[PlayStation 4] UnderMine Review
UnderMine, from Thorium Entertainment is an amazing roguelike action RPG in which you’ll go through many layers of a cave in order to discover its secrets. Check our UnderMine review!
Delve deep into the UnderMine and discover its secrets, one peasant at a time! UnderMine is an action-adventure roguelike that blends combat and dungeon crawling with RPG-like progression. Mine gold, die, upgrade yourself, and try again! Discover hundreds of items including relics, potions, blessings, and curses that all combo and stack for a new experience every run. Challenge dangerous bosses and rescue helpful characters that provide new upgrades for your adventure. Decipher the cryptic messages of the Undermine’s residents and unfold the mystery at the heart of the dungeon.
In UnderMine, you’ll be playing as different peasants on their way into the world of the UnderMine. Arkanos, an archmage, gives you the mission to go into the UnderMine to discover the source of the disturbing tremors that occur deep within. You’ll begin in an empty hub above the mine that will eventually fill up with shops as you save the captive people on the floors below.
Being a roguelike, you’ll send peasant after peasant into the mine because death is a big part of the gameplay loop. At first, when you die, you’ll be able to keep half of the funds you’ve collected when you return, which you can put to good use to upgrade your peasants with some more permanent updates. There will be a ton of monsters, treasure rooms, and relics that give you some perks in your quest, as well as curses that can end up being a minor – or mayor! – annoyance for your run. Relics will be lost when you lose all of your hit points, but at least curses will also be gone for your next run!
As you do more and more runs, the hub will slowly turn into a busy marketplace in which you’ll be able to buy potions, relics, new pets, and most importantly, upgrade your arsenal. You can upgrade your equipment, which will grant you, say, additional hit points for subsequent runs. You can also upgrade your pickaxe – which is your main weapon -, upgrade your pickaxe throw strength or the percent of the gold acquired during each run that you can bring back to the next peasant.
I loved how the randomly generated levels are presented in UnderMine since it makes for a very addictive gameplay loop. Each run is built around different floors driven by a seed – that is actually editable in the hub. Each room is presented in a way similar to the dungeon exploration in, say, The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, which was definitely great!
When you land in a new room, you’ll always be able to see the nearby rooms, so you can quickly determine if it is worth a visit or not, limiting backtracking to what is absolutely needed. Each floor is relatively small, which makes going from one side to the other an easy feat… as long as you have what it takes to survive the many traps, enemies, and bosses in your path! How addictive is the game? Well, when I first started to play, I thought I had been enjoying the game for 30-40 minutes at most… when, in fact, it turns out I had already been playing for well over three hours in a row!
The controls are very responsive like you’d expect in a game that can prove hard sometimes. You can control your character while jumping, and movement is precise. I liked how throwing the pickaxe (in a fashion similar to Link’s boomerang in The Legend of Zelda) is bound to the R1 button, which fits perfectly with the action since you can jump to dodge attacks and then counter with your pickaxe with ease.
The enemy roster is semi-varied since you’ll encounter new enemy types as you delve deeper into the mine. But then you’ll reach a point when you’re seeing the same 20-esque enemies over and over again as you grind for more money on the same floors so that you can extend your run. One thing I liked is that enemies can also be hurt by the hazards in each room, so you can make the most of the spikes, fire, electricity, buzzsaws, and other traps you find to make short work of your opponents.
One thing that certainly got my attention is the boss’s fights. There aren’t many of them in the mine – since you get one per floor – but these fights definitely require a clear mind and good preparation. Going into a boss fight is an event in UnderMine. You only get one shot at it per run, so you must make sure to arrive with as many health points as possible, with a solid set of relics in your inventory and enough permanent upgrades, so that you can have a shot at surviving the fight. All of the time spent exploring a floor to reach the boss fight will be for nothing if you don’t pay attention to a boss’ movement and attack pattern. Lose, and you’re back to the hub with whatever percentage of your money you’re allowed to keep. The bosses themselves are creative and unique and incredibly hard to beat. But boy, you’ll be proud when you manage to best him on an attempt! When the boss is killed, it is permanent, and you won’t have to fight him ever again.
As for the presentation, UnderMine delivers. The art style is beautiful, and the rooms are all expertly designed. The animations are fluid, and there’s a good use of the rumble function during your adventure. The random generator is perfectly done, so you won’t run into content that repeats too much. The soundtrack for UnderMine is one that will remain in your head long after your gaming session is over. There’s not much to complain about for this game, other than the loading being a bit on the long side, with 20-30 seconds of loading every time you change floors. Something else that might get in your way is that the game ended up crashing on me around six times or so, which is not so bad when you consider I’ve played this one for well over 20 hours already. Hopefully, this is something that the team can patch soon.
Trophy-wise, you’re looking at a pretty long list that includes 50 Bronze, 4 Silver, and 2 Gold before you can add a new Platinum to your collection. They are mostly awarded for progressing in the mine, collecting relics, creating new relics in the hub, and beating the different bosses. Some will prove to be quite challenging, such as having 99 bombs and keys at once, so you’ll certainly be spending a ton of time playing this one before you can get a new Platinum for your collection!
UnderMine is a game that has unexpectedly become my favorite game for 2021 so far. I figured I’d play for a few hours at a time, taking notes as needed for our UnderMine review, but this is a game I could not stop playing. It is an amazingly addictive roguelike that encourages and rewards exploration, and the more time you put into playing it, the better the overall experience. This is a must-play on PlayStation 4 and one that I hope everyone checks out. It’s definitely going to be a solid GOTY contender on my list!
This UnderMine review is based on a PlayStation 4 code provided by Thorium Entertainment.