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Video Game / Grounded

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Grounded is a survival game developed by Obsidian Entertainment for PC and Xbox One, released in Early Access on June 28, 2020.

Described by some as Honey, I Shrunk the Kids meets Minecraft, it involves a group of teenagers waking up, only to find themselves the size of ants and stranded in a backyard. The players must gather food, water and supplies, build shelter, and fight off hostile insects and spiders as they work to return to their normal size.

However, as the players explore the backyard, they soon discover that they may not be the first ones reduced in size...


The game provides examples of:

  • Action Bomb: Infected Weevils have a tendency to charge up to you and explode, dealing damage.
  • Adjustable Censorship: Hate spiders? The developers were nice enough to put in an Arachnaphobe Safe Mode setting as a slider to make the spiders less like spiders. At its maximum setting, the spiders appear as grey orbs. They'll still try to eat your face.
  • Ant Assault: Ants are some of the most regular enemies the player can encounter. They will demolish the player's encampments to eat any food the player has stored and swarm the player when they get hostile.
  • Artistic License – Physics: There are the standard violations of the Square-Cube Law usually found in Mouse World settings, but in particular the concept of chopping grass with an axe. Even if we assume the shrunken humans could still put enough force behind their chop, grass and weed stems are simply too flexible to be chopped in the same way that a tree trunk is chopped. A slicing implement like a knife would be far more useful. Of note, the koi pond update added a slicing tool in the form of the dagger... but it's also animated as chopping.
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  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: Ants, weevils, mites, aphids, and ladybugs wander around the backyard. They're actually normal sized creepy crawlies, but you've been shrunk down to their level so they appear huge to you.
  • Breakable Weapons: The crafted tools and weapons have durability meters.
  • Decapitation Presentation: One cave in the game is filled with ant heads on pikes, along with the skeleton of the shrunken person with several bones removed and used to make an effigy on the wall. You can follow suit with the remains of insects you've killed.
  • Deadly Gas:
    • One section of the backyard is covered in a yellow-tinged gas, which will sap your life unless you craft and equip a gas mask.
    • Stinkbugs will use bursts of harmful gas as an attack.
  • Doing Research: Science Stations, tiny domed structures, contain an Analyzer. Players can bring materials to the analyzer to gain science points and unlock new crafting recipes.
  • Fiendish Fish: It's a koi fish, and actually it's just regular size... which means it's basically a megalodon compared to you, and is more than happy to dine on tiny human meat.
  • Gang Up on the Human: Spiders only ever want to attack you, and will stroll right past other bugs (except stinkbugs) without even acknowledging them. Other bugs aren't as picky, though, as you'll sometimes see ants going after weevils or ladybugs going after aphids.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The four playable characters consist of two boys and two girls.
  • Gentle Giant: Ladybugs will only attack you if you attack them first.
  • Giant Food: Discarded normal-sized food and drink is scattered around the backyard. Players can slurp up drops of discarded soda and juice, but will need upgraded tools in order to harvest any solid food.
  • Giant Spider: The spiders are normal sized, but compared to you, they're the size of trucks. They move just as fast and hit just as hard as trucks too.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: The player characters, massively reduced in size. Since the distance measurements are in centimeters rather than meters, this puts the kids at less than an inch tall.
  • Improvised Armor: The players can craft clothes and armor from grass, acorns, and even bug remains.
  • In-Universe Game Clock: There is a day/night cycle, and players can build shelters/beds to sleep through the night, but sleeping is only permitted between 20:00 and 6:00.
  • Item Crafting: Players can craft tools and weapons from harvested resources, such as axes, spears, hammers, and bows with arrows.
  • King Mook: The Hedge Broodmother, a boss wolf spider, has an alternate color pattern, a unique name above her health bar, and boss-level attacks and hitpoints to differentiate her from a normal wolf spider.
  • The Little Detecto: A small direction-finder pops out of your HUD whenever you are near a Science Station, and bits of Raw Science with an upgrade.
  • Meaningful Background Event: The players first start by waking up next to a small box with human cut-outs in a foam liner. There are four players. There are five cut-outs in the box.
  • Moral Guardians: Joked about in game. Apparently they're not fans of the crime-and-punishment-themed Punch-O brand juice boxes. Finding the Lemon Crime Punch-O box prompts the player character to exposit that this flavor in particular got a lot of complaints. The kids don't seem to be happy about that fact.
  • Mouse World: The Game. The entire point is to explore and survive in someone's back yard when you've shrunk to the size of an ant.
  • Nemean Skinning: The player can make armor out of the parts of various backyard critters, and gains special abilities from doing so, and even more for wearing a matching set.
  • Not Quite Flight: The players can use dandelion seeds as makeshift parachutes, allowing them to drift and glide to the ground from high places. Dandelion seeds also have durability meters so be mindful of how much you use them.
  • Oxygenated Underwater Bubbles: The Koi Pond update added swimming including bubbles that refill the Oxygen Meter.
  • Planimal: Muscle sprouts, one of the inventions of Dr. Tully, is a brussel sprout crossbred with meat fibers. Apparently it tastes like beef liver and goes great with onions.
  • Poisoned Weapons: Venom Arrows can be crafted using poison scavenged from slain bugs. The larva blade and spider fang dagger also carry poison in them, due to being made from parts of venomous critters.
  • Punny Name:
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Hostile insects attacking the player will have their (compound) eyes glow bright red. It's even visible at night. The only exceptions are bugs that don't have eyes, such as garden mites.
  • Resources Management Gameplay: Players must manage their food and water intake, gather supplies, and make tools to survive in the backyard.
  • Roar Before Beating: Hostile bugs will give a battle screech before attacking. Spiders in particular will rear back in a threat display and give a loud hiss before charging forward to eat your face.
  • Robot Buddy: B.U.R.G.L, a repurposed burger-flipping robot, is found by the players, and in the demo he vows to help the players return to normal.
  • Shout-Out: Relatively close to the house, you can find an action figure of Rash from Battletoads; doing so triggers a landmark notification that uses the game's logo and the original NES game's iconic pause "music".
  • Shrink Ray: The actual shrinking device itself isn't too far from the player's starting point in the Demo version. Getting it to actually, legitimately function long enough to re-size the players, however, is an entirely different kettle of fish, and much harder to boot.
  • Standard Status Effects: Hit a bug hard enough and you'll stun it, complete with circling stars dancing over their heads.
  • Surprise Creepy: The game is a bright, colorful Mouse World survival game with absolutely no bloody violence. Then you find the camp of another survivor who died long enough ago that nothing is left but his skeleton, along with a dozen or so ant heads mounted on toothpicks and a macabre effigy crafted from ant torsos and the bones of another human being.
  • Utility Weapon: Some of the various tools the players can craft are, while intended for usage in resource gathering, are also usable as functional weapons.
    • Axes are required for chopping down grass.
    • Hammers are needed to smash apart tougher resources, like acorns, sap and rocks.
    • Shovels are mostly used to dig up grubs.


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