If like me and you’re not familiar with Below, it’s a survival rogue-like with mysterious and haunting themes. On first impressions, Below looks a little like Jotun when it comes to scale, but with the lighting and darker palettes of Ori and the Blond Forest.
Not much is declared about the game on the official site other than this is a game about survival and crafting. Because Below has been out since 2018, there are some reviews on Steam, but I’m reluctant to look and instead want to try out the game without being swayed by someone else’s experience.
There is one thing for certain: Below is a challenging game and having read a blog post by Capy, they have listened to feedback and introduced a new mode that is a little more user friendly to those wanting to experience the game but without as much challenge.
In this new version for the PS4 there is the addition of an Explore mode that encourages player exploration, making Below a little more accessible, yet still offering the same mystery of the Isle.
Here are some of the differences with the Explore mode compared to the Survive mode, as noted on the same blog post:
- EXPLORE changes to survival
- No Hunger or Thirst
- Can’t drink puddles or bottles
- Bottles still need to be filled with water for cooking soup
- Soups restore health
- Death’s door teleport to island
- Avoids the issue of jumping down without enough lamp juice to open the door
- EXPLORE World Entity changes
- Fire Pillars
- Chance to drop embers
- Fires don’t burn out until you die
- Invincible, can’t be broken with bombs
- No one-hit deaths
- No iron maiden
- EXPLORE Damage Changes
- All damage is bleed damage, giving the player time to stop the bleeding
- EXPLORE Checkpoints/Campfires
- Don’t clear after use
- Still only one active at a time
- Mode-specific Saves
- New Save slot for EXPLORE
- New SURVIVE mode on main menu (original mode)
- Existing progress saved as SURVIVE mode slot
For those wanting a challenge, there is the Survive mode where the difficulty is as intended. You’ll need sharp instincts and sustainable strategic plan to stay alive and won’t be a walk in the park. And other cliches.
Below is out on the PS4 from the 7th April and if you’re reading this as a Steam or Xbox One user and already own the game, you’ll be pleased to hear that a free update with be available too (note that the Xbox One version won’t be the same day).