Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

[Review] The Land Beneath Us – Nintendo Switch

Developed By: FairPlay Studios
Published By: Plug In Digital
Categories: Action, Roguelike , RPG
Release Date: 05.13.24
Price: $14.99
*Game Download Code graciously provided for the purpose of review.

I’m normally not a huge fan of roguelikes but when I was reading into the gameplay mechanics for The Land Beneath Us, I became pretty interested because I thought it looked like a fun mix between roguelike and SRPG. I’m glad that I gave the game a chance because I was hooked within the first few minutes of playing.

You play as a robot designed by someone known as the Creator, who used their genius to fix many of the world’s problems. The game begins with you finding out that the creator was kidnapped and heading into the underworld to find them and to collect souls from enemies. The story is interesting and develops a lot as you progress through each world, and both the humor and interaction between many of the characters is great.

The game is broken down into multiple worlds, each one has a bunch of small dungeon-like rooms for you to battle your way out of. Each room utilizes turn-based grid movement and battles. When you die or you beat the final boss of a given world, that run is over. 

When you begin a run, you’re given a starter weapon and relic. There are four weapon slots, each one corresponding to a button on the D-Pad. All you have to do is walk into an enemy and the button you press dictates which weapon will be used to attack. I love this mechanic because it has a sense of randomness while also allowing for a lot of strategy by moving yourself into specific parts of the map to do attacks.

Weapons, just like relics, can be found in chests across the map, as random drops, or bought from merchants. Relics are random and come in different tiers of rarity, each one giving you a permanent boost (or curse). Finding the right relics early on is usually the key to a successful run and I usually go after the health ones first. The most sought-after ones for me were the one that boosts your max HP and the ones that restore health after you clear a room. After that I focused on damage relics. 

The only issue with relics is that you can only store so many at once. If you find a new relic that you really want, you’ll need to drop one you have. As you progress, you’ll be able to unlock more relic slots but we’ll talk about that later. But once you have a solid roster of weapons and relics, combat becomes so much fun and fast paced. 

You can go for an all-out barrage or you can play it safe and try to avoid enemy attacks. When an enemy is about to attack, you’ll see which tiles are going to be hit in advance so you can get out of the way by either moving, using a weapon ability, or teleporting. 

No two rooms are ever going to be the same because they all look different, are different sizes, and have different purposes. The most common one is the combat room which is where you just battle several enemies. Once you beat all the enemies in a room you can move to another room and you’ll often have multiple choices for which room you go to next.

Possibilities for other rooms include merchants and rooms where you can farm souls and gold. Every 10th room is a tough boss battle and once you defeat the final boss for a world, that world and your run is completed. Each run is a brand-new reset where you start with no gold and have to pick a starter weapon and relic all over again, nothing transfers over aside for souls. 

Gold allows you to open chests and buy things from merchants but when your run ends, it’s all gone. Souls on the other hand are the only permanent currency and it’s how you buy permanent upgrades like the relic slots I mentioned earlier. You earn a steady supply of souls with each run and there are multiple places where you can spend them for things like a max HP boost or to unlock better NPC’s. 

This mix of fast-paced action with strategy and RPG elements makes the game incredibly fun. It’s addictive and has a ton of replayability. It’s not a short game either as it took me four attempts before I finally beat the final boss of the first world and each run took around 20 minutes. As you beat each world you also learn more about the game world and characters.

Realistically I don’t think you’re going to beat each world on the first attempt so you could be looking at a complete experience that takes anywhere between 20 and 30 hours. That’s great for a game that only costs $15 and is one of the many reasons why you should pick up The Land Beneath Us.

4/5

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