Like your Rogue-likes with a little more… quirkiness? May we recommend Going Under?
We guarantee you won’t have played anything quite like Going Under before. Developed by Aggro Crab and published by Team17, it sees you cast into the role of an unpaid intern at Fizzle. You think you’re there to learn the ropes of the marketing department, but your boss has other ideas. You see, underneath Fizzle’s offices lie a series of dungeons filled with the remains of failed tech start-ups. Their employees have mutated into monsters and, equipped with whatever you can get your unpaid hands on, you’re sent down to kill them.
Working in a corporate environment isn’t fun at the best of times. Especially when you’re not getting paid for it and your job involves risking your life. But Going Under‘s plucky protagonist takes it in her stride. She’s a professional, after all.
The first dungeon you find yourself is in Joblin. You’ll make your way through a number of rooms, clearing out enemies before moving onto the next. Manage to survive long enough to clear a few floors, and you’ll come face-to-face with a boss. Like any Rogue-like though, if you’re downed while you’re in there, you’ll be sent back to the office and forced to try again from the start.
The dungeons you find yourself in might be deadly, but they’re also wacky and playful. Joblin’s a failed employment start-up, so expect lots of office equipment lying around – and lots of angry goblins. Later, you’ll gain access to Styxcoin, a failed cryptocurrency mining startup, so rooms will be filled with mining equipment, and you’ll have to use a new kind of currency while you’re in there. There’s also Winkydink, a dungeon themed around a dating app. There, you might be able to use a cuddly throw pillow as a weapon, but everything will still want to kill you.
Part of what makes Going Under unique is its weapon system. You never have a permanent weapon, and every time you enter a dungeon you’ll be bare-handed. You’ll have to make use of whatever is lying around – be it a laptop, a stylus, a goblin sword or an electric guitar – to bludgeon your enemies to death. Some items will be good for one hit, and others will last you a while. But you’ll constantly be picking up new things. It keeps you on your toes; it’s annoying that a powerful weapon doesn’t last very long, but it encourages you to experiment and doesn’t allow you to rest on your laurels.
As you play through a dungeon, you’ll also amass various skills to help you along the way. None of these are massive gamechangers, but they do give you an edge – like dealing more damage with a sharp weapon, or offering a bit of a discount in the dungeon’s shop. Eventually, you’ll unlock the ability to have one of these skills permanently. You can also have additional permanent perks by assigning a ‘mentor’. By completing tasks for your co-workers, they can offer you additional benefits. Again, none of these are huge, but they are helpful – like a free item when you’re in the shop, or access to tins of ‘Fizzle’, which imbue your enemies with negative status effects.
Those tasks add a lot to the game. You may have already completed one dungeon, but additional tasks give you new reasons to jump back in. Maybe a new enemy has appeared in one and you need to take them out, or maybe you need to kill so many enemies with a particular weapon. It means even if you die quickly, you’re still working your way towards a goal, and no run ever feels completely fruitless.
Going Under‘s zany art style also adds to its charm. Locations are bright and colourful, and characters are blobby but charming. Outside of dungeons, you’ll be able to explore the office and chat with co-workers. Dialogue is excellently written and never takes itself seriously. You won’t be able to help but laugh at some of the ridiculous conversations you’ll find yourself part of.
Running around Going Under‘s dungeons is a joy, and you’re never quite sure what will be waiting for you behind a new door. Every time you die, you’ll be keen to jump straight back in and see if you can get just that bit further. It might not be the deepest Rogue-like game out there, but you’ll be hard pushed to find another quite as fun as this.