Undungeon Review | It’s time to introduce you to this action role-playing adventure title known as Undungeon. In Undungeon, you will be using all that you can at your disposal to restore dimensions back to their original state, as this will determine the fate and influence that is being spread to create the new multiverse. Due to multiple versions of Earth being merged into each other, an event that is referred to as the Great Shift is brought upon everyone, creating this extremely cataclysmic occurrence damaging all time and space. With this occurrence comes you, a herald, with the overwhelming task of restoring and reconnecting all that has been damaged and lost to this crisis and ruin. With plenty to obtain, craft, and equip at your disposal, you will be inundated with a mixture of equipment to venture wherever the world takes you. Undungeon has been developed by Laughing Machines and published by tinyBuild to bring us a challenging title that not only brings a modern approach to the classic spirit of action/RPGs but to make an important impact on how your game is played because if played half-heartedly, you will notice and suffer for it in the long run.
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series S | Review code provided by PR/publisher.
This review is the personal opinion of the writer. Got unanswered questions about this game? Get in touch on Twitter!
What we Liked!
- Player-build potential | With your character being built around body organs, core runes, and equipment, the combinations you can create throughout your gameplay can be extensive. Whether you find more use in upgrading your damage, you want to have your stats evened out or have a particular play style to build around, it’s entirely up to you. And nothing is set in stone either as you can change out these elements at a moment’s notice if you feel something isn’t working out. It should also be known that your organs and equipment can break and be unusable but there is no need to threat as you can buy/fix equipment and create/mend organs as you progress. Plenty to think about and consider during your venture.
- Levelling, karma, and day/night system | There are a couple of other features I would like to mention. When it comes to levelling up your character, you actually upgrade your core where you place runes. As all cores are different but start at level one, you slowly unlock different slots for the runes. One core may have more damage rune slots but not any for luck runes for example so it’s down to what the player can create and prefers. Positive and negative karma affects your relations with people in the dimensions, making getting bigger discounts and new allies possible the kinder you are. Finally, the day and night system. Some side quests have a ‘day limit’ in which they need to be completed. You can travel at any time but during the day, you can come across merchants and battles on the open map but overnight they sleep, making your travel between locations safer.
- Exploration and discovery | As you make your way to the main missions, you will come across a whole host of side missions and additional areas that spawn across the map for you to check out. This is by no means mandatory but if you’re someone who enjoys exploring every inch of an area, wants to make the most of the content available and completes games to the highest possible degree, you’ll have a blast during your playthrough/s of Undungeon. As you can take a multitude of routes when travelling around the different dimensions, there are a great number of possibilities for you to uncover previously dead areas of space to reveal new merchants and camps. Whether you go out of your way to expose the map or do it naturally, know there are hidden areas just waiting to be discovered.
- Main hub area | For every primordial matter you obtain, you can create a new path in the main hub, thus giving you access to new NPCs that all have their unique way to assist you. These will come to you as you progress through the story but can also be found among miscellaneous areas and camps that show the relevant icon. It felt strangely relaxing mooching around the safe area and gave me time to buy, sell, upgrade, and switch out items if necessary as well as take my time to work out which mission I wanted to take on next. Spaced out nicely, looks welcoming, and provides everything you should need to defeat the game.
- Pixel art aesthetic | I was a huge fan of the pixelated art style used to create Undungeon with copious shades of colour spread amongst the game, bringing everything to life effortlessly. The environment and detail within its surroundings all stand out relatively well and give off a hand-drawn vibe that is pleasing to the eyes. The enemies, your character, the NPCs, and the animations they produce all caught my eye too as they have been designed incredibly well. Undungeon stands out with its quirky visuals although they may not appeal to everyone.
- Balancing concerns | The factor that makes Undungeon unique is the difficulty settings and what they imply. Instead of your usual increased damage which most games promote, Undungeon works in the way that every successful attack enemies land on you gives them a temporary percentage of damage increase, shown by stars above them. Yeah, each successful attack on you makes them even stronger so you best hope your dodge game is on point. I say temporary as over time they will lose this but it does convert to a shield for them. It can make the later game much harder and it was a challenge I didn’t originally expect that did throw me off my warpath. From a minimal 25% (which can be manually reduced to 5%) to a ridiculous 150% (which can be increased manually to 200%) damage increase when you choose your difficulty, be careful you don’t bite off more than you can chew.
- Repetitive gameplay | Yes, there are hours of gameplay on offer but it does end up being incredibly repetitive in terms of combat and what you’re actively doing. The general feeling I got was to do a quest, fight some enemies, continue the quest, fight some enemies, and finish the quest. Doesn’t exactly sound like riveting gameplay at the end of the day which is an issue in itself. I didn’t mind it terribly but a little more variety in the type of quests and fights would have majorly improved the gameplay for me. I just wanted to expect something different after hours of gameplay but nothing really changed.
- Mundane combat | Enemies and their attacks do you vary as do yours, depending on what gear you’re using but the combat itself always felt like the same old story. Attack, dodge, attack, dodge. Yes, that’s the general idea of combat but due to the nature of enemies doing increased damage when they hit you, I found myself far more focused on dodging them than attacking which isn’t really what you want to be doing. I also found ranged items such as traps and bombs to be useful early but healing made these fall off over time. It just wasn’t fun or ideal for me and I think could have been adjusted to make it more engaging.
- Trade system | Merchants can be found all around the dimensions in Undungeon and commonly offer different items. You can buy crafting materials, runes, equipment, and throwables that can help you restock and improve your character but some merchants will only allow a trade if the money that switches hands is close to even. This means you have to sell the equivalent from your own inventory to purchase what you want which can be annoying sometimes if you have nothing to trade. Luckily, it didn’t take me long to get enough resources to trade due to the destructible environment. But why can’t you just take my money and be happy, huh? Some will, some won’t.
- Acceptable audio | I wasn’t completely gripped by the music or sound effects heard within Undungeon as they didn’t bring enough presence for me. There’s an odd ambience in the air that didn’t feel suitable but the sound effects had been placed well to provide more depth within the gameplay. Needless to say, both could have been improved but it was especially needed to enhance the combat element found around every corner in Undungeon as the adrenaline that should have been present is almost missing completely.
What we Disliked
- Unclear save system | I didn’t particularly like the save system that was implicated in Undungeon as it didn’t use the typical manual save and had an inconsistent form of autosave included. Instead, there were mirrors that you could find by traversing the map and by entering these locations and getting close enough to said mirror, your game would save. The other way to save was by travelling back to the main hub area. All I was presented with was a small ‘saving…’ at the bottom of my screen which didn’t seem enough. I personally much prefer to use save slots and manual saving or at least have a more prominent notification appear announcing the save, needing to be cleared to progress.
- No multiplayer | Undungeon is purely a single-player experience which, although suited me, could have perhaps included a coop or multiplayer mode also. I understand the main game would have struggled with this due to the story and background surrounding your character being to do with a singular herald and not a team. However, I think another mode or story could have been introduced, allowing multiple characters to be played and the chance to team up with people online or with friends. Not having this added greatly impacts the target audience and potential player base.
- Too much dialogue | For the amount of gameplay, there is probably twice as much dialogue and that’s no joke. Now, coming from someone who loves story detail and reading background lore, there was way too much text for even my liking. Whenever I spoke to an NPC, they could always chew your ear off and more frequently than not, I just wanted to get back to combat and progression. The text was also frequently in chunky paragraphs, which was not appealing to the eyes at first glance. Dial it down a little and this could have made for great content.
- Environmental annoyances | Getting stuck on the environment is one of my greatest pet peeves in video games and Undungeon has ounces of chances to get caught on the smallest of objects. There were, unfortunately, times when my character would get stuck and I would have to reload my game and (as previously mentioned) if I had not recently visited a mirror or the hub, this could set my progress back tremendously. When dodging enemy attacks, I also consistently got stuck on bushes and trees which did get me killed multiple times. Although these could be destroyed, funnily enough, the last thing I was thinking when trying to avoid imminent death was attacking my surroundings.
How long to beat the story | Approximately 10-12 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | Approximately 50-60 Hours
You’ll love this game if you like these | Hades, Wally and the Fantastic Predators, 9th Dawn III
Undungeon provides plenty of potential with its general story and ideas behind the gear/setup you can build but falls short in too many areas, making my interest fall off quicker than I would have hoped for. As a single-player action RPG, there is fun to be had and plenty to explore to keep the gameplay alive. However, due to the repetitive nature of missions and combat, this doesn’t hold up as I expected it to. Undungeon just leaves a little too much to be desired but had incredible potential to be an excellent game.
Please consider supporting us!
Hello, I’m Victoria. I’m from the UK and have been playing video games for as long as I can remember; back on DreamCast. I’ve pretty much fallen for Xbox since I was around eight years old and remember BioShock being my first game on the Xbox360. Although I find it thoroughly enjoyable to not only experience gameplay, I also find comfort in getting lost and engrossed in the online worlds that sometimes differ greatly from what we know. Another side of my Xbox passion would be achievement hunting and gamerscore. I thrive when I hear the little sound of one popping up on the screen and I’m always finding ways to work on my backlog when possible. Horror is my favourite genre so if you have any recommendations, don’t be afraid to send them my way!