Undermine Digs Into Early Access

Whatever is going on deep beneath the earth in the heart of the old gold mine, it’s awfully rumbly.  The constant tremors are a source of worry for the peasants of the topside world, but not so much that it prevents them from tackling the the caverns one at a time to gather up as much gold as possible.  There may be some side effects from the mining expedition, such as rescuing those trapped within the tunnels and defeating a horrible unknown evil, but it’s the lure of gold that fills up the line at the mine’s entrance.  The land may be in need of a hero but it’s got an endless supply of hearty workers and their canary helpers instead, and that’s going to have to do.

Undermine is an action-roguelike in the vein of Binding of Isaac, and it released today on Steam in its Early Access form.  It’s in excellent shape already, with plenty of content and feeling incredibly sold, and the plan is to add much more content over the coming six to eight months on the road to release.  Undermine doesn’t mess too much with the action-roguelike formula, focusing on putting its own spin on the genre rather than redefining it, but that’s hardly a negative.

The miner starts out roughly the same on each run, with a bagful of gold inherited from the previous peasant and a selection of permanent stat increases to invest in if he can afford it.  A better tunic increases health, stronger gloves and a better pickaxe buff throwing and swinging damage respectively, better bombs do more damage, etc.  Bombs and keys are standard but scarce items in the dungeon, although as a rule it’s better to horde the bombs to pop open suspicious walls or rocks inconveniently blocking off a handy treasure chest.  It’s a rare run when you’ve got enough to spare to use as an attack item, and with a bit of practice and a pile of gold spent on upgrades the pickaxe is strong enough to handle most of what the mine can throw at you.

A good punch in the face with a mining implement is enough for most situations, but there are still plenty of modifiers to enhance or interfere with a run.  Artifacts are mostly useful, whether by directly enhancing attack or giving new abilities such as no spike damage, but others such as the fire bombs take a little finesse to get the most out of.  There are plenty of secrets to be found by playing with fire, but setting your peasant ablaze isn’t one of them.  Or at least not usually.  Some of the trade-offs can be a little complicated, is the point.

The journey to the depths isn’t an easy one but each trip is full of surprises.  Sometimes in the form of cave spiders, sure, but surprises nonetheless.  The end of every peasant’s life is unique in the ever-changing maze, and with enough gold and a little luck maybe the next run will be unique in the way it lasts a little longer.  It’s dangerous under the earth, filled with mysteries, puzzles, and monsters, but the endless parade of peasants won’t let a small problem like certain doom dissuade them from the dream of striking it rich.