‘Grindstone’ update introduces daily grind mode and 50 new levels

One of the best titles on Apple Arcade got even better this week as Capybara added a massive update to its addictive puzzle game “Grindstone.” Now players can take the warrior Jorj through 50 new “cave” levels that can be found throughout the campaign. It also features five new gold item blueprints, a new pickaxe and a Gold Rush Garb.

Those type upgrades have become expected for “Grindstone” over the past few months, but the big upgrade is a Daily Grind Mode that nudges players to score their highest and get on a leaderboard.

“We always wanted to do a daily mode for some time,” said Dan Vader, designer/director at Capy. “It’s been a plan from the beginning.”

He said it was the studio’s first attempt at the feature, and one that was meant to encourage frequent interaction as players try to top each on the leaderboard. In addition, the team designed the updated content so that it isn’t locked away in the end game. Vader said, “We didn’t want to restrict players, so we sprinkled levels” through the campaign. Players have to find them and get the gear.

That exploration is also tied to the type of gear being introduced with the update. As mentioned before, Jorj will have a pickaxe this time around, and he will use it to mine for the new gold resource. Gold is used to get favorite items “goldified” (Vader’s words not mine). Gold items are more durable and can be used more frequently.

The desire for gold “pivots the challenge to levels,” according to Vader, and sheds a new light on them. Now, players may want to mine for gold instead of other resources.

Interestingly enough, Capy’s biggest update to “Grindstone” was built entirely during the coronavirus pandemic, when the office had to close and developers worked from home.“Right when we vacated the studio, we knew we had work to do,” Vader said. The update “helped us keep our head down. It made us feel normal. It was a life raft.”

What surprised the studio about the process is how well it worked. Vader said working from home made the team more organized and it was better than what he was expecting. That sentiment was also expressed by Striking Distance Studios chief Glen Schofield.

Gaming itself has become a respite for many amid the constant coronavirus news. Players have found mental relief through games such as “Grindstone” as they abide by shelter-in-place orders. Vader says it’s gratifying to hear how the projects his studio produces helps people. He said friends text him about how “Grindstone” is a welcome distraction from the day, and with the daily grind mode, players have more reasons to pick up the game and play.

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Author: Gieson Cacho