Underworlds ($0.99) by Pixel Mine, Inc. is a Hack and Slash RPG (role-playing game) wherein one controls a single character through a largely two-dimensional, graphically unimpressive environment.
As you go through this world, you will be completing quests while killing anything that stands, rattles, squawks or crawls in your way. Doing so awards you experience points which allow your character to level up. It appears to largely be a clone of the PC game Diablo but in a greatly watered-down form.
When choosing your character you’ll discover there are four difficulty levels but only one class to choose from. You can pick one of four portraits but everyone has to play the same class with the same options. You get a sword and that’s it. No ranged attacks or different classes to choose from.
Each time you level up you are given five stat points and one feat point to spend. The stat points increase your character’s ability to take damage or health while the feat points give initial access and later upgrades to the five abilities you will ultimately have access to.
Three of these constitute your main attacks and are a hit for extra damage, a stun and an AoE (area-of-effect) ability to hit multiple targets. This does give some freedom to customize, but the choices you make in spending these points seem to be permanent. Unless the ability to recycle points is unlocked later on, you’ll have to hope you made good choices or restart the game completely.
I found my little guy constantly missing the target in his attacks, ostensibly due to insufficient dexterity (one of the stats), and no way to fix the problem. There is an option to restart with your current character level and equipment to make harder settings more manageable but even this does not reset the points. Overall, a huge drawback.
One of the major elements of this genre is being able to equip better loot as you progress through levels and vanquish ever greater foes. There is certainly no shortage of new weapons, shields, helmets and so on being dropped by enemies although equipping new items makes absolutely no difference to the appearance of your character.
You should never have to waste your gold on loot at the in-game shop, accessible at any time by using a Teleport Charm. You will, however, have to constantly replenish your supply of health potions especially when facing off against bosses. By selling all your excess loot, you will quickly accumulate a few thousand gold so stocking up on cheap potions should pose no problem.
The controls are quite easy to master. There is no click-to-move as in Diablo, instead the game provides a circle with a moveable skull on the bottom left, move the skull and you move the character. On the right you have the action button for attacking mobs, talking to allies or interacting with the environment such as opening doors or searching sarcophagi.
Thankfully there is a minimap but don’t expect any waypoints. If you have the memory of a fish or get lost easily, you can look forward to lots of walking back and forth. Two large bubbles show remaining health and vitality (needed to activate your various abilities). These resources need to be replenished manually. If you are slow on topping up your health, you will die.
Upon death, there is no automatic restart of the level, you are given two options; carry on from a previous save or return to the main menu. You are allowed to save as often as you like, even in combat (although I don’t recommend it) so losing progress should not be a problem.
Some brief tutorials are given at the start but not nearly enough to explain the various features available to you. The tutorials you do receive are very quick causing you to perhaps miss vital information.
Although there are more limitations than one might expect, gameplay is simple and entertaining.
If you enjoy hack and slash RPGs you will almost certainly enjoy Underworlds. If you’re not familiar with this style of game I suggest you try Underworlds Lite. It offers only the first nine or so quests, but is free and you’ll have the chance to see if it’s up your alley.