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Review: Wilford - Deep Underground (early access)
Wilford's presentation is very strong right off the bat. The fact that it had an opening cinematic really caught my attention. I was also intrigued by its use of 3D for the mining segment on planets. This game would have worked perfectly fine in 2D, but I definitely appreciate the effort to bring it into the realm of 3D.
The core gameplay is good, but a bit buggy. Walking around and digging worked fine for me, but I found myself getting stuck inside enemies a few times. This required me to close the game and re-open it to fix the issue. It should be noted that this very rarely happened though. Another thing about the enemies as well, they don't act a lot like enemies. I was only attacked on 1 occasion by an enemy (and when it happened it felt more like a glitch) the rest of the time I just walked through patches of them with no consequence. In fact, until I was attacked, I had no idea the creatures I was encountering were supposed to be enemies. I even tried standing near them and next to them to try and get them to attack, but they never did. I also tried out the V92 update after initially playing V80, and I did notice an interesting change. Both the fuel system and timed level mechanics were removed. Not sure why these were removed, but I'm certainly not complaining since it makes moving from planet to planet and exploration easier. It does look like a small bug with the camera movement was introduced though. When you move, the camera shift a bit to match your movement, only once it is done shifting, it keeps jittering a bit like it's locked in the last bit of its movement.
The graphics look great, in both 2D and 3D. The pixel art is detailed and the 3D manages to keep the same charm. I'm glad that the 3D mining segment keeps the player and other entities as sprite planes instead of full 3D models since it feels like that would be too much of a departure from what you see before and after you go mining on a planet.
Upbeat synthesizer music and charming sound effects are present in every part of the game. They really help provide an 80s vibe.
The levels generating randomly help improve lastability by a lot, since the layout and differing location of the exit point helps present a new challenge every time. You can't just memorize the layout of a particular planet and it's exit location to get through it quicker, you've got to work through it every time. You are on a time limit though, so thereís only so much you can do before needing to restart the game (NOTE: When I replayed the game on build V92, this time limit system was gone).
It should be noted for the purposes of this review that this game is in early access, and that I played build V80 for this review (although I did have a quick look at build V92). I am confident that the bugs and issues I've mentioned in this review will be ironed out before release. The game's core gameplay loop, while it may become bland during extended play sessions, is good. The game is promising and I canít wait to see what will be added as development continues.
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