The Let's Play Archive

Grim Grimoire

by My Name Is Kaz

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Original Thread: Let's Play Grim Grimoire! Let's Play Grim Grimoire!


This LP is also available on the Internet Archive! Some video LPs are kindly hosted by the folks on This means the original source videos will always be available for download or watching, even if the original video hosts are no longer available!


My Name Is Kaz here, back again with a Vanillaware game: Grim Grimoire (oire).

If Starcraft is the greatest game (to betray something of a personal fact), Grim Grimoire would be its non-union anime equivalent. You build buildings (runes) and towers (symbols), summon worker and fighter units (familiars), gather resource units (mana), and lead the terran command force (witch-in-training) against the forces of the evil zerg (asshole wizards) in space (a big ass tower/wizard college). The parallels run deeper, and were more than enough to sell me on playing through the game. The name "Vanillaware" was independently also enough to so sell me, as there is something about paper cutout graphics done absurdly well on a modern(ish) console that jives with my inner retro gamer.

Box Art:

Lillet Blan, a lone girl in a world of wizards named after booze flies a wyvern shuttle to the Tower of Silver Star, ancient headquarters of a one time wizard super-villain re-purposed as a college for professional wizards. Lillet meets strange and motley students, faculty, and staff while she learns the ways and means of becoming a great magician so she can do the best to provide for her brothers back home. What wondrous worlds await Wiwwet within?

Game Structure:
Grim Grimoire is divided into 25 story missions and 25 bonus missions. Before and after each story mission you are treated to a cutscene where extravagant paper dolls yack about the daily goings-on of the school, and pontificate about the platitudes of the virtuous wizard or otherwise expose the sundry plots. Each story mission represents a day of wizard training, and you guide Lillet through the five weeks of five days each. There's an additional cutscene at the beginning of each week, and sometimes the characters interrupt missions to spout something important (or, more often, something inane).
In addition, the 25 bonus missions are available to challenge you and provide a range of scenarios with limitations and special goals.

In This LP:
What's the format?
Gameplay videos with post commentary. K1wi will be joining me. (She owns the game, so I'll basically be doing whatever she asks :shh:)

What missions are you playing?
I'm covering all 25 story missions, and recording all the pre and post mission cutscenes. I'm not doing all the bonus missions.

Hey, why not do the bonus missions?
Basically because I'd rather not spend those hours again. I've played through all 50 missions on both normal and hard (which unlocks after you complete normal), and the bonus missions don't add enough to the viewing experience to make me want to go through them again. I will, however, present a list of the missions and you may vote on which five you would like to see. I'm willing to do that many.

How do I vote on bonus missions?
Once I've done the first week or week-and-a-half of story missions, anyone watching will have enough of an idea about what the game is like to form an opinion about the bonus missions. At that time, I'll post a list of five of the bonus missions with difficulty ratings and descriptions. Make a post with the mission number you'd most like to see played.
We'll do that five times throughout the thread, so you get five bonus missions out of me in addition to the whole story.

How often will you be posting videos?
As often as I can. I've been frankly trying to get this out of the way for some time. By now I have about half the story recorded and will try to keep the pace of releasing a new video every few days.

Will you be cutting and editing the gameplay?
Because each mission involves gradually more and more time to secure resources and raise an army, sometimes running upwards of 45 minutes, I'll be cutting out large parts of any given mission. The videos should end up 20 minutes at the very longest, averaging 13 minutes. That's including the pre and post mission cutscenes.
My guiding theory for the edits is to show as much of the gameplay as I can, while repeating the gameplay as little as I can get away with. If you've seen me gather my first 200 mana and build a new rune once, you've seen it 25 times. This means I'll be making more cuts as we go along.
It also means that I'll be mixing up my builds to show off all the units in many strategies, even though the optimal approach is usually only one of three or so things.

On with the show.

Story Missions

Week 1, Day 1: You're a Wizard, Harry Lillet!Viddler
Week 1, Day 2: What You Call SinViddler
Week 1, Day 3 and Day 4: Of Symbol and SpiritViddler
Week 1, Day 5: Rights to DeadViddler
Week 2, Day 1: Trial by HellfireViddler
Week 2, Day 2: DRAGONS!Viddler
Week 2, Day 3: Created LivesViddler
Week 2, Day 4: The Stolen StarViddler
Week 2, Day 5: Double DevilViddler
Week 3, Day 1: Thinking CapViddler
Week 3, Day 2: Led Into TemptationViddler
Week 3, Day 3: CrossfireViddler
Week 3, Day 4: The Ghost in The BoxViddler
Week 3, Day 5: Summoning BanViddler
Week 4, Day 1: Courting DevilsViddler
Week 4, Day 2: Ghost TrapViddler
Week 4, Day 3: Blinded by SoulsViddler
Week 4, Day 4: Solomon's LemegetonViddler
Week 4, Day 5: The Cost of Doing BusinessViddler
Week 5, Day 1: A Woman ScornedViddler
Week 5, Day 2: Giving the Devil His Duel Viddler
Week 5, Day 3: Battle ToadViddler
Week 5, Day 4: Soul ExchangeViddler
Week 5, Day 5: The Philosopher's LegacyViddler
Epilogue: Lillet GrandeViddler

Bonus Missions

First Bonus Mission: Waltz of Spirits and GhostsViddler
Second Bonus Mission: Shy DragonViddler
Third Bonus Mission: Queen and the Red HoodViddler
Fourth Bonus Mission: BadgerViddler
Bonus Bonus Mission: Holy RoadViddler
Final Bonus Mission: Goddam CalvarosViddler

A taste of the cast:

She's named for Lillet Blanc, a French aperitif wine. The French would barely pronounce the c at all, so Lillet's name reads nearly exactly like the wine. I'll leave it to to tell you about the citrus notes or whathaveyou. I'm a forums poster, not a sommelier.
The character, though, is entirely too sweet, and so refined tongues my pass it off to children, perhaps cutting it a bit with water. Lillet manages to contrast sharply with all the other flavors of the game, probably because of her generic manner and lack of definition or refinement. She's awkward, curious, happy, and good-natured to a fault. She vanguards the anime cliche of wanting to save everyone: she doesn't wish harm on her worst enemy and wants most sorely for everyone to get along.
At her best, she's obstreperous and clever. At her worst, she's callow and bland. Lillet Bland.

He's named after a Danish bitter that's meant to be drunk by a fireplace and poured for you by a manservant while you puff on a pipe. It apparently has more ingredients than all of Secret of Evermore, and each one has a folk story about how people used to use it as an aphrodisiac, or to ward off ghosts.
Gammel himself has warm, rich overtones that excite the taste buds with the promise of amazing knowledge and splendid magical acts to follow. The finish, however chafes with a bit of a smokiness as Gammel sometimes struggles to remember where he is or his relative role in that situation. When he isn't sneaking a bite from a sandwich he keeps hidden in his beard (away from all those mischievous elves), he's busy with his roles as headmaster and head Nature magic instructor. He's tastiest when chased with another, simpler flavor, but never fails to add something unique to any mix he's a part of. Somewhere behind the dementia of an old naturalist and the addled episodes of a professor trying to himself remember the basics of wizardry is an old hand, seasoned and smiling, waiting just like you may have imagined to tell you all those amazing things you first got a taste of.

Opelneria Rain derives her name from Opel Nera, an anise flavored black licorice liqueur, which its makers claim is "damn tasty." The black love comes from elderberry rind.
Opelneria has a shallow but very full bodied flavor, which leaves the palette guessing whether or not you just swallowed ambrosia or helped clean up an oil slick with your mouth. Further evidence in favor of the oil slick theory will certainly come the morning after a long night with her: you'll feel like the waking dead. Her personality starts with an aggressive and most bitter initial push, warding off would be admirers, yet she can't hide her own complex sweetness, and does nothing at all to keep her attractive container corked. It takes endurance to build up a taste for her, but one who does may enjoy the layered innocence and maturity of a gentile and passionate poly-centenarian witch.
Opelneria spends entirely too much of her time cavorting with the dead, which makes her callous and uncaring toward the living. The living, after all, are not subject to the rules she knows best, and are therefore untrustworthy. She only became bitter after being scorned time and again, however; and that only could have happened because of her gentle, loving spirit.
Although, she does keep that loving spirit under careful guard locked away in a phylactery on her shelf next to her emergency supply of purple body paint. Fool me eight or more times, shame on me.

He's named for Advocaat, a dutch custard that moonlights as moonshine.
Advocat has a tiered profile like a rich layered cake, where each layer is a different shelf of your cupboard, or perhaps the next ring of hell. On the surface, he's superciliously overbearing and unflappably bold. Despite this, he is still smooth from top to bottom, and if you can get to the bottom, you may delight in the rich wealth of complexity that led you there, where you are certainly now trapped; doomed to spend all eternity in the frothy residue on the side of the glass you just enjoyed. A level of sophistication is needed to be able to choke down this amoral old choke-artist, who can be charmingly sweet, and most tempting of bouquet.
The only thing Advocat loves more than abiding the rules is exploiting them. He's bound by client-devil confidentiality from telling you anything he doesn't want you to know and wields his station the way he wields his hellish sorcery. Crank it all to eleven and don't hold back until you've swallowed the load.

Dr. Chartreuse is named for Chartreuse Grande, a greenish-yellow liqueur as old as the prayers of the alpine French monks who make it.
Chartreuse has a rough exterior and a small sip or a quick sniff hints that one is about to suffer a chemical burn rather than take a pleasant swig. Beyond the approach of rubbing alcohol, a good hearty dose reveals a sweet, light, dry air that welcomes one into magnificently and meticulously arrayed chambers of flavor. Each of them dryer and more academic than the last. Only the most sophisticated tastes will be satisfied with Chartreuse, otherwise the extreme dryness he presents may be confused with a strong floor cleaner aged in a disused chamber pot, left to dry in the desert sun; abandoned by the chinchillas who lived there because it was simply too dry.
His thirst for knowledge knows no bounds. Alchemy is the fastest growing research magic, and he wishes to leave his mark on the runes every mage must craft to create Alchemy's many artificial beings. At his best, Chartreuse is ascetic and focused. At his worst, he is amoral and mistaken.

We've had some pretty obscure tastes so far, but if you don't know Margarita Surprise's namesake already, you don't have enough lime in your life.
Margarita has a cloying acidic sweetness pretty much from bottom to top; a small sample reveals just as much as a hearty swig. If you don't like her right away, you probably never will, much like a classy overcoat or popular music icon. Tastes differ, though, and Margarita's better half and garnish, Shirley, adds some much needed complexity and zest to an otherwise childishly sweet character, to the point where one may simply wish to snack on the garnish and ignore everything else entirely, much like a martini, or perhaps bouquet garni. As with those, Shirley is also a necessary source of nutrition in Margarita's otherwise anemic profile, a not inconsiderable addition.
Margarita is skittish, gossipy, fragile and feckless. Her only advantage is her opportunism, which she presses without fail. Like any particular particle, however, identify her advantage and it atomizes immediately.

Bartido Ballentyne is named for Ballantine's scotch whiskey, which is apparently so popular that two bottles of it are sold every second.
The first rush of smooth smoke from the first taste of Bartido is enough to charm housewives who long for an escape from the ordinary, or thirteen year old girls who should know better than to sneak about the liquor cabinet. To others, the overall bold smokiness could resemble panic, like sitting too close to a campfire, or being caught in a burning chemical plant. Bartido's strong overtones belie a softer, creamy naivety. The smoke screen is almost thus a defensive mechanism to getting too familiar, though hearty drinkers are more likely to get bored with the underbelly and stick to small sips as to maximize the taste of dangerous passionate fire to be had there.
Bartido is a bare-elbow boxer first and an alchemist second. He never learned to pick his fights, and therefore picks all of them all the time. At his best, he is courageous and vigilant, at his worst, he is foolhardy and clumsy.

She's named for Amaretto, an Italian almond liquor invented by Leonardo Di Vinci while he painted Madonna.
Amoretta Virgine was brewed in an alchemic distiller and put in a flask to age, and for all the world should have just as well been left in. Only 106 days old, with a tangy bouquet of unripe almond flowers and barely-dissolved sugars, Amoretta puts forth an overwhelming vanilla that even a child raised by alligators would say lacks sophistication. Where the taste buds anticipate further notes, hints, flavors, smells, or inklings, Amoretta just ends. Put this one back in the bottle and leave it in the cellar until the Gideon's trumpet sounds. Maybe then Amoretta would be more interesting.

Hiram Menthe is named for crème de menthe, which is French for "half of a grasshopper."
Hiram Menthe waxes sweet, but has aggressive pungent tones reminiscent of chewing on mothballs, or cleaning the floor with a powerful generic product and forgetting one's mask. Dry does not begin to describe the arid parchness of Hiram's full body, paradoxically offering up no long list of flavors to while away the hours in the desert of history lessons and rules litanies Hiram has at the ready in the scroll he is never without. The potent mint is best cut with other spirits, serving otherwise only masochists or drinkers robbed of their sense of taste by a farming accident involving a silo of Altoids.
Hiram wants to be a professor so badly he can taste it past the curiously strong mint flavor. He expresses this by alerting the professors to anything at all that's going on for any reason, and sassing anyone who isn't a professor, also for any reason.

I'm pleased with this little guy, and want to keep him somewhere I can find him.
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