Roguelite games have always tickled my fancy. I love the idea of a fresh adventure, the replay value is high, and each playthrough is never the same. But, when I get into the action I always get frustrated as losing my progress always feels like a backward step, and I never truly experience progress.
When I was offered Going Under by developers, Aggro Crab and publisher Team17, I tried it with an open mind, not allowing my previous annoyances to cloud my better judgement.
What’s it all about?
Going Under is a Roguelite dungeon crawler inspired by failed tech startup companies. It’s fast-paced, full of fighting and its dialogue is laced with tongue-in-cheek comments and clichés galore. You control Jackie, who lives in the Dystopian city of Neo Cascadia. You’ve applied and been successful in becoming the latest intern for Fizzle Beverages. You soon discover that the tasks expected of you don’t match the job description, and being successful in your new role will require a solid constitution. You must be able to file paperwork, and have the ability to fight monsters that live in the procedurally generated dungeon that exists under the company campus.
What makes this stand out?
Going Under isn’t merely an adventure title where you crawl never-ending dungeons hoping to complete the odd quest, it’s much more than that. You must complete each mentor’s questline, this gains their blessing and approval. Once you’ve unlocked a peer trainer, you are free to use them to apply a special skill to your character. Talking about skills, there are plenty to find and master. Each run you will find randomly generated skill cards, the more you use them the quicker you fill its progress bar, and the sooner you become an expert in it. You will be blessed with positive effects and be cursed by negative ones, so you must choose wisely.
Everything is a weapon!
The best thing about this, alongside the cringe-worthy clichés, has to be the weapons. Everything can be used! Find a stapler, lob it an orcs head. See that broom? Stick it somewhere so he can sweep the floor while running away from you. (Disclose, no cleaning happened while reviewing this game!) The world is your oyster, and you are free to attack anyone with it.
“What’s the point?” you may think. Plenty of short, sharp mission makes this a casual and accessible game for everyone. Its light-hearted approach proves that the developers don’t take themselves too seriously, and the variety in quests means that you will always focus on different goals each playthrough. As the dungeons are procedurally generated, not all quests can be completed or attempted all the time. This was a little annoying, but it kept you on your toes throughout.
It’s a colourful affair.
A while back I reviewed a game called Ooblets, and I was amazed by the art style and vivid colours. Going Under matched this sense of amazement. Don’t misunderstand me, the graphics aren’t spectacular. It doesn’t sit at the top of the tree lording it up over other games. It simply blew me away with its unusual style and use of vivid colours. The art style has a cartoon approach with caricature-like elements. The people are over the top and almost absurd, and every part of the environment and the characters scream look at me. It’s a colour explosion that you won’t tire of.
The audio is loud in your face and almost too much, yet it works well. Each item has a unique sound, my favourite being the twang of the guitar when you wrap it around an enemy’s head. If you can picture any children’s TV program, the constant noise and attempts to grab your attention were reminiscent of this game’s audio approach.
Its all-out attack as dodging is pointless!
Aggro Crab clearly believes that the best form of defence is attack, as dodging is a challenging pastime. I couldn’t work out if the issue was with my reactions, or the responsiveness of the controls. Either way, dodging was pointless and victory came from the relentless bludgeoning of your foes. Other than this issue, the controls were simple to understand, easy to master, and this made the title a pleasure to play.
Whenever you play a game that wipes all your progress upon death, you are going to experience a lot of replay value, as long as you can get over the loss of your gear, that is. This is a challenging title to work through, and completion requires a mixture of luck and skill. A tough achievement list can be unlocked, but it requires; time, patience, and every task to be completed. This isn’t one for the faint of heart, and you’ll need around 10 to 15 hours to finish it. At £15.99 it proves to be good value for money.
Was I right to banish my demons?
I have my demons whenever I play Roguelite or like games, but I’m glad I placed my concerns to one side and tried this one. The humour and many tasks heavily outweighed the annoyance of losing my gear and I enjoyed my time with it, mostly. Do I recommend it? Of course. It’s a; colourful, fun, fast-paced and enjoyable title that can be played casually. Can you make Jackie the best intern Fizzle Beverages has ever seen? Grab the nearest object and smash every monster in your path, your internship depends on it.