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Grindstone’s free Cosmic Darkside update brings eldritch enemies and a creepy new map

This puzzler out of space is a New Game Plus mode of sorts

Hack’n’slash indie puzzle game Grindstone has seen its biggest free update so far this year with the release of the faintly Lovecraftian new Cosmic Darkside scenario. The update adds fresh enemies, a cosmic-horror-themed map, and remixes some of Grindstone’s early levels. Watch the trailer below and try not to become infected by otherworldly monstrosities.

Grindstone's free Cosmic Darkside update is out now, adding what's basically a New Game Plus mode.Watch on YouTube

Cosmic Darkside is effectively a New Game Plus mode for Grindstone’s already jam-packed campaign. The cosmic horror scenario remixes the first 60 levels of Grindstone, accessible after you complete the first 200 levels of the original game. There’s two fresh enemies to take on – cosmic jerk and cosmic creep – and a mechanic called infection that causes enemies to eventually explode and infect others.

Even grindstones themselves can be infected, creating cosmic grindstones that explode and carry on spreading the infection around each level’s board if they’re left for too long. The update also adds an extra gear set and blueprints, along with a new crafting resource called Osmium. Barbarians Jorj and Jorja can be infected, but this creates a heart-shaped piece of Osmium nearby that, if collected, grants you your lost health back.

When Grindstone left Epic exclusivity to arrive on Steam in June, I described its chunky sword-swinging, monster-slaying puzzle action as “combat-Hygge”. I still stand by that unorthodox description, because each level in the game manages to generate a weird combination of cutesiness, peril and enough satisfying tactical thinking to make your brain release just the right amount of smugness hormones.

Katharine couldn’t stop playing Grindstone when it came to PC last year either. “New enemy types are introduced with pleasing regularity, the layouts of each grid are constantly being switched up and remixed, introducing new hazards, obstacles and more to keep you on your toes, and the combination of higher-level foes changes all the time as well,” she said. “There's never a dull moment in Grindstone, and every level feels like its own meaty, chunky challenge.”

Grindstone is available on Steam and the Epic Games Store for £16/$19/€17. There’s a demo to try too.

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