Breaking in to the job scene can be difficult but having to beat up monsters in a basement as an unpaid intern is a whole new ordeal.
Going Under has you play as Jackie who gets an internship position at a giant corporation that absorbs oodles of tech start-ups. Soon into her first day, she's tasked with beating up pesky goblins that are infesting one of the failed start-ups and she becomes quite good at the task so she'll end up taking on a few more dungeon-crawling adventures throughout the company. Each one of these dungeons represents a unique start-up company and features its own array of enemies, boss, power-ups, and overall theme. This premise completely delighted me and I absolutely loved exploring each of the procedurally generated dungeons and discovering what they had to offer. Plus, the degree of challenge can be quite high so mastering each dungeon is a fantastically rewarding endeavour to accomplish.
As you can tell by the screenshots, Going Under looks gorgeous with a distinct sense of style. The colourful environments and characters compose a fun-filled game world that I never wanted to leave whenever I started playing and there's a strong sense of humour, too, that'll especially hit home if you're familiar with modern corporate jargon. I also thoroughly enjoyed the laidback and trippy music which complements the visual aesthetic wonderfully. Overall, Going Under features one of the best presented experiences of the year.
Going Under's gameplay blends beat 'em up combat with a roguelike structure in a clever and enjoyable formula. As you traverse and explore the dungeons, you'll pick up items that can be either used as melee weapons or thrown at foes. There are also some long-range weapons like a stapler and a crossbow so there's certainly a lot of variety. You can hold up to 3 weapons at a time and swap between them on the fly but be warned; most of them break extremely easily so you'll have to switch them up regularly. One annoying part about this is that you don't automatically equip the next weapon in your inventory so you'll end up hopelessly bashing enemies with your fists before getting the chance to swap or pick up your next tool of destruction. Other than that, the combat is highly enjoyable stuff.
Although you begin with access to just 1 dungeon, Going Under soon opens up and allows you to explore a few so you can choose what you want to do next. When you combine this with the rewarding quests, you're left with a lot of freedom to take on challenges as you wish. Plus, there's a great deal of variety in the dungeons and you can even drive little vehicles and smack them into enemies. That being said, I found that randomness often dictates success because some runs don't have many decent weapons or power-ups to assist you while other runs are much more fruitful. Also, enhancing your abilities to the point where it actually makes a difference takes way too long. On top of this, some enemies are simply a nuisance such as ones that fly around and are hard to reach, throw bombs at you from a distance, and deploy shields that make them much more difficult to stun and defeat. It's still more fun than frustrating, though.
I love when indie games offer something unique and special and Going Under certainly does with its clever premise, striking style, and supremely rewarding roguelike structure and beat 'em up gameplay. If only real internships could be this fun.
- + Wonderful style and humour that satirizes contemporary workplaces
- + Enjoyable roguelike beat 'em up gameplay
- + Open structure allows for much variety
- - Randomness often plays a role in success
- - Enhancing your abilities takes too long
- - Some enemy types are far too annoying