Deeply unusual gardening game Grunn’s shear snip deserves every award Geoff Keighley has ever invented

I usually avoid writing sentences that could easily be quoted on a Steam page, but the exquisitely satisfying sound that Grunn’s garden shears make is the exception. Please feel free to try any of these on for size: Grunn’s shear sound is the Wilhelm Scream of gardening equipment, sure to be referenced for decades to come. Grunn’s shear sound wormed its way past my eyes and into parts of my brain I’d previously assumed could only be accessed by either masterful ASMR or irresponsibly long Q-tips. I used to have anxiety, but now, my only fear in life is that Grunn’s grass will run out, so I no longer have a reason to click away with its shears. Play Grunn, innit. There are, by the way, lots of other things to like about it, although I cannot hear them over the wonderful sound of these shears.

Grunn is a first-person simulation that may or may not be hiding some nefarious secrets under its casual exterior as a non-violent game. Alice O picked this one for RPS 75 most anticipated PC games of 2024, and valued RPS community member number 6114 tipped me off to its demo in the comments. That demo is on Steam right now. It’s from indie collective Sokpop. Grunn might mean ‘shallow’ but I’m not sure. Forget about that. Meaning has no place here. Only shears.

Ok, so look. I really dislike it when people use ‘on acid!’ to describe something colourful and imaginative, but Grunn is so wobbly and saturated that I’m very much drawn to that general area of comparison. Let’s try something else: Grunn is both crisp and blurry, like the morning after a house party. It plays bird sounds at you, and even after about five second of playing, I had the intense revelation that these bird songs were now part of me, and I needed them to stop me drifting somewhere dark and inward. Thanks, chirpos!

I explored a bit, then I found a polaroid which acted as clue to tell me where a bridge key I’d already found was. After experiencing some trademarked weird happenings, I found some gardening tools and a to-do list, and set to work. I’m left unsure what my motivation is to perform these tasks, but they are tasks, and this is a video game, so why not?! I was right to carry on, it turns out. Grunn’s greatest pleasure was just around the corner…

(It’s the shears. I was trying to be mysterious, but it’s the shears again. They’re really great.)

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