Review copy provided by Thorium Entertainment
I think it is safe to say that roguelikes are gaining in popularity as a genre in video games. We are seeing more and more titles using those types of mechanics, and we are seeing more and more indie developers utilize the roguelike concept in their games.
My first exposure to roguelikes was watching my partner play Enter The Gungeon, The Binding of Isaac, and Wizard of Legend. During a weekend where I didn’t have much else to play, I stumbled onto a free version of For The King. This roguelike was set up as a board game, where you are expected to die often, but you unlock items, shops, and characters to help you on your quest after every game begins again. With this board game framework, I finally understood the appeal of roguelikes overall, and I came to apricate what makes them so addictive and re-playable.
I would be remiss not to mention the 2020 indie gem Hades when talking about roguelike games. Hades was nominated for several awards (including Game of the Year), and it has shed a light on the power of the Roguelike genre. Critics and gamers alike have nothing but positive things to say about Hades.
I’m not reviewing Hades today, though. I’m here to tell you about a game with as many similarities as there are differences. UnderMine is positioned as an action-adventure RPG roguelike. Created by Derek Johnson and Clint Tasker of Thorium, they are professional game developers turned indie game builders.
The game takes place in a fantasy world where an endless stream of miners are sent down into the mines to discover why Earthquakes keep happening at random times. You have a pickaxe to mine as much gold as you can find. This pickaxe doubles as a weapon, where you can strike enemies and throw it at monsters. Eventually, the mines will get the best of you, and the miner is no more. Then a new one is sent in to replace, and money earned from mining can be spent on items and upgrades.
This game’s visuals are one of its major strengths. You can tell that a lot of thought and detail went into the design of the character models, power-ups, and creatures in this game. You can see some clear inspiration from classic 2D Legend of Zelda dungeons in the way the rooms are presented and developed.
The humor in this is also something that should be noted. I had a pretty good first run in the game, despite being unreasonably upset when I did finally manage to lose all my health. The best consolation was the text that explained the situation in which my character has died, and it was one of the most comical things I have seen in a game in a while.
This game was originally released in 2019 on Steam and Xbox, but was recently moved to the Nintendo Switch. There are no performance issues that were detected while playing on the hybrid console, and it is such a treat to have the option to play this as a console game or portably. A game like UnderMine, and most roguelikes by nature of their design, can be played in short bursts, so having a portable option for a single run or maybe two is very much welcomed. This game runs smoothly in both handheld and docked mode, and the use of HD Rumble is fairly well-utilized in both modes.
Roguelikes are in the forefront of video games now, and if you enjoyed Hades, or have yet to try a game of this genre, I can’t recommend this enough. You will get a lot of value for the price, and the addictive gameplay loop will keep you coming back for more.
UnderMine is available now on Steam, Xbox One, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch.
Charming visuals and laugh-out-loud color text make this an Action-Adventure RPG Roguelike you shouldn't miss.
- Art Style
- Addictive gameplay
- Runs smoothly on Nintendo Switch
- Roguelikes are not for everyone