Frido takes a look at the action-adventure game Below.
Below is a beautiful piece that doesn’t know what it wants to be as a game. The sound design and art style are amazing. The insta-kills, hunger, and losing everything that took hours to farm in a couple of seconds just by venturing into a dungeon, however, are not. Let’s dig in and see where we’re at.
The game opens to scenes of the clouds coming down onto a small boat in the ocean. The music is peaceful and low, making players feel comfortable. The beginning feels like something from the creators of Limbo and Inside. There’s not a lot of story, players are just thrown in and you continue, speculating what is going on. Personally, these types of game intrigue me. Who am I? Where am I? Why am I here? Figuring these things out is something that keeps me locked into the game for hours.
Below is an action-adventure rogue game. You explore dungeons on a deserted island full of traps and monsters. The maps are procedurally generated, making it ever-changing. Below feels like it’s caught in a trap, stuck between an exploration title and a challenging dungeon crawler. When the game is more about exploration it’s, frankly, a lot better. When going through dungeons, there are so many challenges that it makes the game tedious, and players aren’t able to enjoy the beautiful art style and soundtrack. The dungeons are full of insta-kill traps that made me wish I never started in the first place.
The game presents you with a hunger meter as well. Farming for items takes a long time to prepare for the trek into a long dungeon. If players die, however, they lose all of those tediously farmed items and have to start over. And with the constant ping of red brought on from hunger, there’s no telling how long it would take to complete all of the dungeons.
The game is gorgeous, and I loved looking at it. Playing it, was a different story. There are too many negative factors to make this game what it needs to be. The game is just okay, and that’s basically it. This is game is currently free with a subscription to Xbox Game Pass. If you like a challenge, then by all means. If you just want an exploration, then I suggest giving this one a pass.