Pop! Pop!

Title: Going Under
Platform: PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4 (reviewed)
Developer: Aggro Crab
Publisher: Team17
Release date: Out now.
Tl;dr: I never thought an internship could be so fun especially when each time is a fresh experience
Price: £16/$20
Family Focus?: Click here for more information

Modern-day employment can be hard for the young go-getters of today, as the economy is sinking due to big corporations taking over the world leaving the smaller companies to either drown or be absorbed by these bigger companies. This serves as the main premise of Aggro Crab’s first title, Going Under. Going Under takes the current climate of corporations like Amazon who are taking over the world by handling it in more of a satirical narrative.

Set in Neo-Cascadia, our fresh out of college protagonist, Jackie takes an internship at a fizzy drinks company called, Fizzle. The game starts with a feel-good message about Cubicle, the main shipping company that owns start-ups like Fizzle. We then arrive with Jackie at Fizzle, greeted up the manager, Marv who spots a monster who requests you to defeat it. Upon defeating the monster, Marv, task you with taking care of the monsters living in the basement where all the failed start-ups end up. As Jackie is confused given that she signed up to be a marketing intern, she begins her quest to slay what lurks below.

Going Under is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler where you explore the various start-ups that failed under Cubicle; a clear parody of Amazon. It follows the Zelda formula of clearing a room of enemies before proceeding to the next with each stage containing shops, curse giving vampires, skill rooms and special task rooms. The game plays much like Nintendo’s flagship series with players hack ‘n’ slash their way through rooms in the dungeon in order to reach the big bad at the end of the dungeon. Gain various skills throughout the dungeons which are unlocked from the shops. The upgrades can make you stronger, give you more health or give you electric skin so when enemies hit you they receive shock damage, however, upon completion or defeat in a dungeon these skills vanish.

Okay so let’s break down these various aforementioned rooms one by one starting with the most obvious one. Each floor has a shop you can spend the cash you get from busting up monsters as well as completing special task rooms (more on that below). You will find a variety of things to buy from skills to weapons to restorative items. The curse giving vampire holds rare items and he is willing to give you them as long as you’re willing to accept the curse he wishes to bestow upon you. Thankfully, he shows you the curse before you accept it; it can vary from weapon drops if you dodge/roll or as you slow down while collecting money. The curses last for a set amount of rooms before wearing off. Skill rooms are just rooms that house two skills and you can choose one for your journey while special task rooms want you to kill all enemies as quickly as possible or without taking damage. Upon completion, you get ranked from one to five stars with five stars awarding you with a better reward.

The narrative is told similar to a visual novel with character illustrations on the left and right of the screen as they exchange dialogue with each other and their images changing based on the text they are emoting. Visually, the game features basic 3D models but that’s fine as the game doesn’t need a Final Fantasy level of graphics especially when the gameplay is so fun and refreshing each time you enter the dungeons. The soundtrack is also very interesting with different electronic and techno style themes that have you bopping your head as you tackle your way through each encounter.

Overall, Going Under is an incredible and amazing first effort from the team at Aggro Crab! I literally played the game from start to finish in one sitting as I found it incredibly addictive and despite the gameplay being punishing, they added an accessibility option when selecting your file if you’re not able to keep up with high-paced combat and the punishing enemies. In some of the later levels, I did have to tone it down a bit as I got screwed and when it came to grinding out the last few trophies it helped quite a bit too. Go buy Going Under and support Aggro Crab as I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

The Good

  • An interesting narrative based on an intern who must take on monsters and evil corporations.
  • Randomly generated dungeons with random skills each time you enter for unique runs.
  • Colourful art style.

The Bad

  • Occasional frame rate drops.

Family Focus

Going Under is rated PEGI 12 and T for Teen by the ESRB. Animated violence and some sexual innuendos.

This review is based on a retail code of the game supplied by PR for the purpose of review.