by Camrin Santchi
reviewed on PC
Satire is something that this reviewer will never tire of, an important aspect of humor that is skilled at jabbing at the ways of the world, much like a medieval fool using humor to criticize the king to his face, in a clever and creative way that ensures he isn’t . Going Under by Aggro-Crab is satire incarnate, fusing this style of humor and comedy with a dungeon crawler, a match that was apparently made in heaven. Gamers take the role of Jackie, a new unpaid intern for Fizzle, a startup that was recently taken under the wing of a larger company that seems to be a stand-in for Amazon.
Life Of An Intern
Beneath Fizzle’s offices lay the labyrinthian dungeons of failed startups, and Jackie’s job as an unpaid intern is revealed to be about going into these dungeons and defeating the monsters within. You know, as unpaid interns are wont to do these days. Jackie’s weapon choices within these dungeons are entertaining and varied, from office supplies and keyboards to more traditional swords and crossbows. Unlike some dungeon crawlers, weapons have fragility and for ranged weaponry they have ammo limits, meaning that gamers need to be ready for their weapons to break in a pinch, fortunately there are many items in most rooms, so even if they aren’t the best weapons there is always variety if your favorite suddenly shatters on you. This is an interesting and refreshing shift in the genre, since while it can be frustrating at times, it makes sure that gamers pay attention to their surroundings, not just the enemies. The point of watching your surroundings comes up even more, because sometimes there are explosives within the dungeons that can be set off with a stray swing of a weapon, so gamers beware.
In Fizzle’s main office Jackie can interact with her fellow employees, and can be given quests for within the dungeon. Upon completion the Fizzle Employees can become Mentors, which can be selected before every run through a dungeon. Each Mentor offers different passives, each of which has its uses within the dungeons below Fizzle, from a credit card to buy things from shops you can’t afford (Causing a literal ball and chain of debt to appear, slowing Jackie’s movement), to finding more money throughout the dungeon. Every Mentor has their benefits, so gamers may want to pick and choose depending on the dungeon they are entering or the tasks they have to complete.
Tales from the Cryptocurrency
Now would be a good time to talk about the dungeons. Each one has a notably different aesthetic and gimmick, all of which are a comical commentary on a specific type of startup, from a gig style site called Joblin to a cryptocurrency app called Styxcoin. The dungeons all have different stores as well which emphasize the humor, particularly the shop in the Styxcoin dungeon, which has a suspiciously designed skeleton that offers purchases in both normal cash and Styxcoin… and depending on which counter gamers talk to him at, he will pretend that that currency type is superior, as if he wasn’t in charge of both booths. Jackie is naturally confused at first, but starts taking it in stride after a few visits to the shop, showing a surprising depth to her character as she gets more used to her dungeon crawling unpaid internship and the insanity deep beneath Fizzle.
The plot of the game itself is rather basic, beating bosses at the end of each dungeon and get an item from them, these items are then repurposed by Fizzle to try and scavenge something effective from a failed startup that they could try and use in a more successful way, such as a caffeine harness that is very reminiscent of Bane’s supersteroid harness in the Batman universe, a neat touch that some gamers may get quite a kick out of, myself included.
Profit Margins In Fun
In all, Going Under is the type of game to go above and beyond in its quirky mannerisms, being unafraid to poke fun at both the real world it parodies and even itself. This is a game I highly recommend if any gamer has an appreciation for dungeon crawling, bright colors, or humor in sheer parody fashion.
Colorful Wit, Fun but Challenging Combat.
Mild Camera Wonkiness, Weapon Fragility Can be Frustrating.