De­vel­oper Capy­bara Games / re­lease date 2018

XBox: The Official Magazine - - ID@XBOX SHOWCASE -

It’s hard to be­lieve, but Be­low was an­nounced be­fore Xbox One had even hit shelves. This game from Su­per Time Force de­vel­oper Capy­bara has been a long-time com­ing; five years in the mak­ing, sub­ject to in­tense scru­tiny from the com­mu­nity, and car­ry­ing the bag­gage of be­ing one of the very first ID@Xbox games to be re­vealed, could it ever pos­si­bly live up to the hype that it has cul­ti­vated over the years?

No, it can’t – but it can sur­pass it en­tirely. Be­low is an as­tound­ing achieve­ment, a tan­ta­lis­ing cock­tail of sump­tu­ous vis­ual de­sign, spine-tin­gling au­dio and in­cred­i­bly re­fined core game me­chan­ics and sys­tems. At its heart, Be­low is an ad­ven­ture game cast from a top-down per­spec­tive in which you, as a lone wan­derer, must seek to dis­cover what lies be­low.

The game is ef­fec­tively a rogue­like, which is to say that it’s in­cred­i­bly pun­ish­ing – think Spelunky, only 100 per cent more in­trigu­ing and mes­meris­ing. The fur­ther you ex­plore be­low the sur­face of this mys­te­ri­ous is­land, the more fraught with dan­ger the game be­comes; death ar­rives quickly and eas­ily, and fall­ing in com­bat will see your char­ac­ter wiped from ex­is­tence, a foot­note in his­tory. It’s at this point that a new wan­derer ap­pears on the is­land by boat, look­ing to pick up from where the pre­vi­ous ad­ven­turer left off – util­is­ing any opened short­cuts or tricks dis­cov­ered in a pre­vi­ous play ses­sion.

Be­low works be­cause it al­ways feels as if you are mak­ing some sense of pro­gres­sion, even as you are fail­ing. Ev­ery death is a new op­por­tu­nity to live; to eek a lit­tle closer to un­cov­er­ing the se­crets of the is­land is to truly suc­ceed in Be­low, a game that we are cer­tain will be a stand­out ex­pe­ri­ence for Xbox One play­ers in 2018.

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