UnderMine (PC) Review

By Athanasios 27.09.2023

Review for UnderMine on PC

The words 'roguelike' and 'indie game' frequently go hand in hand, which is why there's an overabundance of them, with that inevitably leading to most titles being of mediocre (at best) quality, with only a small group of games available which could be considered classics, with one example being The Binding of Isaac. UnderMine tries to be such a classic, but while developer Thorium has crafted quite the polished piece of software it sort of misses the mark in a couple of different ways, with the end-result being enjoyable - addicting even - but not really that good.

'Generic beauty' is the perfect term to describe the art of UnderMine. Every pixel is in the right place, the colour palette is vibrant, the details aplenty. Other than that, it's generic fantasy world 101, with the fact that it all takes place underground making it even more bland than it already is. Is it unfair to be negative about something that is objectively fine-looking? Probably, but there's something that differentiates one fine-looking game from another, and that's character. Just mentioning it here for those who can't stand a title that doesn't have much of it, although it's definitely not a major flaw. Concept-wise, players control the peasants that will enter this trapped-filled underworld (one at a time, of course), and who are tasked by a certain Arch-mage to discover the reason behind the… oh, there's no point explaining it. It's your typical placeholder plot. There are some - predictable - twists and turns, but the story is there just to give you an excuse to go down and explore.

Screenshot for UnderMine on PC

At heart an action-adventure roguelike mixed with light RPG elements, all will soon become buddy-buddy with the Grim Reaper. The land down under (not Australia) is filled with all sorts of critters that want to hurt you (yup, still not Australia), traps of all kinds, and a big bad boss at the end of each "chapter." Damage is high, and healing items are rare and somewhat weak, something that creates frustration as well as immersion in almost equal measures. It's one of those games where you need to be in the moment every moment. Heck, even collecting gold (the main currency) is a challenge here, as the moment you find some, little slime monsters try to steal it for themselves, and when death inevitably comes it brings a loss of a portion from the collected loot.

What's left can be spent in the hub; an underground set of rooms were upgrades of all sorts can be bought. Done? Back into the fray then, in hopes of going a bit deeper, finding more stuff, and gathering more gold. As expected, chance plays quite the role here. From the enemy placement and room layout to the die-and-lose-them artifacts that can be found and which boost the player character, no run will be the same. Is the behind-the-scenes RNG fair? For the most part, yes, it actually is. There will be some moments of aggravation when the game just refuses to offer you something helpful, but most of the time the "chaos" is bearable, and since your set of skills changes each time, you are forced to adapt, which is always a good thing in such titles.

Screenshot for UnderMine on PC

UnderMine can be quite addicting. You'll want to return to it the moment you fail a run, and try to go a little bit deeper, find something new, gather enough gold to upgrade your stuff, and so on and forth. There are tons of content as well. Many trinkets to discover or craft, many enemies with unique behaviours, blessings & curses (boosts that when picked up add a negative), upgrades of all kinds, familiars that follow you around and help in a variety of ways, secrets that can be discovered while doing a run, and many more. It all gets repetitive after a while, though. This still retains its addicting nature, but after passing the five hour mark a voice will appear in the back of your mind that says "you are doing the same thing over and over again mate!

Screenshot for UnderMine on PC

At first most will think that it's because the gameplay revolves around two things, and two things only: running from room to room and killing enemies (with only one weapon, and two attack moves), and collecting stuff - repeat until dead. The explanation is much simpler, though. What's that? Well, it's that the items that can be found while on a run, which are what usually makes a roguelike fun, don't alter things that much. Whether it's a relic, a potion, a blessing, a new familiar, or even a permanent upgrade, the effects of these are usually insignificant, not to mention that most of the items aren't really that big of a deal, leaving only a handful of them that can make one excited upon receiving them.

Even worse than the previous problem, is how little items work synergistically. Those that affect the second attack move (a ranged pickaxe throw) are probably the best and finding them all will have your character throw his pickaxe, which will then get divided between three smaller ones, which will in turn ricochet as well as duplicate on collision, and even electrocute their victims via a nice AoE hit. The rest? Minor perks that almost never work in unison with anything else. In the end, the only thing that will keep you doing "one more run," is the curiosity to find what's deeper in the caverns, and that game-y impulse to improve your equipment after death comes.

Screenshot for UnderMine on PC

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 6 out of 10


As it is UnderMine is a slightly addictive, but also quite grindy roguelike which can get boring a bit too soon. With just a few changes, especially in the way boosting items such as artifacts work, as well as a few additional tools like weapons or skills (and maybe a more striking art style), it could be one of the genre's classics.






2D Platformer



C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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