian Entertainment has given Grounded an Arachnophobia Mode that makes the spiders a lot less intimidating. There is also a slider so that players can adjust the intensity of the spider design from making them more realistic to making them look like a bunch of ovals.
Those who can brave the sight of spiders are in store for something unique when playing Grounded. Even if gamers have seen the spider in a stream or YouTube video, there is nothing like coming across an Orb Weaver on your own.
Grounded is in early access on PC and Xbox One.