Our Rating: 6.5/10
Going Under is an unusual dungeon crawler. A trainee is tasked with clearing cursed offices. To defend herself, she finds herself using objects from the scene: keyboards, chairs, monitors, and laptops become lethal weapons. This crazy concept is explored in a journey of intense challenge through a humorous world full of references. Even with some setbacks, the game conquers with its charisma and agile pace.
When Jackeline Fiasco accepted an unpaid internship at the trendy Fizzle beverage startup, she hoped to improve her marketing skills. However, when she got there, the reality was different. Her main task would be to explore the ruins of failed technology companies.
At first, the girl thinks the idea is absurd. After all, who wants to take chances in places full of monsters without receiving a penny? However, the promise of being effective is very tempting. Without knowing how to say no, Jackeline accepts the task.
Barely knowing that she was involved in a business more complicated than it seems.
It is with this peculiar premise that Going Under shapes the dungeon exploration adventure. Jackie needs to clear cursed offices full of dangers and defeat her bosses. However, Fizzle has no budget to provide equipment (even more for a lowly intern).
With no other option, you will have to use almost everything as a weapon. Brooms, pencils, chairs, boxes, laptops, and whatever else comes along the way. The items have limited durability, so it is a rule to obtain new things and improvise constantly.
During exploration, you will acquire various skills, such as “conflict resolution” (shocking enemies when hit), “burning look” (occasionally sets the target on fire when activating the aim), and “walk fast and break things” (speed increases as we destroy objects). With a little luck, you can build powerful synergies between them. Along the way, you can also find useful apps for your phone that activate temporary effects.
The weapon system makes the game unique. Like Jackeline, we need to manage to survive the dangers with the clutter available through the scenarios. Surprisingly, there is a lot of strategies involved.
Each object has unique properties and attacks but limited durability. You will need to assess the situation frequently. Sometimes it is better to keep a strong item to face a complicated enemy. At other times an option is simply to throw the junk at the monsters.
You can have so much fun using the different crazy items as a weapon. Staplers throw staples from a distance; laptops paralyze opponents with electrical damage; brooms have good reach, but are fragile; computer monitors and chairs are quite powerful, but they slow Jackeline; pencils, boxes, and vases can be used as projectiles; Shared cars are a good option for running over monsters.
Learning how to use the objects is essential to survive, as the challenges are heightened. The dungeons are full of monsters that attack in a group. It only takes a moment of not paying attention to be defeated.
Combat is a mixture of dexterity, attention, and improvisation. Observe enemy attack patterns to escape at the right time. The game has options to ease the difficulty, which makes it more accessible.
The roguelite structure brings a good rhythm to Going Under. Each game is on a single thematic stage. The duration is also well dosed. The variety is achieved with the presence of many weapons, different skills with synergies, optional missions, and events. You will have the constant feeling of experiencing something new, even exploring the same place.
Each of the three failed companies offers different challenges. The startup of Joblin work is a basic dungeon but has enough enemies. Winkydinky, the former headquarters of a failed dating app, has offices with flames, lots of traps, and imps that teleport. In certain rooms, it is even possible to set up a “meeting” with a monster that becomes an ally, should it be defeated quickly. Finally, cryptocurrency is the focus of the company Styx.
The characters represent stereotypes in curious ways. Jackeline Fiasco is the typical intern that people exploit. Rey is the clueless CEO who thinks everyone is like him, always squandering money and giving dubious advice.
Marv is the typical passive-aggressive boss who abuses employees with nice words. Developer Kara, on the other hand, is paranoid about digital security and argues that “cell phones must be destroyed”. The dialogues between them are full of humor and I had fun with their witty interactions.
The Good, the Bad, and the Overall Experience
Going Under has elements of Roguelite, which means that the dungeons are different with each attempt. Upgrades and items are lost when you die, but certain elements remain between games. Jackeline learns skills definitively after using them a few times. After which, it is possible to choose one of them at the beginning of a phase. In addition, the intern receives tasks from her co-workers who, when completed, release useful benefits. Finally, you can unlock new skills using cash in the Fizzle lobby.
The game is a curious choice and it works, but it is not without problems. After a few games, the most notable issue is revealed – the limited amount of content. Maps are generated procedurally, but there are not many types of rooms. So, over time, things get a little repetitive. Alternative versions of dungeons, optional tasks, and different skills help to alleviate this sensation, but they are not complete enough.
Aesthetics and Soundtrack
One detail that was distracting was the visual mess. At times, the action gets chaotic with lots of enemies, things exploding and objects flying simultaneously. This makes it difficult to understand what’s going on. To make matters worse, Jackeline automatically picks up items when using dodge, which can hinder strategies. Fortunately, over time, you will learn to deal with it better.
Although the visuals can get messy at times, the whole ambiance is complemented by the colorful look full of geometric models and the soundtrack with unusual elements.
The art direction also has a humorous tone. Characters with big eyes and curious faces, awkward movement, symbols of skills that resemble emojis, scenarios full of subtle references, and more. The result is a vibrant world that oozes personality.
Going Under has a crazy and eccentric premise. Exploring the ruins of failed tech companies. The main concept gives room for experimentation and strategy. Mainly because you can use almost anything as a weapon. It is necessary to constantly improvise in order to overcome complicated challenges. The comic tone is present in every corner with humorous dialogues, unusual situations, and countless amusing references.
On the negative, the adventure proves to be a bit repetitive and sometimes chaos gets in the way. In the end, Going Under is still a game worth checking out. Get this game on Steam.