Free on Steam as a trial between April 23rd - 27th, Grimoire: Manastorm is an early access FPS which adds a medieval, sword & sorcery flavor to classic shooter gameplay. Similar to Team Fortress 2, the Red Team (House Magnus) and Blue Team (House Valadis) fight to capture all of the control points on the map.

Having played a bit of it, the game is fun even in Alpha ( Yet every game in its early stages has some usability issues. At the moment, Grimoire: Manastorm's main usability problems stem from language, consistency, and navigation.

User path


1. Selection Screen
The opening screen is clear, providing the user with three buttons: Play, Profile, and Options. On this page, I determined one issue with language clarity: the word 'Profile.'

Of the three choices, 'Profile' is the only selection that may be inconsistent with the user's expectations -- the page displays the user's matches played, win ratio, K/D ratio, level, and experience. With the exception of level and experience, a more fitting name for this section would be 'Stats.' 

  • Consider renaming 'Profile' to 'Stats' or another key word that more accurately describes the contents
  • Alternatively, keep the name 'Profile,' but move 'level' and 'experience' to the top of the list and put the matches played & other statistics under a different header. For example:

2. Play
'Play' leads to a straightforward process of server selection. The developers have arranged the screen such that the player can either pick Quick Play on the left or choose a server on the right. Navigation-wise, it's simple.

My one critique is that this page doesn't effectively use its real estate. This page could be rearranged to leverage some of the company's great concept art, posted on their website This concept art could be placed:
  • As a background, with the server options (selection and ping) on a nearly-opaque menu box
  • Either to the left or right of the server options
  • Above or below the server options (not recommended)
By reordering their assets, Omniconnection can better showcase their lead artist's work, and potentially leave room later to display fan art.

3. Character Selection
After server selection, you are shown a class selection screen which clearly specifies each character's magic school. This page's core issues are navigation and language consistency.

Character selection screen
One major navigation error was present: there was no clear way to switch teams from the character selection screen. While this feature enables team stacking, being able to join a team one's friend is attractive for a new player. One way to potentially allow this feature and dissuade stack is to develop a way for players to directly join the teams that their friends are on through the Steam menu or friends chat.

The terminology used for power descriptions proved inconsistent and unclear, especially when describing an ability's range and duration.
  • 'Chilling Grasp' lasts "for a short duration," and Permafrost "lasts 4 seconds."
  • 'Anima Blossom' affects a "small area," and does not list the range radius in meters/feet
  • No cooldown times are listed, but CDs exist in-game

  • Potentially add a feature which allows players to join a friend's team
  • Clarify the range, duration, and cooldowns of abilities

4. Match
After you've selected a character you are added to your color's spawn and shown an overlay of the initial keybindings.

Grimoire: Manastorm adheres to the classic WASD format and lays out the screen clearly. If you've played any shooters before, the schema is easy to pick up. A few issues stood out in-game: ability clarity and class distinction.

Ability Clarity
The primary issue I had with gameplay is that ability cooldowns are not prominently displayed. Since the ability buttons are so small on the screen, and your focus is really needed elsewhere, the game turns into a button-mash-fest.
  • A vital and oft-used, cross-class ability, Mana Step's cooldown either is not listed or hidden so well that I can't find it. 
  • As such, I often mash Mana Step just in case it has come off CD.

Class Distinction
Unlike TF2, which clearly distinguishes between the classes in-game, Grimoire: Manastorm's current models make class identification difficult. Team distinction is easy -- either you're wearing a black cowl or a yellow-orange pointy hat -- but I have yet to distinguish another player's class before seeing them attack.

  • Make the ability buttons more prominent on the screen. Since a character has so few abilities, the ability icons could be much larger (like in Dota 2)
  • More clearly distinguish the classes (different models, outfits, icons next to their player name, etc.)

5. Scoreboard
And finally at the end of a game -- or if you press Tab -- you can see the Scoreboard. No real complaints here.


Now, I typically don't like FPS, but I had a lot of fun trying out Grimoire: Manastorm. With a slightly frenetic feel at the moment -- with more button-mashing than is needed -- I think Omniconnection is heading in the right direction. Heck, after I get my paycheck, I might even buy it.