Look, UnderMine might not be the most original game in the world, but it prospects the best bits from rogue-like classics and wraps it all up in a neat new way. The result is an addictive, challenging adventure we struggled to put down.
The main thing that makes this rogue-lite so compelling is its steady progression. Playing as a lowly peasant, you'll enter the mine with the aim of gathering as much gold as you can find. When you eventually perish, you lose some of your riches, initially only keeping half the goods. Still, the gold you do earn can be used to permanently upgrade various stats, as well as the strength of bombs, potency of potions, new abilities, and more. You'll also encounter many NPCs in need of rescue who will further aid you between runs. All this means you'll almost always go back to the mine that little bit stronger, which means exploring deeper, and so on.
Augmenting each run are relics, curses, and blessings. These powerful items have a big impact on your excursions, and the variety of effects is brilliantly imaginative. This being a randomly generated game, you'll need a little luck on your side — especially as rooms full of enemies can get super tough — but it does a great job of folding in new things to experiment with each time. Between persistent upgrades and the variety on offer, there's a strong "one more go" factor.
It isn't perfect; using the floaty jump as a dodge can sometimes land you in even more trouble, aiming your throwable pickaxe is imprecise, and some rooms just feel unfair. We also noticed some odd visual hitches, although these can be smoothed out by enabling vsync in the settings. All that said, if you enjoy a rogue-lite, particularly those with meaningful upgrades, UnderMine is well worth delving into.