Indie developer, Glass Isle Entertainment presents their first entry onto steam. A challenging 3D runner game, Undercity throws gradually more complex courses at you and provides the player with a game that features minimal story, but solid gameplay that does its job well. A decent slice of entertainment for those that enjoy perfecting their reaction times while moving at speed.
Undercity has a very simple premise. You are speeding through tunnels and avoiding objects. This in itself seems quite basic, but as you progress and gain upgrade levels your abilities are added to. Different levels feature different upgrade requirements that allow you to make it through the level. The upgrade path is linear and features minimal deviation or choice, but the progression feels good and you are always able to acquire the upgrades you need to keep moving forward. Some of the tunnels can be very tricky and will potentially need to be redone a few times depending on individual player ability. The nature of Undercity will be frustrating for some but even for those who don’t usually play runner games, an hour of entertainment can still easily be gained from this game.
Initially, you have the ability to jump and move from side to side. Hitting obstacles in the tunnels takes down your shield. Once you’ve run out of shield you die and the level is over. As you gain upgrades you acquire the ability to duck, jump higher, boost, use a flashlight, destroy obstacles and increase your shield. These abilities become necessary as you progress through the levels and because of these elements the feel and pace of the gameplay feels great. There are different types of tunnels, so you don’t feel like you’re running the same levels over and over, but the upgrades absolutely add to the flow of the game and help take away potential repetitiveness.
The levels also feature bonus challenges that you can complete for additional achievements and upgrade points. Doing these definitely helps but it’s not required for the early game. This means you can progress a bit, hone your skills, then go back for those challenges if they felt too difficult to accomplish at the start. This prevents players who are less used to this style of game from becoming trapped and frustrated by the earlier levels.
Although the graphics for Undercity aren’t the greatest, they certainly aren’t bad. Muted colours give a post-apocalyptic feel which adds to the mystery of your journey through these strange tunnels. The difference in appearance between the levels is also well done, with there being three or four levels available in each section of the map, meaning that the content is divided up nicely between the different areas and you don’t really feel bored by the appearance of the levels.
The soundtrack featured in the game is quite simple but very effective. Repetitive but well constructed electronic beats are ideal for the pace and length of each level. No one track feels boring because the lengths of the levels don’t allow that to happen. The music allows you to feel more relaxed about the game as well and removes some of the potential stress that may arise from hitting obstacles.
Overall, Undercity is a good first entry for Glass Isle Entertainment. It carries out a simple concept and it carries it out well without being over-ambitious and potentially ending up with a product that misses the mark. An enjoyable title with some nice ideas that holds some surefire enjoyment for fans of this genre and is worth taking a look at if you just want some challenging but not especially time-consuming entertainment. On sale for a reasonable price, this is a nice little game that doesn’t disappoint.