Dungeon crawlers are typically dark and dangerous places, and they tend to be my least favourite spaces in gaming. Going Under turns the tables and presents a bubble-gum bright startup office for you to go smashing around in. From the first moment, I was taken in by the game’s style, but what about the substance?
You play as Jackie Fiasco, a new employee at a start-up company. Only, this isn’t your typical Silicon Valley start-up – though it is full of sly digs at modern startups, which I enjoyed, lots. You work for drinks company Fizzle, a company owned by Cubicle, and Cubicle isn’t afraid to shut down new ventures if they don’t perform well.
Within the office are three “dungeons” which are the offices of failed startups, and the employees left to rot within them have turned nasty. Your first assignment is to clear the dungeons. Simple. Or at least that’s what the boss thinks it is. It’s not. It’s actually incredibly hard, and that’s by design. Because make no mistake, this is a roguelike through and through, and you’re expected to meet death more than a few times.
The sense of progressions comes from inching a little further each time, earning enough coins to buy some upgrades, and finally mastering a level. I… haven’t mastered anything in my life, nevermind this bloody game. It’s difficult, but it is at least fun.
Combat is fast and you’ve got to be on your game if you want to make it through the first rooms. Objects scattered throughout the different offices can be used as weapons. These include the ridiculous, like an oversized pencil, to the more mundane, like a keyboard. Not that a keyboard can’t do good damage…
The weapons don’t last for long, though, and you’ll need to be making quick moves to make sure you’ve got something to fight with. You can fight bare-handed, but the damage is minimal and you will die quicker, I guarantee you that.
Along the way you’ll come across different shops that offer temporary buffs and perks, as well as more powerful weapons. Sometimes I felt unstoppable after just a couple of upgrades, other times I’d fail within a couple of minutes, even with my upgrades and beastly weapons. The balancing seems off at times, with some rooms seemingly set up to make you fail – or at least that’s how it felt for me.
There’s a little more substance to Going Under than I expected, with some witty writing managing to tease a few grins and giggles from my grumpy mug. I enjoyed the “story” sections of the game, even if they were sometimes a little long-winded and, at times, a little hit-and-miss with the jokes, but I appreciated the effort to make the game not feel like a roguelike dungeon crawler.
For all that Going Under does well, it’s not a great game. It’s good, but there are only three dungeons, and after a couple of hours you’ve basically seen everything the game has to offer. I struggled to find the motivation after a few hours, but that’s because I’m generally not that into roguelikes, so you may find more here if that’s your thing.
Going Under PS4 Review
Overall - Very Good - 7/10
Going Under is a decent enough game that’s let down by the fact that you’ve seen it all after just a couple of hours. If that doesn’t bother you, great, the thrill of chasing the scores will keep you going for a long time. For everyone else, it may just be a few short hours, but at least they’re full of fun.
- Lovely art style – very basic, but very clean and easy to read
- The writing is sharp, but at times overstays its welcome
- Gameplay is fast and frantic – great fun, but sometimes a little stressful and a touch unfair
- You’ve seen it all after a couple of hours
- The dialogue is great, but I’d have liked to have heard it with proper voice acting. It would have made the longer dialogue-heavy sections a little more bearable
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Pro.