- Developer: Aggro Crab
- Publisher: Team17
- Price: £15.99 / $19.99
- Release Date: 24/9/2020
- Review Code provided by Team17
Introducing Going Under Switch Review
You know what? I’m 32 and that means something to me these days. Specifically it means that I can happily look at the job I have now and realize how terrible the jobs I have worked in the past really were, because man some of those jobs were terrible. I’ve done a lot of the minimum wage slave work that a large portion of the people I grew up around did. I’ve pushed carts at a grocery store, been a janitor at a movie theater, heck, I have three years of my life pumped into a McDonalds job that I seriously thought was going to take me somewhere. (Managerial experience? Sure, I guess.) We’ve all been here. Sometimes, you just gotta pay them bills and you do what you have to do.
It’s jobs like this that make movies like Office Space and any instance of unhinged, comical workspace violence in a movie of tv show we watch so perfectly relatable. There’s nothing I love more than seeing that jerk who took the last donut and told me I smelled get broadsided across the teeth with a keyboard. In fact, I can tell you I’m already replaying this scene in my head. We all love it as a deep down thing we wish we could do, but never had the courage to.
I wonder if anybody made a game about something like this that wouldn’t be insanely violent and that I would love dearly every single time I played it? Maybe something a little cartoony and fun with some marvelous writing and action. Something like Aggro Crab’s Going Under.
The Ultimate Unpaid Undertaking
Congratulations, Jackie Fiasco! The world’s largest company, Cubicle, has accepted your application for an unpaid internship! You have been assigned to the killer new tech startup F’ZZLE to fill the Marketing Intern position. I mean, kind of. On your first day you meet your boss, Marv, who is very excited to see you. After giving you the signs of what might be the worst boss in recorded history, Marv gives you the first assignment as part of the F’ZZLE team: Go into the basement of the building we are in and kill the boss of the company that lives down there. That’s uh… certainly a way to start your first day. So (begrudgingly) off you go! Using only the things you can pick up around you, your mission is to beat the ever-loving crap out of all who would stand in your way until you confront and best the Boss of every failed startup hiding underneath your company.
See, these companies (of which there are three) that reside under F’ZZLE are companies that have LITERALLY “Gone Under”. This means that the company has not only lost its profitability, but those employees have devolved into monsters. Whether it’s Joblin, a company that hires out goblins to do whatever tasks you need, WinkyDink, a dating app that only lets matches talk in emojis, or STYXCoin, a cryptocurrency company with immensely fluctuating value, each company contains within their walls a mystical relic that will help YOUR company be successful. Maybe by collecting all three of them you can make your company be ultra-successful! Who knows! Marv? Maybe.
Along the way you’ll meet the rest of the team:
- Ray, the corporate buzzword flinging hype man who founded the company.
- Kara, the super burned out head of programming and her incredible dog.
- Tippi, the high strung head of finances.
- Fern, the flowery, eloquent head of flavors.
- and Swomp, the barista who runs the company café.
Each person can become your “mentor” and give you additional helpful abilities and perks to help you along the way through the perilous wreckage of Corporate America. Need a few extra bucks to spend in the shops? See if you can help Tippi with a few things. Do you hate paying for things? Ask Swomp to steal a thing for you from the shops! Everyone helps in a unique way, so get to interning and do some stuff for them! If you scratch their backs, they’ll surely scratch yours. But what lies in store for you as you work for F’ZZLE? Who knows? (I do. I reviewed the dang thing, but I’m not gonna spoil it for you)
Beating the Competition
Going Under works like a lot of traditional roguelikes: Enter dungeon, kill everything until it kills you, spend premium currency, repeat. However, what Going Under has that a lot of other games like it try to get right (and they usually do with little success) is a perfect balance of the insane and the fun. Don’t get me wrong, Going Under is tough (and we’ll talk more about that later) and it takes some serious getting used to, but there is something so satisfying about each hit and each weapon that keep you coming back for more. As I stated before, the goal of each attempt in this game is to get to the fourth floor of a failed start-up to defeat the boss therein and steal their mystical artifact (or whatever Marv was talking about during the training. It’s all a blur). The only items you get to use to smack around the baddies are whatever you can get your hands on. Almost everything you can see in a room is something you can use to beat folks up. Careful though! Nothing lasts forever, and your items can break, but when they do they’ll do more damage (and sometimes even give great status effects)! But I think it’s here that the combination of setting and items really start shining for the team at Aggro Crab.
In every roguelike you are given a similar set of tools, right? You have your classes of weapons: Melee, ranged, close combat, medium distance, spears, etc. As you wander through the depths of failed business not only will you find clubs, swords and spears, but you will also find vertical monitors, pencils, laptops, and other office paraphernalia. Each weapon you find can be used as it if were in the weight class a traditional weapon would be (pencils are like daggers, but you can swing a keyboard like a bat). This whole idea takes that ho-hum combat and makes it INFINITELY more fun. Did your sword break mid-combat? Beat that goblin to death with a filing cabinet! Are you getting mobbed by a beefy bad dude? Freeze them with a fire extinguisher then throw them at the rest of the crowd! There’s a ton of options in every room you enter, so experimentation is key to success. Personally, I love throwing office chairs at demons while alternately clearing out the room with a war hammer I found in the previous room.
Combat is fun and crazy and it keeps you coming back for more. Something to note as well is that combat isn’t just fun, but it also feels good. Each big hit lands with the perfect amount of screen-shaking, time stopping force when you swing a Easter Island head statue like a metal folding chair right into an imp’s dumb face. This is something worth bringing up because it’s another facet of games like this that is often overlooked. Aggro Crab nailed it. This combat is lovely and I have yet to get tired of it.
This is something I’m not sure a lot of people ever really used, whether out of pride or whatever, but it’s something I have wanted in games like this for AGES. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the greatest thing to be in a roguelike since the concept became a thing: THE ASSIST MENU
Now, I know what you’re saying: “Kevin, you wuss! That’s like putting the game on super easy! That’s not beating the game for real you chump!” To which I happily respond “Let me play the game at whatever difficulty level I like, you jerk! If I wanna make the game easier on myself so I can actually (heaven forbid) ENJOY the game, so be it.” This is seriously the greatest addition to a notoriously hard genre I have ever seen.
When you choose your file from the beginning menu, to the right is a slider titled “Assist Mode”. Within this menu there are a few key things. Firstly a note telling you about why you might want this mode. It’s kind and very up front about what it’s there for. Just listen to this!
“Going Under is meant to be a difficult game, but we also understand that every player is unique. If you feel that our game is inaccessible due to its difficulty, we hope that these options will allow you to enjoy it.”
That’s it. There’s no “Your progress will not be saved due to you making the game easier” (I’m looking at you, Cuphead!) or “We all think you’re a pansy for putting it on baby’s first video game mode”, but a simple acknowledgement that the game is hard and we don’t think making it easier is something bad.
In this menu are options like additional health, more durable weapons, and lower enemy health. Personally, knowing my play style, I added on three additional hearts because I know I had to get through this game to review it, but I also wanted to have a fun time doing it. As the game progresses maybe I can turn those off, but for casually playing through a tough game it was really nice. It took the edge off, you know?
Looking Good or Hardly Looking?
I love this game’s art style. It’s really goofy and overexaggerated, and equally silly (which I suppose is fitting for a game about workplace violence). But the colors are vibrant and help keep the action clear and quick. I mean, until all of the perks you pick up turn you into a hulking monstrosity. (Seriously, after I got a few perks that both made my arms bigger and longer as well as a perk that made my weapons huge and gave me boxing gloves I looked AMAZING). I will say however that this game really nails it in the little details they throw in. Let me explain.
Each dungeon is distinctly different, but always a combination of two things. For instance, STYXCoin is both a bitcoin mining company and an actual mine in a cave. So when you go inside of a new room in the dungeon you will not only find desks with bitcoin mining rigs and monitors, but also pick axes, dynamite and mine cart tracks. Even further if you look at the walls you end up seeing advertisements for TED talks by “Bitcoin Evangelists” and motivational posters telling you to “Re-Animate Your Assets!”. It’s hilarious because I have worked at those terrible places before. I relate to these terrible jobs SO HARD because everyone relates to the terrible jobs they’ve worked. It’s a joy, I tell you. An absolute JOY! (especially when I smash everything in the room with an enormous sledgehammer)
The Fine Print
Going Under is a smooth experience no matter how you play it. I spent a majority of my time in handheld mode just for the convenience of playing it on my breaks at work, but docked mode is fabulous just so you can see all of the chaos on a bigger screen. I can’t say that I saw much of an improvement graphically in docked mode, but I did notice that things loaded a touch faster.
Honestly, the only technical issue I found is something pretty common in games with ragdoll physics. Sometimes when I would power smash an enemy with a hammer the size of my entire body their corpses would get stuck in the walls until they faded away. Honestly, that’s the kind of thing I could use more of in games these days. It’s funnier than it is problematic.
Performance Review (and a few notes)
Man… I just love this game so much, and I can tell that the fabulous team over at Aggro Crab dumped industrial strength love of their own into it as well. There’s tons of personality in this game everywhere you look. I want to list a few before I head out, because they’re just fabulous.
- Listing items you order at specific shows as “will arrive in 3-5 business combats” slays me EVERY DANG TIME.
- Naming super rare items as “The Job Seeker” or “The Cost Cutter” are genius and I love them.
- The devs put in a tweet that if it got 9000 likes they would have a “dead meme” DLC makes me smile. Give me Dat Boy as a secret boss, you cowards!
I could go on, but this game comes out [checks watch] in two days, so I need to get this out the door. But let me be clear on this: Going Under is fabulous and you should buy it immediately. Seriously. This game is quality – easily in my top 5 this year and I don’t say that lightly. I have had the chance to play some really good stuff this year. This is worth all of your time.
- You can finally go ape in an office with ZERO repercussions!
- Deeply satisfying combat
- A perfect balance of insane and relatable
- Immensely accessible no matter your skill level
- Will probably make you hate your boss who uses corporate lingo.
- Base difficulty can be pretty tough and might turn some people off.
- Will sadly remind you that throwing a spear at your coworkers, while effective, will probably get you fired in real life.
Aggro Crab have made one of the greatest dungeon crawlers this year and you would be a FOOL to skip out on it.