Below is coming to PlayStation 4 on April 7, Capybara Games announced today. The hard-as-nails dungeon crawler will also be getting a new “Explore” mode, which changes some of the game’s elements to make it a less punishing experience.
Here are the changes that will come with the Explore Update, as stated in Capybara’s announcement:
- No Survival Mechanics: Hunger + Thirst never drain.
- Traps, Damage & Death: No instant kills + All damage depletes player Health slowly through bleeding, giving players a chance to recover.
- Permanent Campfire Checkpoints: Checkpoints can always be returned to after death, allowing players to continue progressing deeper into the underworld with greatly reduced backtracking.
The original version of the game will be available in the form of a “Survive Mode.”
Below is a dungeon-crawling roguelike wherein players must descend—and fight their way through—dozens of increasingly dangerous caverns. Dying means having to start from the cave’s entrance, and unless you had recently activated a fireplace checkpoint, there was no way of salvaging any progress made before succumbing to the game’s terrors.
While this extreme difficulty was intentional, Capybara stated in today’s announcement that it “was not for everyone.”
When we launched Below a year ago, feedback proved to us that many players were intrigued, and enamored of the game’s mysterious underworld, unique art style & dreamy atmosphere, and loved its haunting & hypnotizing soundtrack by Jim Guthrie, but these players’ desire to delve into Below required surmounting a difficulty that made the journey seem impossible. The Explore Update was…designed for everyone to enjoy.
When I reviewed Below back in 2018, I called it “a punishing dungeon crawler, mixing elements from roguelikes, Dark Souls, and survival games to create an often painful, yet oddly enticing action-adventure game.” While I felt its unforgiving checkpoint system was nearly pointless, I was compelled to keep coming back for more punishment. That said, I’ll be happy to revisit the game with a more relaxed mode available.