Gaming

Review – UnderMine (Nintendo Switch)

UnderMine Key Art 07 900x506 with logo
UnderMine

Game title: UnderMine

Game description: An action-adventure Rogue-like with a bit of RPG tossed in. Adventure deep into the UnderMine and discover powerful relics, deadly enemies, hidden secrets, and a few friends to help along the way.

  • Overall - 8.2/10
    8.2/10

Summary

Developer: Thorium
Publisher: Thorium
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Genres: Shooter game, Role-playing game, Fighting game, Adventure game, Action game
Release Date: February 11, 20201

UnderMine is a game that anyone can jump into with its simple mechanics and fun cast of characters that will keep you playing if you give it the time, but it can just as easily turn off gamers who might struggle with the unforgiving nature of the gameplay loop, the floaty movement, and the occasional lack of tutorial in the environmental and relic components of the game.

Overall
8.2/10
8.2/10
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User Review
0 (0 votes)

Pros

  • Easy to grasp the mechanics
  • Fun characters and story
  • Each playthrough brings something new 
  • Anyone can jump in to enjoy this game

Cons

  • Mechanics can be hard to master
  • Some things are learned the hard way
  • The mine is unforgiving

UnderMine – Into the Mines!

I was lucky enough to get a chance to play UnderMine, developed by Thorium, before their upcoming Nintendo Switch release on February 11th and I have to say I’ve never had more fun with a game I am just abysmal at! 

Peeping Into UnderMine

UnderMine Key Art 06 700x950
UnderMine Key Art

UnderMine is a Rogue-like action-adventure game that originally was released on Steam back in 2019, which was met with great reaction from players and critics. And like most great Steam indie games, it’s finally finding its way to Switch, where it belongs!

You play as one of the thousands of peasants who are sent down to the mine by Arkanos, the Archmage, to find the blacksmith Wayland and discover what is causing the tremors. Each run has you go as far as you can down the mines, collecting gold and fighting an array of creatures. The mines are ever-changing for each trip down, allowing for unique experiences anytime you play.

The game starts you off with a very quick and useful tutorial. You learn how to swing your weapon. How to jump. Throw your weapon. Mine for gold. And how to watch out for the Pilfers, which are the cutest little thieves you ever did see. Seriously, watch out for them. They’ll steal your gold!

The beauty of the visuals for this game comes in its simplicity. The pixel graphics and music bring you into the world. Every pixel and sound has purpose. There is no waste to fill the screen.  Everything has a purpose. What caught me off guard when I first turned on this game was the humor in the dialogue. The characters have their own identity and feel like they’ve all been living in this world forever and you’re just another lonely peasant whose turn it is to go into the mines. Arkanos has a way with words. 

Down Into the Mine

UnderMine Key Art 03
UnderMine Key Art

As you jump down into the mines for the first time, you have nothing but your pickaxe and ability to jump to get you deeper into the mine. Quickly, you realize how dangerous these mines can be, as each room with enemies suddenly locks you into battle. The creatures you face each have their unique movement and pacing keeping you on your sticks for the best plan of attack. You might find yourself in a room with a bat that can attack from a distance. A slime that can jump at you with a delayed feint to get you off your rhythm. A rat who will charge at you. And the occasional trap to throw in for good measure.

It may take a few rooms or floors to get a handle on the controls and the weight of your character, but you’ll get there. At times it feels like your movements are delayed or hover. It may be that I’m coming off from playing Hades, but the weight of the character and the speed of the actions were a challenge when first jumping in. This caused many quick deaths and pitfalls through my first few runs when trying to avoid traps or literal pitfalls. This sometimes left me taking a quick break out of some slight frustration. 

This game is not forgiving when first starting. Your health bar is precious. Every hit from an enemy or fall through a pit or a quick hit from the traps takes about 20 off your health. You only start with 100 health. You do come across the merchant who can provide you with restorative items or equipment to help you out on your journey, but those early runs are tough to even make it to there.

A Peasant’s Journey Under

UnderMine Key Art 02
UnderMine Key Art

Once you get a handle on the mechanics and your emotions, this game becomes a joy. The levels of the mines are littered with secret passages to treasures. Hidden keys to unlock new paths. More gold to buy equipment for the run you’re on or when starting back at Arkanos’ library. And you might stumble across a portal that takes you to meet Sho’gull the Demon for a chance to purchase some relics in exchange for just a couple of curses, no biggie!

When the RPG elements and deeper mechanics of this game begin to become more prevalent in your runs, you realize how deep this game goes and how much more you have to learn. In one run, I found the Galoshes, boots that let me run across oil without any penalty and leave oil behind after a jump to slow down my enemies, allowing more time to plan my attack. And in one instance that plan of attack I had come up with was throwing a bomb that then set the oil aflame, causing me to die… This was the moment I realized I was going to keep playing this game after this review. 

UnderMine Final Verdict

UnderMine Key Art 04
UnderMine Key Art

Again, I must state how bad I am at UnderMine and any other Rogue-like games. I keep losing to probably the first boss you stumble across in the mines. Which, honestly, every time I come to fight them, it always catches me off guard. You’ll know what I mean when you give it a play. But every infuriating moment had me wanting to go back and play some more when it could have driven me away. See how I messed up. Figure out why the electric crystal thing killed me before the enemies. And most importantly, figure out why Arkanos is such a jerk to any of the thousands of peasants you could play as! Seriously, there are thousands of name combinations. I checked to make sure. There are apparently 6,467 and I’m pretty sure I will end up going through all the names.

There’s enough of a challenge for some to continuously enjoy this game with each playthrough, and just enough that it won’t have you feeling defeated. Any way you put it, this game is a must-play on the Nintendo Switch. It’s a game I’ll continue to come back to whenever I have some downtime to turn on my Switch. 

So do you think you’ll give UnderMine a try now that it’s coming to Switch? How many names do you think you’ll go through? Can you please help me figure out the exact amount of gold you lose after each death? Will I ever beat that first boss? Let me know down in the comments below!

UnderMine is set to launch on February 11th for the Nintendo Switch


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