After a successful run in Early Access, Thorium Entertainment have today released their dungeon crawling action-adventure UnderMine. With one of the most annoyingly good gameplay loops I've seen in the past year, UnderMine is an absolute delight to die in over and over.
They've done well in a crowded market too, announcing they've managed to sell well over 120,000 copies now.
UnderMine is at its heart a fast-paced dungeon crawler with persistent progression and a simple loop. You jump down into the mine, grab as much gold as you can while battling various enemy types and a few difficult boss encounters and try to get as far as you can. When you die, that character is well and truly gone and another random character replaces them. However, you do get to keep a percentage of your gold for you to go and unlock more for the next run.
Check out the release trailer below:
With the big 1.0 release it's not just removing a sticker, they've also released a big update too. UnderMine 1.0 introduces new items and encounters throughout the dangerous underground world. After mastering the core loop of hunting for gold, freeing allies to unlock upgrades, and defeating all five bosses, a door in the overworld unlocks, granting access to a final room with a mysterious boss and cinematic ending. Plenty more came with it including an expanded journal with detailed character attributes, stats for the current run and all playthroughs, an expanded map, and "under-the-hood tweaks".
"After I quit left Relic Entertainment in 2015 and started Thorium, I didn’t know how long and winding the road would be to get UnderMine to this point where it’s finally ready for the world," said Derek Johnson, Founder, Thorium Entertainment. "I still can’t believe this is finally happening. It’s all thanks to our fans who supported in Early Access and shaped the game into something I’m proud for everyone to check out today."
UnderMine has so much crammed into it that you can keep going for a ridiculous amount of hours, and so in that way (and the way you go from room to room) it certainly reminds me of The Binding of Isaac. The thing is, you don't really complete it either as "winning" is not the end of the road. There's also the Othermine, the special dungeon that serves as UnderMine's true roguelike mode.
The ridiculous character builds you can have are great too. As you progress through it you grab Relics and in combination, they can end up giving you some pretty wild abilities. It's part of what makes the loop so satisfying, as you're drip-fed just the right amount in each run that the next will feel different again. It's an easy system for them to continue expanding upon too. With the 1.0 out now, they've already confirmed they're not "finished" with it and plenty more will come in future.
Easily one of my favourites this year. It has just the right amount of a painful challenge when you miss-time that one jump and have to do a fresh run, mixed with a charming visual style and atmosphere with plenty to unlock as you progress through it to keep you wanting more.
If you missed it, we've been playing through it live, follow us on Twitch for that!
You can buy UnderMine on Steam.