UnderMine review: Strike it roguelike, strike it rich

We took a deep dive into the depths of Thorium's UnderMine. Is this roguelike retro adventure worth its weight in gold or is it pyrite in disguise?

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Thorium designers Derek Johnson and Clint Tasker came together on the creation of UnderMine as their passion project entry into the indie gaming scene. This retro art-styled journey takes a style akin to games like Zelda: A Link to the Past, and combines it with a randomized roguelike dungeon-crawling adventure for riches. You’ll die a lot, and hopefully gain the means to do a little better each time, but is the return trip worth it? We took a deep dive into the game in a video review.

UnderMine launched on August 6, 2020, and is available on Steam and Xbox Game Pass with plans for further consoles down the line. In a kingdom suffering from terrible earthquakes, the peasants are tasked with exploring a mine to discover treasures and help bring an end to the disasters. Unfortunately, for many of the peasants, it’s a one-way trip. Once you die, a percentage of your gold and other valuables are retrieved to help you buy upgrades as you take on the role of the next peasant to take their shot at adventure.

UnderMine may look like a Super Nintendo game, but it takes some of the best (and sometimes frustrating) elements of games like Binding of Isaac and Enter the Gungeon and brings it altogether to create an addicting journey. The abilities with the pickaxe are quite fun and satisfying, relics give you cool power-ups, and a curse/blessing system and treasure shop game provide interesting risks and wrinkles throughout your runs.

It’s worth noting that you’re still at the mercy of luck with the utterly randomized rooms and some runs can just plain out feel dirty while some have rewards galore, but it mostly feels fair. We say mostly because it felt like there was some hit and collision detection at times with finnicky spikes and holes in the floor that made for what felt like a few cheap deaths. Even so, it’s not enough to detract massively from the overall satisfying experience of adventure and progress that UnderMine provides.

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Review for
UnderMine
8
Pros
  • Addictive game loop
  • Fun art style & animations
  • Adorable story & characters
  • Lots of upgrades & power-ups
  • A ton of secrets to discover
Cons
  • Occasional cheap deaths
  • Finnicky character hitboxes on holes & spikes
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