After traveling through the various dimensions of Undungeon, we’re ready to say what we think in this review
In this review we will have our say on Undungeon, action RPG published by tinyBuild and developed by Laughing Machines, making it their debut game on the gaming market. The title is available on PC and Xbox (playable on day one on Game Pass) from November 18, presenting itself as an adventure full of real-time combat and set in a world between the western and the sci-fi, full of details and a plot to be discovered.
A multiverse to be rebuilt
We will start this review by talking about the history of Undungeon, giving a brief description of what awaits us in this fascinating one post apocalyptic world. It all starts with a catastrophic event called Shift which has annihilated almost all forms of life and even separated the various dimensions of the planet earth, now in ruins and complete desolation.
Our protagonist is called Void, a dark and gloomy specter, the first of seven unlockable characters to complete the game. His mission will be to reconnect the seven versions of reality to find all that we have lost. Due to the epilogue that shook the planet, many creatures have mutated and changed, becoming hostile and killing anything that threatens their territory.
The story, albeit slow to mesh, has many details that make the game world very suggestive, perfectly recreating the feeling of exploring a devastated world. The narration continues thanks to large amount of characters and dialogues that we will meet during our journey, also presenting multiple choices that will influence the events of the story. The game is structured through main and secondary missions with a system of World-Karma, where depending on our choices, it will change our reputation for positive or negative with the inhabitants, influencing the ending of the game.
In addition to chatting we fight – Undungeon Review
The world of Undungeon is full of optional dialogue and long texts to read that explain the events of the game but that does not mean that the gameplay is overshadowed. Action will also be part of the experience, offering us a Classic action RPG but with some gems to discover. The protagonist will be able to perform the classic light attack, the loaded one, parry, dodge and use of various objects such as bombs, knives and healing items. The interesting thing is that depending on the weapon or shield we will use, the charged move varies from the effect applied to the type of action we are going to perform, becoming for example an area attack that increases the damage or a forward attack to long range that applies bleeding to the enemy.
The game relies heavily on using items. After a few hours of play we will find various types of bombs and knives to use by applying healing effects, bleeding to the enemy, poisoning, burning etc.. Unfortunately, the light attack is similar for all the weapons found in the game, since they are only variants of the protagonist’s claws, in fact the repetitiveness of the battles will begin to be felt after a few hours of play. In addition to this problem, the battles against enemies also present problems, for example when we will face a large amount of monsters the confusion is around the corner, all being too chaotic and not understanding exactly what is happening on the screen.
An interesting mechanic that concerns the enemies is that they boost their damage when we are hit, in fact, for each hit inflicted a star will be added on their indicator up to a maximum of five, inflicting more and more damage. This mechanic would work well if the battles weren’t too confusing with the enemy hitting us easily, powering up without even noticing.
Don’t steal my organs! – Undungeon review
Continuing the Undungeon review, in addition to being an action RPG it is also a dungeon crawler. During our adventure we will move to a large map that will allow us to access various dungeons to complete the quests and continue with the story. These dungeons are immediately not very elaborate and very repetitive, giving the feeling of going back and forth in places already seen for hours and hours with the same types of enemies to face.
The opponents, in addition to putting a spanner in the works, will have a very important utility for the protagonist, by killing the creatures they will release materials such as organs and materials to craft to empower ourselves. Another interesting thing is that we will be able to finish the enemies in different ways, for example through explosion, laceration, incineration and so on, changing the type and quantity of objects and materials released. Obviously, in addition to crafting, we will be able to dismantle objects to obtain materials to reuse, showing one strong care in the crafting system.
To enhance our protagonist it will be necessary to apply objects that we will find or create during our adventure, that is the organs and cores. The organs Better ones can be created by crafting the basic organs found by enemies, in order to apply a new brain, heart or eyes on the protagonist to increase stats such as life, damage and stamina.
We will have to pay close attention when we die during the adventure because the organs are fragile and with death they are destroyed, having to recreate them from zeros. THE core instead they are equippable rune containers that enhance the protagonist, it is also possible to unlock slots to put more runes using the essences (obtained by defeating enemies). Depending on the core we will use, the available unlockable slots will change, the more powerful a core is, the more slots you can unlock.
Exist various type of runes usable: attack, defense, nature, luck, classic runes and darkness. Additionally, the runes can be merged to create more powerful versions. The progression of the character is meticulous and treated in detail even if the difficulty level is too high at certain times, ruining the progression of the character, given the possibility of losing organs when you die. Given the large amount of objects present in this game including consumables, organs and runes, we will have a series of merchants available to supply us with materials and objects through barter.
A world covered with stretches of sand – Undungeon Review
As for the artistic sector, the world of Undungeon is truly fascinating, with a setting that mixes the old west with futuristic elements. We will have the opportunity to travel through entire desert areas rich in details between piles of rocks, cacti and hay bales, then moving on to electrical components and cutting-edge machinery. This strong contrast makes the game world created in unique bespoke pixel art with extravagant characters in unusual costumes. Technically, the title is made with care, without obvious bugs and with well-made animations, even if not particularly memorable compared to the creation of the game world, where it presents greater attention to detail.
On the other hand, a sore point regarding the sound sector, where the game features not very memorable music for the type of setting and hardly pressing for the battles. Mainly, during our adventure we will hear ambient music that should accompany the atmosphere of the game, the problem is that very often the sound effects of the attacks and our actions are too noisy, made in a rough way, more like thuds, going to cover the ambient music. The title was played on medium-high-end PCs and runs quietly without any problems, even on low-end PCs it would run quietly, since the game weighs very little.
Our Undungeon review ends here and it’s time to take stock. The game is easily described as a “Hack n’slash loot ’em up“, Where the focus is on completing the main quests to continue the story, defeating every enemy that blocks our path and recovering all possible materials to empower us. Unfortunately the title tries in every way of accomplishing many things together but cannot excel in any one.
We have the gameplay that is simple, full of objects to use but often confusing and repetitive in the clashes, with a slight degree of frustration in being defeated, as we lose the organs, weakening us a lot. We have the dungeon crawler aspect which should be one of its main features but it is made in a rough way, too simplified and not very varied, with always identical settings. While the technical side we have the uninspired host, fascinating but always the same settings. Finally, the story intrigues the player, full of details but slow to engage, especially for less patient players.
Undungeon represents that kind of game with a lot of potential and a lot of good ideas but none made properly, every aspect still has a negative side and you can’t understand exactly what is its best strength. A real shame since it is the first project of this emerging team, you can see all their passion and dedication towards this title but it was not enough to be able to create a memorable title. We would have preferred fewer ideas in the cauldron but more refined, so as to remember the title for its unique feature, made properly.
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So much unexpressed potential
Points in favor
- Fascinating setting and game world
- Carefully crafted crafting system
- Intriguing plot ….
- … albeit slow to engage
- Forgettable sound compartment
- Too simplified and forgettable dungeons
- Repetitive and confusing battles