Review: Undermine

Review: Undermine

Oh hello there! Are you looking for a great Dungeon crawler that gets you hooked after you spend some time in it? Do you like an ever-evolving quest and getting further and further in a level? Then Thorium has you covered with Undermine. Their newest game actually made me change my mindset on what a dungeon crawler can mean to fun levels. But why you might ask? Well, let’s go!

What we liked!

  • Gameplay: Thorium clearly spent a while on developing the theme and feel of this game, but let’s start with the game feel/gameplay first. During the game, you get to jump, whack, and throw your way through gold mines, level by level, to get as far as you can. After my first goldmine expedition where I died, I realized there is no respawning, at least not in the mine itself. This made me play differently and more tactical. Every mine feels different and has its own special surprises and boss fights. Just overall a great while to play!
  • Music: Whilst you are busy exploring goldmines, you get treated to some nice and suiting theme music. It just adds to the general theme and does not get boring at all. Plus, it changes depending upon the game state.
  • Controls: The game feels quite great with mouse and keyboard, which I actually did not expect. But after giving it a few runs with my trusty controller, I must admit, the game is made for both. If you have an Xbox controller connected, you get different settings menus to change key bindings in case you so desire. But honestly, I didn’t feel the need to. It is well optimized by default.
  • Difficulty: The game can be quite difficult for newcomers to the genre. I have never played any dungeon crawler before this, and always had this idea in my mind that it’s just mindless spamming “X” to slash and continue, but this game really made me think strategically. This probably isn’t much of a surprise to veterans in the genre but took me a short while, and a number of deaths to realize that I can’t just “slash for wins”. This is an expression a friend once told me when he was playing games on low/medium difficulty, and he could win or complete areas by just mashing one or 2 buttons.
  • Economy: The game allows you to collect gold two ways: either you walk over the mined gold, or you let your pet bird collect them for you. But you need to be careful because cute monsters will spawn for each gold orb that drops and will try to steal it. If you die, you also lose a fixed amount of gold, which can be lowered by upgrading certain addons. With the leftover gold, you can buy different addons, or if you find a shopkeeper in some dungeon, you can actually buy bonus health for that run. Overall a solid system that keeps you carefully collecting them golden nuggets everywhere. The better your gear becomes, the further you can make it in the dungeon, which down the line, gives you even more gold. A great system in my opinion.
  • Combat: I found it a neat touch that combat can be done in multiple forms. If you have hard enemies, like bosses, or bats, .., then you can fight them from range by throwing your pickaxe in their direction. Doing a bit off reduced damage, but noteworthy, since being at range allows you to dodge abilities. This means: less permanent health lost in the dungeon! This, combined with the fact that combat itself does feel smooth, in a special way that just feels right, made me really enjoy this part.

Somewhere between

  • Game ultrawide scaling: The game does support ultrawide, which is great in my opinion. And if I select the ultrawide resolution, things do change. But I am left with a 16:9 gameplay field in the middle, while the HUD gets moved to the sides of my screen. On itself, quite a nice addition, but it doesn’t do it for me. I would have loved it if they render in part of the other level, to make it feel more immersive, but it’s just a creature comfort here.

What we disliked

  • Nothing: Didn’t have anything too noteworthy that it deserved a dislike.