[Review] Going Under is a roguelike game focused on the culture of tech startup

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While browsing a recent Steam sale, a game called Going under caught my attention. Its premise combines my current interests in life: roguelikes and startups.

Fun fact: The Roguelikes are games that are predominantly difficult to play. They rely heavily on RNG (Random Number Generator), meaning no two rounds of play are the same. Players often have to go through the game repeatedly, and in some games, character deaths are permanent.

While this genre can be tedious for some, I enjoy it because it offers more reproduction. With each new version of the game, I will find new ways to fight enemies or find new power-ups. And that experience was exactly what I found with Going Under.

Unpaid inmates FTW! (Not IRL)

Unlike most games in which you play a hero who saves the world or at least the princess of a castle, you play as Jackie Fiasco, a new Fizzle Beverages marketing fellow. Fizzle Beverages was recently acquired by Cubicle, the parent company of countless other companies.

Your tasks are simple: search for coffee and file boring documents. Typical practical jobs.

Oh, and by the way, your superior wants you to fight some enemies that came out of the company dungeon. It turns out that the enemies were former exemplars of failed startups under Cubicle. This is where you will end up in reality spend most of your time at Fizzle Beverages. Despite being the new contractor, you are somehow expected to be the one to destroy the enemies.

No big deal, just kill some goblins on your first day

The bad news for Jackie, though, is that enemies won’t fight her with just fists. They will handle the equipment they stole, such as pens, keyboards, potted plants, massive pins and swords. You know, your typical office supplies.

Enemies aren’t flips either, like most roguelike games. Some of them will drive cars to run over you and make you fall, which will give others a chance to reunite with you.

In the early levels, I learned a lot as I struggled to find good climbs that would complement my style of play. Rises can provide benefits such as a more critical hit opportunity, holding two weapons in one hand, and so on. These enhancements are crucial to improving your chances of survival.

Free Hand, one of the skills you can take in the game to help you spin two-handed weapons with one hand

These skills also depend on RNG and this means that you may not find the same skill in one roll, but not the next. The same goes for enemies, map designs, and weapons (which also have limited durability), so you can’t rely on a previous strategy to get you back through the game.

Before each race, you can also assign a co-worker as a mentor and they will provide you with unique skills, such as cheaper in-store pricing or more skill pick-ups.

A few deaths later and after getting acquainted with the enemy’s bosses, I finally got to head level … where my ass easily returned to the lobby. Still, with a few more attempts and good luck in good pills, I managed to beat my head.

Colorful images throughout the game

The game is bright, colorful and vibrant. It caught my attention easily.

Enemies usually stand out, but can sometimes be hidden, combining with the color scheme of the level while wearing company clothes. In each level, especially in the first dungeon, you will be greeted by a lot of office equipment to get used to the weapons of the game.

With one of the latest game updates, there is now some jiggle physics in some of the weapons. Enemies and yourself have a cloth doll physique, which is just the cherry on top, which makes you want to send everything flying just for that satisfying feeling.

Image credit: Aggro Crab

However, the credit is due, the developers were quite creative in making each stage different and unique to show different color schemes, themes and design, so that no stage looked the same.

Jokes in which only startups will be related

One of my favorite aspects of the game is its satirical view of tech startups. The game doesn’t take a hit when making fun of a tech startup’s work environment, which kept me hooked on all the game’s character dialogues and interactions.

For example, Ray, the CEO of Fizzle Beverages, is your typical “cool” boss who ignores everything the accountant says, which reminds me of Michael Scott from The Office.

And you will be able to witness it through the eyes of Jackie, who is a recent graduate looking for experience in the world of marketing. Its head of the company is Avie, an artificial intelligence marketing tool. So aside from having to do chores outside of your work environment, you may not even have marketing experience as it is managed by an AI.

If you’re in the world of startups, you’re sure to find moments that will make you laugh at the precision with which the game makes jokes based on the distorted culture of tech startups. (However, there is some truth based on articles on the net).

Even if you save the day, don’t cover

If you judge Going Under purely as a roguelike, it’s pretty straightforward and not super punishing. The graphics, jokes inside and the gameplay of roguelike made me play for hours.

Unfortunately, there are not many levels in the game. So if you’re expecting a story that makes you cry or a progression in difficulty that your ass may suffer from, it’s best to have a different game.

As for who would get a better shot at this game, we should say the starting employees would get it. I mean you’re literally playing like one. Everything we would say about employers would be, hopefully never to know any of them. Thank God we don’t really have any goblins in the home world of IRL … right?

Featured Image Credit: Vulcan Post





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