Going Under Review : Hooray for the interns

The rogue-like genre of videogames has really blown up and grown into it's own clear genre. It's gameplay mechanics seep across genres and has become a top choice for many indie games and big studios alike. But how do you keep things fresh and make sure you stand out from the competition? Well that comes down to your presentation and delivery and the team at Aggrocrab games have brought a unique art style and their sense of humor to their release Going Under. If you ever needed some colour in your life this might be just wat the doctor ordered. 


Going Under has you play as Jackie, a new hired intern (unpaid off course) for the latest new upstart company Fizzle. This producer of uniquely flavored energy drinks has recently been acquired by Cubicle. A large conglomerate who gobbles up every new idea with out prejudice and throws its AI system at it to make sure is quickly becomes the most generic product without a hint of its original excitement. As a result of the tough market for new upstarts it turns out that the lower levels of the building that houses Fizzle are occupied by previous failed upstarts and its minions ( err.. employees) still troll and haunt the building. 



Jackie new and eager, quickly gets thrusted to deal with the new company uprooting as well as the demons in the basement.  The employees at Fizzle are your typical archetype office employee. The new age care free founder/owner, the quiet co-founder, High strong financier, useless bossy manager, and a cantankerous techy that makes everything work.

By performing requests for your team you will receive buff you can apply as a result from their mentorship that can help you get through the dungeons in different ways.



Playing the combat portion is straight forward. Grab any object in sight and swing with it or through it. Some such as a stapler can be used at a distance until it runs out of staples and then you can bash with it or throw it as you switch to the next object. All of these weapons will fairly quickly break down forcing you to switch often. You can hold a few at a time to carry with you but expect to cycle through them often. Due to the randomness in the game (RNG) you will not always see the same things available to you. This randomness extends also to the level layouts and the spawns in each room. 
You also get a dodge button which is very useful to get out of the way quickly. As you do not have too much health and it does not regenerate over time it is important to be quick and efficient. Running, dodging and attacking.

Throughout the levels you can find skills to apply that will change how your attack and abilities work. From lowering store prices and finding more cash to bombs that appear when you dodge or increasing your base damage there is a variety of options available. Some skills can be equipped based on your mentors before you start giving you one more leg up against the underlings roaming around. 
In some cases a skill or perk is a trade off. In example at some point you get access to the company card and you can buy items on credit. But now deal with a literal ball and chain that will drag you down and slow your mobility. 




       
Combat is simple, giving a basic attack whose strength varies depending on your selected weapon and a dodge roll for defense. Attacks can be charged for greater damage, too, also letting you throw items about, but each weapon has limited durability, so you must regularly switch things up. Skills can also be gathered throughout each dungeon run and these add buffs such as increased health, proficiency in two-handed weapons or dropping bombs when dodging. They don’t stick with you upon leaving, but using them gains experience and if Jackie becomes proficient in them, she can enter dungeons with one skill already equipped. Upon gaining a smartphone, apps can be randomly found, and these have their own perks like ordering in new weapons, creating a dummy Jackie to fool enemies, and more. One particular vampire can give you a powerful upgrade, if you first deal with a tiny little curse first. Is it worth the effort? That begs the question.

Stores throughout the level can sell you health hearts, weaponry etc. But prices are not cheap. Throughout the game you will get options to lower them but doing so means you will have to drop other skills. The choice is yours and it makes that everyone has a different experience. Each level has a unique feel as well that will effect your choice of skills and it is important to adapt for most efficiency and of course you can keep returning to it experimenting with the different options.


The strength of Going Under lies in its presentation. The unique art style and its bright color pallet build a great atmosphere that compliments the setting of the game and the story. The way everyone seems so coy or oblivious about the dark thing going on in the lower levels of the building while Jackie does all the heavy lifting contrasts in a complimentary way with the look and feel of the game. 

This company is going under and (almost) no one sees it coming, the days that Fizzle co will be just another slide down for some other new upstart is clear to only the intern who has not yet been jaded with the realities of doing business.

The music in Going Under brings a exiting vibe to the game and changes when you are about to apply a new  can of whoop-ass. However after playing for a few hours these same tunes can become repetitive and either annoying of fade back in the background of all the other noise going on. Still the opening notes of a battle have that recognizable quality to them. I might have to make it my new ringtone.


There is no voice acting. But there are a lot of dialog options availed which are presented by text with a text bubble sound. There are good reasons to talk to everyone in order to learn more about the company, get information on the story and sometimes get great tip, missions, and upgrades by doing so.

Going under is not a very large game, you can probably finish it in 8-10 hours. But there is a lot of replayability thanks to the RNG in the game in terms of enemy spawn, weaponry and map layouts. No dungeon run will be the same, save for the final boss. 
Each of the levels have a unique feel to them that is for more then looks, it also affects the way you approach their levels. All in all the final version of the game brings exactly what I hoped after playing the demo on PAX East as well as the steam demo and is a great game to play a few quick rounds or get lost in for hours. Will Jacky get out in time, become anther cooperate drone or save everyone? Find out for yourself in Going Under.


 


Game information
Title: Going Under
Developer: Aggrocrab games
Publisher: Team17 
Release date: Sep 24, 2020
Platforms: Nintendo Switch,  PC,  PlayStation 4,  Xbox One
Review platform:  PC ( Steam)
ESRB: T for Teen 





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