At first glance, Undermine seems like generic dungeon crawler amalgamated with RPG elements, but upon further “mining” Undermine soon begins to unravel its secrets to reveal a beautifully crafted dungeon crawler with heavy RPG influences.
Undermine follows the classic dungeon crawler action-adventure formula but with a few inventive and fun twists here and there. You play as a randomly generated avatar who must dive deeper and deeper into the mine to face ever-challenging enemies and collect oh so much loot in a randomly generated mine.
When you die, you spawn as a new character. But unlike other games in the rogue-like action-adventure genre, Undermine lets you carry over your progress in the form of gold (which you have to mine throughout your spelunking adventure) and items you can buy with said gold. I was apprehensive about this feature when I first found out about it, as some of the charm and fun to be had in these games come from the unique adventures you have when you start from scratch. However, Undermines gold system only lets you power up your character ever so slightly each time, but enough to let you progress through the earlier levels much quicker and with little effort.
We now have but one choice…
Undermines RPG elements are such a treat as well, as you interact with other NPCs in a meaningful way that changes Undermines landscape ever so slightly. The items, artifacts and even curses you collect along the way add so much variety through the lens of RPGs that you honestly feel like every adventure is unique. In addition to the variety, you also get an immense amount of replayability. I’ve still barely scratched the surface on all of the collectibles and items available in the game. The replayability alone would make me highly recommend this game to anyone who is looking to get their money’s worth when it comes to video games.
The enemy variety is also quite strong giving you over 50 enemy types to face and multiple bosses to defeat. Again, Undermine has given a unique twist to some its mobs, my personal favourite is the Pilfer monster, which doesn’t do damage to you but appears every time you harvest some gold, and proceeds to steal it from you.
However Undermine does have a few minor drawbacks, some of the tooltips for items can be a little confusing at first, and some I was completely unaware of how they worked exactly. The minimalist explanations sometimes lead to me having to read a tooltip multiple times. This led to a few frustrating and confusing deaths. On the topic of death, the random generation can sometimes feel very unfair and unforgiving. But that is just a given on some runs and is to be expected.
In Undermine you’re mining for the gold
Undermine is an excellent rogue-like action-adventure that is well worth a look. It is an ideal dungeon crawler woven together with RPG elements. As with every dungeon crawler a lot of abilities and collectibles to discover and use, so plenty of replayability to be found here. The items, blessings and curses fit in extremely well with the RPG backdrop.
What sets it apart and makes it a better dungeon crawler is the carryover items such as gold, armour, and pickaxes. The mob variation such as Pilfers, make for fantastic variations in each and every run. The only drawbacks to this game are the pitfalls common to this genre, but the tooltip system leaves a bit to be desired.