Saturday, December 15, 2018
With the roguelike genre having made a strong comeback to prominence, developers have outdone one another in an effort to distinguish themselves from the pack. Leave it to Capy Games to push the genre's unforgiving aspects to their limit.
With "Below," Capy has unleashed a punishing, adamantly old-school take on roguelikes. With no ability to pause, one-hit permadeath coupled with forced restarts and zero handholding in the form of tutorials.
Even with the archetypes from older games firmly in place, there are still technological improvements, even if some are a bit anochranistic. Kinect owners on the Xbox One version can monitor your room surroundings to adjust procedural iterations of the levels.
Much of the allure comes in feeling your way through the formidable systems. To get the full effect, avoid online walkthroughs and go into the game blind. The less you take into it, the more you'll get out of it.
The story involves a grim power known as the Darkness that has put the realm in a chokehold. You arrive at a beachhead and can light a campfire, scrounge for items, spelunk in caves and find and utilize incongruous items.
Feeling your way through the inventory and action system is rewarding, providing an immense sense of discovery that empowers you as you go through. Although death is frequent and harsh, you're meant to learn harsh lessons from your failures, coming back with redoubled efforts hardened by the wisdom granted by gameplay experience rather than artificial statistical buffs of standard RPGs.
"Below" doesn't hold back when it comes to giving gamers an authentically brutal experience, and that motif allows some of the game's rougher edges to seem forgivable. Capy Games didn't strive for perfection, but thrives in the way it sets gamers up against obtuse, borderline unfair challenges. If you're up to the ordeal, you'll be intrigue in what lies "Below."
Publisher provided review code.