If there’s one thing you can say about Grimm’s Hatchery – it’s by no means another “me too” clone, such as a 3-in-a-row puzzle knock-off or waitressing micromanagement game.
Instead, Amaranth Games’ Grimm’s Hatchery is a magical pet simulation set in the same role-playing game (RPG) universe as its popular Aveyond.
But while it’s certainly a unique concept, it isn’t the most exciting casual game to click through.
At the start of this tale, you learn that your stepfather, who was a king, has passed away, but has left the kingdom to your evil stepbrother, Lord Boras. Not without a sense of humor, however, your dad has stipulated you can win back the kingdom and throw out your no-good sibling if you can earn 300,000 gold coins within 80 days. To do so, you must talk with the townsfolk and perform missions, nurture magical pets – ranging from geese and Griffonettes to Icebirds and purple dragons — and sell and hatch their eggs to raise money for more animals and other items.
The game starts in the poor area of town, with a static screen showing various characters and buildings, and you can click items, such as a key found on the ground or an urn to see if there’s anything inside of any value. Click on a character to read what they can offer you, such as a reward for retrieving an object, or they might buy and sell items to aid in your goal. You’ll start with a measly dragonfly who then roams about a farm, laying eggs once in a while; click on the hatched egg to pocket it. Monsters will begin to appear, such as swarming critters, an evil bird or slippery serpent, so you must click on the approaching threat so that it’s defeated or else it may poison your pet(s), which requires medicine to heal.
Eventually you’ll make money by selling eggs and buying better pets (or hatching them from eggs), and picking up more powerful weapons to defeat the monsters, meaning it requires less mouse clicks for them to disappear. In time, you’ll access new areas of the map, where you can get more interesting missions and make decisions that can affect your path to success (should you return the bag of 200 gold pieces you found to its rightful owner or keep it to put towards a cabin?).
The farm scenes — where you must feed your pets, pick up their hatched eggs and ward off deadly threats – takes place over one day. At the end of sun/moon cycle you can continue on the farm the following day or click on the map to buy/sell items or chat with characters to perform missions that help you advance throughout the tale and inch towards your lofty goal of 300,000 coins in just under three months.
Interestingly, you can also breed new species of pets by fusing (“zapping”) two kinds of pets together – in many cases it won’t take and you’ve wasted this sellable asset, while in other instances you will successfully create a new breed you can take care of or sell for profit.
While distinctive in the causal game space, Grimm’s Hatchery’s game-play can get monotonous over time, though it is somewhat fun to take care over a handful of animals and negotiate with the townsfolk to buy and sell eggs and pets and other items.
Perhaps fans of Aveyond will enjoy clicking through Grimm’s Hatchery, but unless you’re up for a magical “pet simulation” that can get a bit redundant and tedious after a short while, you might just want to wait until Aveyond II: Ean’s Quest is ready later on in the year.