Review: Going Under

Review: Going Under

Maybe you have not had this opportunity yet because you are not old enough for it. But for those who have already been through college, do you remember how it was to be an intern? That period of your life when you believed that, thanks to a degree you were about to get, you were ready to change (or even save!) the world and ended up discovering that you still had a lot to learn in the real world when you started working for a real company? Do you remember how hard it was to conciliate working, studying, and living beyond that? Yeah… good times, I know. And be it for good or for bad, these times are back!

Developed by the Seattle-based indie studio Aggro Crab and published by Team 17, Going Under is a dungeon crawler where you play as Jackie Fiasco, the new marketing intern of Fizzle Beverages, a company that’s now part of the Cubicle group. Meet your co-workers, attend to numerous meetings, run errands for your boss – as you would in real life – and fight monsters from dungeons that lays beyond your company headquarters! Prepare to face numerous challenges as you try to show you’ve got what it takes to turn this internship into a paid position! But before we start our workday, let’s check all challenges Jackie will face in our review.

How about a coffee between one mission and another? You can always stop by the Bean Counter when visiting Joblin

What we liked!

  • Visuals: From the moment your first start it, you will notice that the visuals of Going Under are something special! The colorful and – sometimes – psychedelic scenarios combined with those strange (but comical) looking characters are not something we see every day. The dungeons, the enemies, the items, and weapons are simple but overflow with charm and personality!
  • I know someone just like these characters: This is a phare you will be constantly repeating as you get to know your co-workers. The aesthetic used by the Aggro Crab is perfect to illustrate the stereotypes of its characters – from the always pissed system engineer Tappi to the visionary entrepreneur and always positive Ray, we all know an individual like the ones portraited in this game. And it’s funny to see the interactions between Jackie and them.
  • Sound: My, my… Aggro Crab sound department did an amazing job with this game! The music and sound effects in Going Under are great! Even though you may find it repetitive due to how many times you will need to retry a level, they do not bother you. It is quite the opposite: you will be happy to listen to these songs over and over again! They did a prime job here, creating a light and comical atmosphere, and deserve all the recognition for it!
  • Gameplay: The gameplay in Going Under starts as your usual workday: you enter the office, talk to your co-workers about their family problems, dreams and pains, daily tasks, and then go down the tubes to accomplish errands for your boss. These errands will take place in the same building Fizzle is located, but on floors where companies dissolved or dismantled by Cubicle are located. In these randomly generated levels, you will fight monsters with whatever you find in your way – from keyboards to axes – until you reach the boss – the CEO of the company you’re venturing through. Each one of your co-workers plays the role of a mentor, giving you buffs and special abilities as you work to carry out tasks for them. After each incursion, successful or not, you will receive an evaluation showing the progress of your mentorship and the main tasks assigned by your manager. You will also receive credits according to your progress that can be used in Fizzle’s office to unlock new abilities that will add Jackie into the dungeons.
This is the evaluation sheet you’ll receive after each mission. Get used to ‘failing to meet expectations’
  • Different companies, different worlds: I must say that the companies – the stages you will venture into – although few, carry a lot of personality! You will get to know Joblin, a job site, Styxcoin, a cryptocurrency platform, and Winkydink, a dating site, each one with a very unique (and comical) theme: Joblin is a more traditional office crowded by goblins. Styxcoin is an old mine (can you see the pun here: a place where you will mine styxcoins) full of skeletons and bats. Winkydink looks like some sort of night club and/or sexy shop, full of imps, demons, and sex toys. These stages all cover 3 different floors, with a boss encounter on the 4th floor. Stages also have a cafeteria, where you can buy weapons, abilities, and items to replenish your health and a special character that can give you access to items if you accept to be cursed by him.
  • Your arsenal: It’s nice to see that virtually everything you find in these companies (or dungeons) can become a weapon to Jackie: from mugs and pens to chairs and pickaxes, from staplers and skulls to katanas and crossbows. These weapons can also have status effects that include freezing, burning, and many more, adding a very welcome RPG layer to Going Under gameplay. You can also install apps on her smartphone which work as special abilities to help you in this adventure, like increasing your attack speed or charming enemies.
  • Challenging in your measure: Going Under is far from easy. Hell, sometimes it can be very frustrating. But differently from what you would expect, it is not a problem since you can turn the tides in your favor, adjusting several options that will make your incursions far smoother and easier. If you want a true hardcore experience, you can have it. But as this is clearly not for every player out there, it is nice to have a possibility to dose its difficulty – without penalizing the player that appeals to it.
Just be careful not to drink too much coffee while in Joblin

What we disliked

  • That uncomfortable feeling of repetition: Even though it holds a good number of surprises for you, the gameplay of Going Under feels rather short. And repetitive. You will be (re-re-re-re-)re-visiting the same levels – be it for farming or because they are really hard to beat – numerous times. While they are randomly generated and present a few differences when you need to pay them a second visit, I really wish there were many more levels (or companies) for you to visit. Nevertheless (and thankfully!), this feeling is softened by the differences in your gameplay provided by weapons, master you are following, and goals you are going after. But if Aggro Crab had to choose between quantity or quality, I am happy to see they made the right choice in this game!
Be carefoll with those weapons while in Winkydink

Rating: 86%
I love it when I have the opportunity to review a game that’s so refreshing and full of great ideas as Going Under is. Even better when it is a parody of our own lives – if you haven’t yet, keep in mind that in a given moment you will walk into Jackie’s shoes when becoming an intern. And from this experience, they developed an adventure like no other! Beautiful, funny, and absolutely recommended for you!