Going Under is a Roguelike dungeon crawler that you play as Jackie, a new marketing intern at Fizzle, a beverage company. Shortly after arriving, a goblin steals office supplies and your first task is to kill it before it escapes underground. As you can imagine, there won’t be any marketing during your time as an intern here…
Well, that is the introduction to the unique combat mechanics in that you don’t have access to traditional weapons, so you use whatever you find in the office. Reams of paper do less damage every time you swing them as they lose sheets of paper. Staplers run out of staples after firing a few off. Luckily, these and other business objects are commonly found, which is extra important because objects lose durability as you use them. As a trade-off, the breaking hit does extra damage and some skills trigger when that occurs.
As for skills, you start with a set of them that can appear in your dungeon runs, and you can buy more using Cubits, a currency used by Fizzle’s parent company Cubicle, found in containers in the dungeon. These skills have a broad range of uses and a few sneaky misuses. Some are always active, some give a chance for something to happen, while others trigger under specific conditions. There are almost 100 of them to use and discover combos with each other. You have several ways to get them during your dungeon run, from a choice of a free one in specially marked rooms on each floor, buying them from shops on each floor, and earning a random one for completing each floor. Once you’ve used one enough, it becomes endorsed, allowing you to pin it as a starting skill for a dungeon run.
Learning these skills isn’t the only progression in the game. You can also have a coworker mentor you, giving you increased benefits as you complete quests for them. These bonuses and quests are thematically tied to each character. For example, the flavorist unlocks new flavours of soda for you to find in the dungeon and asks you to collect things that could be used as flavourings. Remember when I mentioned skill misuse? One mentor gives you a credit card that will manifest your debt as a ball and chain slowing you down. If you have the upper body strength skill, you can pick up that ball and use it as a weapon!
Themes aren’t limited to that system either. Each dungeon is uniquely themed based on a failed startup. The themes determine the types of enemies, weapons to be found, special event rooms found in the dungeon, and even the type of currency used in their stores. These dungeon themes include a goblin Handyman hiring app, a dating app, and an undead creating cryptocurrency.
Enter a world of bright colours and almost childlike wonder with the game’s art style. Everything has good contrasting colours, making the visuals pop. The characters are well defined visually as well as in their personalities. You will soon have your most and least favourite coworkers through your interactions with them. You are free to talk to them more between runs if you are inclined to learn more about them.
Revel in the story of a rising intern forced to do the dirty work for a failing beverage company. You start by collecting relics from other companies that have gone under. That unlocks the coworking zone being used for nefarious purposes. After dealing with that, big changes occur at the workplace, leading to drastic measures to save the company culminating in a big showdown with the board of directors. By the end, you’d be hard-pressed to still call yourself an intern!
Overall, I really enjoyed the game in a multitude of ways, even though I’m not a big fan of the genre. I would suggest using the assist menu to at least give yourself 3 extra hearts at the start. Then as you collect the first three relics, you can remove the bonus because each one gives you another heart anyway. It would mean that you have a constant number of hearts throughout the game. I would recommend it for those that like Roguelikes and/or dungeon crawlers, bright colourful art styles, or just a unique indie setting in an established genre.
As suggested by a friend of mine, the boring stuff will now be at the end of my reviews. I received an Xbox code for Going Under from the publisher with the expectation that I would write a review of some kind. I played the game for about 15 hours, which was enough to complete the game, including all side quests and buying all the skills. I am mostly blind, so some things I have trouble with may not affect your experience. Going Under has already released on several platforms.