With apologies for the lateness of this review; a series of mental health issues and problems in my personal life delayed the writing of this piece, though I enjoyed playing Aground hugely. It is truly addictive and you’ll pour many happy hours into it.
Aground was developed by Fancy Fish Games and published by Whitethorn Digital, also the publisher of the wonderful and cutesy Calico which I reviewed a bit back. It was originally released in 2018, but its Nintendo Switch port came in February this year. It’s a survival adventure game that is deceptively simple, jam-packed with mystery, and perfectly suited to the handheld platform. I could tuck myself up in bed and play this game endlessly if I didn’t have, you know, stuff to be doing.
It’ll be readily appreciated by fans of Minecraft, Terraria and other survival games of that type, and it’s an appealing title especially for its low price of £10.99 (Switch) or £11.39 (PC). There is a tonne of content to work your way through in this little game, and it’ll easily keep you busy for days and hours.
The premise is as follows: stranded on a distant island, you must do your best to survive by foraging and mining the resources around you and using them to craft items and build. As the story progresses, you’ll meet more people with different roles and new tasks for you to fulfill, more resources to forage and use, and more items and buildings to create. There is something of a grind to it in terms of resource collection for fulfilling tasks and creating items, but it’s definitely not the worst grind I’ve ever experienced.
You have health and stamina bars which you’ll need to keep an eye on. It’s super easy to become overburdened and this was one of the main frustrations I had with the game. But, that said I think it’s a necessary burden to make the game sufficiently challenging. There are monsters about that you’ll need to be wary of too.
Aground is super easy to get a hang of, with simple controls and a side scroller 2D map. It’s quirky and has incredible charm to it, with catchy music and appealing and nostalgic pixel art graphics, and an expansive world that you will love to explore. There’s an amazing thrill to wondering what will come next in your survival exploration journey, and what will await you on the next island. The technology available to you and required for plot progression will get gradually more advanced as you discover more and more, starting with rudimentary farming and mining.
All in all, Aground is a fun and addictive survival crafting adventure that fans of Minecraft and Terraria will love. It’s packed with content for a very modest price, and has met consistently positive review. It’s available right now on PC, Nintendo Switch, Playstation and Xbox.