The Underside: a highly playable action/adventure platformer

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The Underside is a free action adventure platform game. It offers a low-res retro-graphics look, an explorable world, and fast-paced story-driven gameplay interspersed with humorous and whimsical commentary.

I downloaded and started playing this and quickly realized that it is so much fun that I had to post it (it also has a certain dry sense or humor that also adds to the game experience). This game is similar to the classic free platformer “Cave Story” in its look and feel as well as basic concepts and gameplay.

This game by and large aims to be “plot driven”, which is why I have to mention the storyline, which goes something like this: in the beginning “the Universal King” made a flat world that was initially good but then became bad so he wasn’t happy with it, “flipped it over” and started another world which became known as the “overside” (conversely, the world below became known as the “underside”). This arrangement worked out fine for a while but then that world in turn became “bad” and the Universal King, apparently running out of ideas, decided to wipe out the whole thing.

Before doing so, however, he decided that if a single person proved to him that they can be good, he might forgo his destructive impulse. That person would be your character, destined to travel into the underworld and perform some good deed whose nature I am somewhat unclear on. Here are more notes on this game:

  • Game dynamics: you start off being able to run and jump but soon find weapons and other useful objects that add to your abilities (e.g. extend your maximum health points, give you a bouncier jump, etc). Other collectibles are various food items to replenish health and coins that remain after killing baddies that you can collect for points.
  • Graphics and sound: the game offers original “chunky” retro graphics and an original console-style soundtrack, both of which work really well to add to the game experience.
  • Characters and events: pressing “down” when meeting characters, signs, and other objects enables you to interact with these to get information or search for objects. Saving the game occurs in the same way, possible when you encounter “diary” type objects.
  • Controls: arrow keys, (z) to jump, (x) to shoot, (a/s) for previous/next weapons, and (i) for inventory. To exit the game you will have to use alt+F4. Press (alt+enter) for fullscreen and (F2) to restart the game.
  • The Almighty Paintbrush: is a full-fledged level editor that comes with the game. I have not experimented with this though.

The verdict: a highly entertaining platform action/adventure game that is very constructed. The game is still in development but in it’s current incarnation manages to deliver a very unified and cohesive game experience. The storyline could be better developed, IMHO, but is perfectly adequate as as. Overall a very promising game and overall definitely a winner!

A video of the game in action:

Version Tested: preview 1

Compatibility: WinAll.

Go to the game home page download the latest version (approx 6.7 megs).