Here’s a colourful satire like Pikuniku. Going Under is by indie team Aggro Crab in Seattle, US. It’s a dungeon crawler type romp, but throws in humorous asides about the nature of modern have-a-go startup culture.
It’s a lot of fun! And its witty digs at the colourful, try-to-hard nature of small businesses are more than welcome at a time when “ideate” is used far too often on homepages.
Going Under the Startup Craze
Going Under launched in late 2020 and is available on Steam, Switch, PS4, and Xbox One. Well worth your time, as it has a great fun premise!
In summary, it’s an intern violence simulator. You take control of young Jackie, who lives in the ultra-capitalist city called Neo-Cascadia.
She joins a startup called Fizzle, which sells fizzy drinks. She does so as an intern—as in, she’s about to be exploited with no pay.
On Jackie’s first morning her manager, Marv, tells her a monster is on the loose in the office. She must kill it, which she does. However, she’s then ordered to wipe out all the monsters in Fizzle’s basement (otherwise they’ll replace her with a new intern).
And so Jackie heads into the basement to smash those bloody monsters to bits! Good fun, let’s have a look at it in action.
Going Under is classed as a roguelike dungeon crawler, it just stands out as it looks vastly different to classic titles such as Enter the Gungeon.
The point of the genre is to have a go, die whilst trying, then start over with slightly improved skills and new items. That way, you can get further second/third/fourth time out.
Going Under shakes this up a bit with its office-based setting. You can use items to smash monsters like:
- Sweeping brushes
- Giant pencils
It’s all a lot of fun, but it’s no walk in the park. You need to get good! And fast. It’s a tricky game at times (mainly with the combat strategies you need to use), but there are a lot of rewards there when you succeed.
Mainly in the form of Metroidvania type powerups, yo.
But the real draw for us is the game’s sense of humour and remorseless, subtle piss-taking of the many, many, many startups out there.
Quite a few desperately try to adopt a “fun” approach to work and copy each other in derivative fashion to seem like a “cool” company. They’ll always have policies like free beers on a Friday and a ubiquitous office ping-pong table.
All of which masks how startup employees do vast amounts of work far in excess of real duties And always for a horrendous wage.
Going Under doesn’t hold much back mocking that exploitative culture.
The game’s world, Neo-Cascadia, is all brimming with falsities and bullshit from the word go. You sit watching the nauseating company intro video… but then you’re plunged on in and start massacring monsters.
World of Goo (2008) springs to mind here, with its colourful gameplay set alongside satirical machinations of big business capitalism and consumerism.
Alongside that shizzles, you’ve for a beautiful looking game, it plays super well, and there’s an upbeat soundtrack to go along with proceedings.
It’s a mix of eclectic fusion and chillout beats from a composer called Feasley (couldn’t find any other details about them!).
Going Under is an accessible title. Unlike many other roguelikes, beginners should have an easier time with it than, say, 2018’s Greek mythology romp Hades.
And that fun, sharp, and satirical storyline is enough to make for an interesting take on the genre. We like it, yo! Ideation session over.