There is a game I want to cover that I feel does not get enough attention, and that game is Undungeon. It is an extraordinarily unique game, and it is all done in pixel art, which in my personal opinion, makes it that much more interesting as it is an intractable art piece.
There is only one thing I have to dunk on with Undungeon, and I will dunk on this pretty hard, and that is the story is hard to follow. Now my reason for this is laughable because the story is all text-based and has no audio for its story. I know what you are thinking; I should read more. However, in an action game, I should not have to read a novel’s worth of text in between fighting; to understand the plot.
When it comes to the gameplay, Undungeon acts a lot like a modern massive multiplayer online game (MMO); the controls are all placed on your Hotbar, which are the control, shift, and the number keys 1 through 9; and the items you find or the equipment you, well, equip also ends up on the Hotbar as abilities or attacks and when they run out your weapons will break, or your items will cease working.
However, I should point out that even during combat, you can quickly change what is on your Hotbar. So, if a weapon breaks or items run out, you can switch between them.
In regards to combat, the directional indicators make it difficult to keep track of what is happening; in terms of accessibility, it means only players with decent eyesight can play the game. I had issues only because I could not focus on multiple things going on at once.
The top-down approach to combat does not make it difficult to focus; on everything, but when you throw in the Hotbar mechanics. My brain is trying to figure out the best options from my hotbar while I am trying to dodge, charge up my attacks, find a grenade, and heal with all options; available. It feels convoluted and messy, and then it becomes difficult to focus on everything; that is happening. My criticism of Mayhem in Single Valley remains valid in this case.
It would have felt better from a gameplay perspective with the less is more approach that the Legend of Zelda Link to the Past; had with its overworld traversal and combat. The key to winning battles in Undungeon needs strategy and a good healthy amount of dodging while charging up stronger attacks.
When we get down to the nitty-gritty of the combat, there are several enemy types, and much like most enemies in any story-driven game, they all have basic attack patterns. However, what makes the enemies in Undungeon a bit different is that they will get stronger the more they hurt you. Then to further increase the difficulty, the enemy scenarios will change between swarm, waves, and play at range to keep you on your toes.
I should mention; how strong the enemies become in combat solely; depends on the difficulty you select at the start of your game.
Undungeon does have other things besides an absurd combat system. It also has an intensive crafting system. But my problem with item crafting is that they introduce it much later; in the game. Since the game; can be completed in or around four hours. I feel that crafting should have been introduced much earlier.
That is not to say the crafting is unwelcome. Undungeon, as I mentioned earlier, feels heavy-handed with an MMO design in terms of gameplay. It does give the game a certain charm due to your equipment and weapons being able to break, not to mention your organs. What can I say?
The God who crafted you was working with what he had off-hand. I should mention; that your organs are your armor, and your internal core houses your modifiers, which is what; you also level up during gameplay. All of these things give Undungeon a deep level of customization.
Lastly, in Undungeon, there are multiple branching story paths, all of which; are determined by your actions. If; you play as a selfish or greedy individual, or if you play as a caring and compassionate individual; these choices will ultimately affect your game’s ending.
My final thoughts on Undungeon; is that it tries to be something it should not be. The story takes a backseat to convoluted gameplay and an overabundance of game mechanics that; could have been simplified. Where Undungeon shines is in its artwork; in that regard, it is a masterpiece. If; you think Undungeon is the type of game you would love to play, go check it out on Steam!
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