The best way to describe Grimm’s Hatchery would be to call it a Insaniquarium clone with tycoon elements. Your evil stepbrother (there’s always a evil-somebody in fantasy games) inherited the kingdom, and you must accumulate $300,000 in 80 days to buy it all back. To do this, you started a hatchery for magical creatures – golden geese, gryphons, dragons and the like.

The “days” work like Insaniquarium; the creatures will get hungry, they will lay eggs, and they will get attacked by wild animals. Your job is to pick up the eggs, feed them, and frantically click on said wild animals to kill them. After you finish a day, you can go into town and sell the eggs, hatch the eggs, buy/sell animals and feed and so on, and that works like the day to day business in a tycoon game. When you’ve accumulated enough money, you can buy the next farm up, which will allow you to keep more expensive animals that lay more expensive eggs.

It’s a very simple premise, and it’s a great marriage of two genres. There’s other tidbits such as a quest system that allows you to open up other areas of the game, picking up parts to invent things for your creatures, creating hybrids from eggs, etc; however the core game remains the same the entire game – run the day, do some mad clicking, sell the eggs, buy more creatures – and it does get a bit repetitive. It’s still fun, but it is very repetitive. The quest system is very, very basic; the premise lies in that if you do good, good things will happen to you.

Grimm’s Hatchery has a lot of quirks that makes it feel like an old school RPG game instead of a newer casual game. For one, the creatures only move in 4 directions. Instead of seeing a bunch of animals running amok (like in other Insaniquarium clones), these ones runs in a set of tracks. Egg-laying is also not random – if you have the same magical creature in the pen, say 10 dragonflies, they will all lay their eggs at the same time. Picking eggs up doesn’t feel as responsive as it should, and honestly, the animals die way too quickly from hunger. Unlike other similar games, there’s also no warning of this – they just kind of wink out of existence.

Also, unlike other virtual “pet” games, your creatures only have two stages: egg and full-grown. So there’s no complexity of watching your little ones hatch from egg –> new born –> youth –> mature egg laying creatures. It makes it especially easy to part with them when you hatch an egg.

In the day time mode you can save and load any time, so that makes for some cheap exploits. Usually an animal sells for 6 times its egg’s price, so if you hatch 1 in 3 eggs, you’d make twice as much as selling just the eggs. So you can always hatch 3, and if they don’t turn out, reload again. This hatching system breaks the game. A better idea would’ve been to hatch successfully all the time, yet need days for the hatchlings to mature enough for selling.

The graphics in Grimm’s Hatchery is what you’d expect in an old school RPG – hand drawn, well done backgrounds, pixelated sprites with limited animation, non player characters who don’t move at all. It’s nice, but it doesn’t take advantage of the PC and the hardware capabilities. At all. The sound department is rather lacking as well; your creatures all have the same sound when they’re fed, the same sound when they “wink out,” and the same sound when they hatch.

Grimm’s Hatchery is a very cute, lively game, but it’s short of great because of the simplistic math that arises from the simple creature system. It’s quite enjoyable, but it lacks the depth that makes a tycoon game (like Fairy Godmother Tycoon) or the fast and furious clicking of Insaniquarium. It is fun, however, for a single play through.

Grimm’s Hatchery Hints

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