If The Legend of Zelda had a child with Dark souls, I think Below would be its name, with Don’t Starve as its older brother. Between its first mention at E3-2013, to a small play through available at Pax East, Below has become a highly anticipated game for most, and an agonizing concept for others. Capybara Games revealed their ‘roguelike’ adventure as a top down perspective dungeon crawler based on survival and exploration. It has been stressed that this game will not be easy, yet it seems it’s just as hard to develop as the game itself.
‘What Lies Below’ is likely the only text you will ever see in this game, leaving an earie, unsettling feel straight from the beginning. This is exactly what the creators and Developers are going for. Their focus is not so much on promoting the game as it is working on the game, putting all their effort and time into, what they are hoping is their best game yet. The Creative Director, Kris Piotrowski even claimed that it is one of the ‘most complex projects’ Capybara games has ever done.
One of the main goals of Below, Kris revealed, is that they wanted this game “brutal” and “unforgiving”. This has gotten mixed feelings from fans. Some are excited that there is a challenging game like the old days, others are dreading the future experience. “There are levels of punishing, grinding, overly hard bosses. Cheap deaths are not fun in my opinion”, a commenter, RobDev says. Others are cheering, saying the newer generations of gamers have been “babied” and that a game like this desperately needs to be released.
The approach in development is also angled to feel more realistic, so it seems. The team questions what one would do if stranded on an island in reality, and takes that into consideration. Strategy will take a big part of this game, and actions have consequences. Despite how many of these desires actually pass through to the finished product, it is clear that players will have to constantly pay attention.
Again, part of the oddity and difficulty of the game is the lack of information. There is no tutorial, no command or control list, and no dialogue, written or otherwise. You start by arriving on an island, and that’s it – you start the game.
From the beginning, Below is intimidating. Your character is a small dot in a huge area on the screen, making you, yourself feel insignificant and small. Each level is randomly generated, giving you a unique experience with different outcomes. Some may have hidden traps while others have skillful enemies, all in large environments. Every level has its benefits as well, giving at least a little help for what’s to come.
The main purpose is exploration, with a concentration in survival. It is said to get more manageable as you go, picking up hints and skills with every level to progress you to the next one.
The story is very intriguing, because there isn’t anything about it released. The developers made it a goal to keep it unknown until you play it, slowly learning the lore and history of both the island and the little warrior. I personally think this is a great method with this kind of game, as long as the story is good enough. With a hard difficulty and different graphics, the story needs to be really good to keep the interest of the skeptical players.
Despite the concern with difficulty and complaints about the graphics not being the best, there is a lot of people waiting for Below. Originally and X-box One exclusive, Capy has made it possible for PC gamers to wait just as eagerly for it to release on Steam. However, we still don’t have a release date for either platform, so we’ll just have to wait and see what lies Below.