Underground (Wii U) Review

By Drew Hurley 08.01.2015

Review for Underground on Wii U

Underground is not an everyday puzzle game. It was originally developed by Grendel Games as a method for surgeons to practice their laparoscopic skills outside of the regular simulators. It's a fascinating idea, but how does it translate to everyday gamers?

The story follows an android called SWN-K, as he helps guide his human friend Sari and other androids through four levels filled with unique puzzles. Each one consists of five stages and a boss encounter. SWN-K rides a mining platform equipped with tool-using arms, each controlled by the dual analogues of the Wii U GamePad. It's this method of control that links up with how surgeons perform laparoscopic procedures.

There are three tools to use to try and help create a path through the underground. There's a drill to destroy walls, a welder to melt ice and zap enemies - or even to zap one's own androids to speed them up - and finally a "grabber" to interact with aspects of the environment, from carrying items to turning levers.

With just these three basic tools it seems the puzzles in the game would be simple. However, as the levels develop there are numerous new features and aspects of the underground added. There are tools to equip to the androids, the ability to build structures, and enemies that can destroy these user-created buildings.

The tutorial system is well done, introducing the player to each new aspect of the gameplay one piece at a time, and developing their skills with each before leaving them to experiment themselves.

Screenshot for Underground on Wii U

Completing all the levels isn't overly difficult, but there are extra win conditions to aim for, including rescuing every android and a collectable resource known as "Quodranite Ore" on each level. Some of these conditions can be trickier to obtain, though none frustratingly so. What can be frustrating are the two biggest issues with the game: the camera and the controls.

In regards to the controls, when trying to build at a set height or between platforms, they can occasionally jerk and throw the positioning off. Thankfully, it's not a common enough occurrence to be overly noticeable. Similarly, the issues with the camera don't happen often, but will always occur in certain circumstances; objects in the environment getting near the arms of SWN-K's machine can cause the camera to jump in and out quite jarringly. Ideally, the ability to turn the camera as in Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker, or at least a little, to see when units move behind pieces of the environment would have been appreciated.

There were unfortunately a few bugs in this build, including one game-breaking issue with the third boss that hopefully will all be fixed by time of release.

Screenshot for Underground on Wii U

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Considering Underground was developed originally as a simulator and will hopefully assist in the development of surgical skills, it's great to see it works well as a standalone game, too. This type of tangential learning, using games as teaching tools, is amazing, and it's fantastic to see it being used here. There are a million places this sort of idea could succeed; hopefully it will be used a lot more in the future.

Developer

Grendel

Publisher

Grendel

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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