A look into the sur­vival me­chan­ics that will make this night­mare ad­ven­ture just that lit­tle bit harder.


Capy­bara Games may be look­ing for ways to present an ac­ces­si­ble rogue­like to the world with Be­low, but that doesn’t mean it won’t still be filled with con­troller hurtling in­stances of sav­agery. The game of­fers lit­tle in the way of di­rec­tion, hints, or tu­to­ri­als; it’s up to you to work out what you’re do­ing and the most ef­fi­cient way of do­ing it. You’ll need to learn fast too, be­cause it cer­tainly isn’t mess­ing around. Death will come fast and of­ten in Be­low. Usu­ally that’ll ar­rive cour­tesy of the traps hid­den in shadow, spiky death pits that’ll kill you in an in­stant, or via the swarm­ing monsters that are drawn to the power of the lantern. But of course, you’ll also have far more hu­man con­cerns to tend to as well – Be­low wouldn’t be a rogue­like if it didn’t fea­ture a hand­ful of pun­ish­ing sur­vival me­chan­ics. “The health sys­tem is, ba­si­cally, you have this heart, which is filled with blood. But teth­ered to that lit­tle heart is your hunger, your thirst, and tem­per­a­ture – you’re al­ways un­der the pres­sure of run­ning out of food, run­ning out of wa­ter, or freez­ing to death. They are the con­se­quences of walk­ing around in to­tal dark­ness,” Be­low’s lead de­signer Kris Piotrowski tells us. As we were quick to dis­cover, you’ll stum­ble upon re­sources dur­ing your time in the cav­erns that can be used to top up these vi­tal met­rics. You can drink wa­ter from streams and even store it in bot­tles; you can pick up food which can be later used at the bon­fires scat­tered be­tween each level of depth to craft soups (the game’s ver­sion of po­tions) or into edi­ble treats to carry around in your small back­pack for later. The idea, says Piotrowski, is that you’ll need to use the ear­lier lev­els to gather these mis­sion crit­i­cal items as the game only gets tougher the fur­ther down you ven­ture. “The top part of the world is the most re­source-heavy. As you get deeper and deeper into the world, the world be­comes darker; the world be­comes colder, and the re­sources be­come harder and harder to find. So those [sur­vival] as­pects come into play more and more so.” If wor­ry­ing about wa­ter, food and warmth weren’t enough, Be­low also hap­pens to tie some pretty gnarly sur­vival sys­tems into its com­bat too. “A lot of en­e­mies cause bleed­ing when they hit you. Some may cause a lit­tle bit, but some may cause crit­i­cal bleed, which means ba­si­cally you’re gonna die un­less you stop it. There’s a bunch of dif­fer­ent ways to deal with bleed­ing, you can craft ban­dages, you can cre­ate po­tions that can just boost your health, and you can get gear that can make you more de­fen­sive,” Piotrowski con­tin­ues. “You can also cau­ter­ize Rambo-style; quickly put your sword in some fire and then just cau­ter­ize the wound… those are just some of sur­vival el­e­ments that you have to deal with, out­side of just be­com­ing a good player – like be­com­ing good at com­bat, learn­ing your way around the world, and un­der­stand­ing how craft­ing works.”

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