Gerald James reviews Going Under…
Rogue-lites and rogue-likes have been the backbone of this gaming generation for me personally. Plenty of great ones have come out and provided a solid choice to dive into while waiting for the next AAA game to come down and devour a few days of gaming. With their endless replayability and constant randomization you can ensure that two runs are never the same. So when I heard that Team17 had a new one on the horizon I was excited to jump in and see what they brought new to the table.
Going Under is the first title from indie development team Aggro Crab who decided that instead of live in the hell that is the tech startup business they were going to tear the world apart in video game form. Going Under is a game that has a lot of personality going for it whether it’s in the characters that remind you of anyone you’ve had to share an office with or the skills you find and develop as you progress referencing trite buzzwords and thinkspeak that have to endured in every corporate memo that’s been spammed to our work mailboxes. The humor is abundant and hits more often than it misses even if there are some eye-rollers every once in a while (such as the “ghosted” message that appears when the demons working at a failed dating app teleport during combat). The satire of tech culture makes for a fun backdrop and even interesting dungeon themes as you progress but unfortunately that’s all that will keep you playing.
Looking at this game as a bite-sized diversion it’s enjoyable. I can honestly say that through your first playthrough you’ll get a kick out of it. Where it fails in making you want to play beyond that. I hate the idea of judging a game for what it isn’t as opposed to what it is but in the six hours or so it took me to go from opening to end credits I never found a hook that scratches that “one more run” itch that rogue-likes are commonly known for. Each dungeon is fairly straightforward with no need for exploration and no hidden secrets to unlock. Progression is found through abilities you can purchase at the main hub or the mentors you can level up but there is no sense of synergy aside from using particular weapon types when you stumble upon a weapon specific ability. And as abilities are really the driving force of the combat it makes you feel as if you’re locked into one particular mentor that gives you an extra ability every floor. In all it leave dungeon dives feeling rather bland despite the randomization.
All in all I enjoyed my time with Going Under and look forward to seeing what Aggro Crab does in the future. I had a few chuckles and got a bit of a kick out of the ridiculous things you can use as weapons and even bashed my head against a wall on a couple of boss encounters but I really wish there was more meat on the bone. I would love a reason to keep going beyond the final boss but as it stands I don’t see myself ever picking this up again. That being said, at the MSRP of $20 I recommend it to those looking for a fun diversion to kill a day with.
+Utterly charming art style and concept
+Tons of weapons to find lying about
+Nails millennial humor
-Lack of depth in progression and exploration
-No interesting synergies to play around with
Reviewed on PS4 Pro (also available for Switch, Xbox One, Steam and Epic Games Store)