Turn Out the Lights, Crank Up the Sound: Prepare to Die.
Originally unveiled alongside the Xbox One in 2013, Capybara’s mysterious dungeon crawler had long since passed from ‘eagerly awaited’ to ‘dropped off the radar’. And then, with very little fanfare, it suddenly fell into the release schedule, sent out to die at the end of the pre-Christmas rush.
After all this time, Below is no less mysterious than it was when we first laid eyes on it. This is an extraordinarily single-minded game, utterly untroubled by everyday conveniences such as tutorials, handholding or any kind of instructions whatsoever. It’s strange, confusing, awkward and frustrating, yet never less than intriguing, somehow even charming in a dark, malevolent sort of way.
An extended intro sets the scene, the camera slowly closing in on a tiny boat as it washes up on a deserted beach. The remains of older boats lie ruined in the shallows. An adventurer steps ashore, a campfire is lit, and that’s all. You are completely and utterly on your own.
Not that games really need much of a story or even a reason, beyond a player’s natural curiosity to push ever onwards, but Below literally gives you nothing. What is this place? How does this work? What am I supposed to do? Below isn’t telling. The occasional button-prompt when you can pick something up is pretty much the only help you’ll ever get, and we suspect the developers only grudgingly put those in there.
We will rock clues
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