An action-Adventure roguelike with RPG elements. UnderMine is a game about mining and collecting gold, developed by Thorium and published by Fandom.
The world of UnderMine is shaking, something in the mines is causing it. As a nondescript peasant, it’s your duty to head down and investigate. Along the way you will also need to save the Blacksmith and other shops owners who have gotten stuck on lower levels. The further down you can get the more of the story you will undercover.
As an action-adventure RPG, you will need to combat enemies with your trusty pickaxe, using it for both ranged and melee combat. You will also need to mine for gold, because you are a miner after all. (With a full moustache you’re probably not a minor though). In order to power up and become stronger to delve further down, you will need to collect gold and buy upgrades. Being a roguelike game, you will find that most of the upgrades you purchase will be post death. When you die you lose some of the gold you are holding (default 50% but you can reduce the loss by upgrading). But that also means you keep some of your gold, back in the home base you can then buy upgrades once you save the blacksmith. The boss will also offer upgrades, and eventually so will other characters you save.
Money can also be used while in the mine, however you will need to locate a store to do so.
With a map system very similar to games like The Binding of Isaac, you will be able to spot the stores on the map, as well as chests and other special rooms. Again like Binding of Isaac, you can also find relics, these are random, as are the level designs, and the relics can have all sorts of effects. It appears you can stack as many relics as you want for maximum effects, but you will lost them when you die.
Dying will replace your peasant with a new one, with a new name, and generally a new color. You will also keep half your gold as your canary friend switches to his new partner.
UnderMine opts for pixel graphics, and they look great. Characters and enemies are all designed well. Animation is fluid which makes combat fun. The bosses are varied in their designs and have large fully animated attacks, which you can use to anticipate and dodge (if you’re good enough). There are a lot of destructible environments, from small signs to blocks you can blow up with bombs.
As you are exploring a mine, there are also a lot of neat lighting choices, such as lamps on the wall. The lamps are also destructible and it will make the current room slightly darker around that area.
Possibly the best aspect though is your adorable little canary companion, not only is it thematically appropriate, he is also functional, but more than that he’s super cute.
From the swing of your pickaxe, to the chime of picking up a relic, the sound effects in UnderMine all sound great. There is a slight Zelda feel with the chimes for finding relics and secrets, as well as the pickaxe swoosh, sounding similar to Link’s sword.
Other than the sound effects, there is also the music. The music is also quite strong. Well fitting and varied, UnderMine has multiple themes for different areas, and I found all of them enjoyable.
At the time of this review, UnderMine is in Early Access, when you boot the game up it tells you this and urges you to contact the developer if you experience any bugs. Throughout my time with the game, I experienced no bugs at all, in fact due to the polish of the game, I had all but forgotten the Early Access nature of the game.
The gameplay mechanics are all very solid, it has a lot of challenge and gives you that, one more run mentality. There are little bits of polish they put in that made me smile, such as when you find meat, if there is a fire nearby the meat will actually cook and restore more health.
UnderMine feels like a few other games, such as the aforementioned, Zelda and Binding of Isaac, as well as Rogue Legacy. But like all the best games, it takes these elements and incorporates them so well, that it stands on its own.
One feature that UnderMine has introduced, that I appreciate, but it also annoyed the heck out of me, is that every time you find gold, these little slime guys will appear and try to steal it. If you can hit them once they will run away, but it puts an urgency on collecting gold, and might make you take a hit or two trying to stop them from getting away with your gold.
I had a lot of fun playing UnderMine, and will probably try to venture further down into the mines when I get some free time.
Rating: 8/10 – A very fun roguelike game, with a lot of challenge and replayability.
Genre: Action-Adventure, RPG, Roguelike
Release Date: 21 Aug 2019