Unpaid internships are the worst. Working for no pay is absolute hell, especially when it involves clearing dingy basements filled with grubby goblins. Unfortunately, in the satirical dungeon crawler Going Under, that’s just a standard day for an intern, but at least it beats making teas and coffees.
In Going Under you play as Jackie, a young woman who has found herself at the bottom of the corporate ladder at drinks company FizzleCo. Instead of getting into the corporate nitty-gritty of marketing like the internship application outlined, her boss has other plans in store and Jackie is told to clear out the company’s dingy basements.
At the cost of losing her internship, she begrudgingly agrees and begins delving into the cursed ruins of the failed tech start-ups that have sunken into the basement’s depths.
It’s a roguelike that revels in its satirical humour, making constant cracks at the ridiculous, bleak toxic culture of Silicon Valley start-ups. The first dungeon you’re up against is Joblin, a cheeky take on the job search website Monster.com. It’s a failed business filled with goblins carrying around nicked office supplies.
Each dungeon is procedurally generated and has the founders of these start-ups waiting at the end, who at Joblin is ‘The Caffeinated,’ a giant hulking goblin whose powerful attacks are fuelled by an intricate coffee system plugged straight into its body.
It turns out that Jackie is a pretty awesome fighter and has the handy ability to use any object as a deadly weapon. There’s your classic dungeon weapons like swords and spikey clubs, but the best weapons down here are office supplies. Giant pencils for poking, plastic knives for stabbing, canned coffee grenades, plant pots, computer keyboards, yoga balls, brooms, staplers—you can use the lot.
Items can break easily, so you’ll be dropping and picking up anything you can get your hands on. Jackie can wield up to three weapons at a time, and you have the ability to switch between them on the fly. If that broom isn’t as hard-hitting as you thought it would be, drop it like it’s hot, pick up a computer monitor, and lob it across the room instead. Combat is frantically scrappy, and finding what office supplies work as the best weapons is a lot of fun.
Race to the Bottom
As you make your way through the dungeon’s areas, there are phone apps you can find that give you unique abilities and special storage cupboards that have power-ups. There’s also a company café where you can spend your hard-earned cash on avocado toast and spiced lattes when all Jackie really wants is health insurance.
Going Under is full of this tongue in cheek corporate satire. Styxcoin, a dig at Bitcoin, is a dingy mine where skeletons are relentless mining. There are minecarts to ride, bats to bonk on the head, and the dungeon’s store only accepts Styxcoin so you’ll need to use the in-store cash converter. Haven’t you heard? The value of Styxcoin is going to skyrocket any day now!
Another dungeon is also home to a failed dating service called Winkydink, an app where you can only talk in emoji. It’s filled with squelching slimes that multiply when you hit them, and fiery demons who can ‘ghost you’ to avoid incoming attacks. This dungeon looks more like a raunchy, neon night club than a company, and the weapons down here include empty wine bottles, evil tridents, and demon girl body pillow.
Each dungeon is bursting with character, and the colourful Play-Doh art style is completely different from other gloomy roguelikes. There’s a satisfying burst of colour as you thump an enemy on the head, and an explosion of money when they die. The environments are playful, like using a whiteboard as a barricade or having postal drones drop packages with new abilities for you to pick up.
Going Under came out around the same time as two other noticeable roguelikes, Supergiant’s Hades and Mossmouth’s long-awaited sequel Spelunky 2, but Going Under manages to hold it’s own. It’s a roguelike that bursts with silly, chaotic energy.