It Lurks Below Review - A Cool Mashup of Genres
It Lurks Below is an indie action RPG survival game created by David Brevik. Combining a Starbound/Terraria based game with the likes of Diablo in a mashup that brings a new twist on an old idea. Having been compared to as a Doom like Starbbound, the game is more like a Diablo / Zelda cross Starbound. Which makes sense considering David Brevik worked on the Diablo series back when it was still being developed by Blizzard North. What I found surprising, however, was the inclusion of bosses that felt very familiar to The Legend of Zelda bosses, particularly from Link to the Past. Having said that, this isn’t a bad thing, as the bosses broke up monotony of the rest of the game.
This isn’t your old Terraria or Starbound. You’re tasked with diving as deep (go figure) as you can, while clearing each “zone” boss along the way. At the start of the game you create your character, and more importantly your class. Having traditional RPG classes to choose from (and Diablo I might add) such as the Necromancer, Warrior, and Paladin, really sets it apart from the familiar Starbound. Each of these classes play a unique role in the game, bringing different abilities via the ancient item system. Without a doubt, the Necromancer has been the most overpowered of the classes I’ve played so far, it’s just a powerhouse.
Straight away you feel like you’ve entered Starbound again, which isn’t saying a lot to be honest. Games that copy the same type of world and graphic design as Terraria all feel alike. I was skeptical at first, thinking this would just be another knock-off, but it slowly picked up pace and I realized the only semblance of Starbound the game had to offer was just the world design. The soundtrack brought immediate flashbacks to Minecraft, and I often thought I was hearing that exact soothing piano. Then survival hit, and I quickly snapped back to reality and understood just how different this game is. It Lurks Below was created as a survival RPG, where Hunger and Sleep play the pivotal role of the game. If you failed to manage these two stats, you quickly die. What’s more, after you die those stats don’t automatically go back to max, they start low and you must quickly scrounge up food to eat. Did I mention you can’t sleep while starving? It’s a pain, literally.
Foraging food in the overworld is extremely limited. You are forced to farm most of your food via a small farm plot. You gather seeds from the valuable crops you so desperately need to eat, bringing even more meta to an already steep mountain to climb, do you eat, or do you make seeds to ensure you have plenty to eat later? Thankfully, if you start off right away with farming you should have no issues staying alive and in top shape. Lag behind, however, and it’s an almost certain death flag.
Thankfully David created more modes than just Survival. You can choose from Creative, Survival, Hardcore Survival, Descent, and Hardcore Descent. Descent offers the same gameplay as Survival, without the survival aspect of hunger and sleep, allowing you the freedom of playing normally, just without the nuisance of eating. After trying both modes, they both have their charm, you just have a lot more to manage during Survival, which sometimes can be extremely annoying.
The way the game differentiates between classes is through the ancient item system. Each class has its own unique set of ancient items it can obtain through gameplay. These items are your class abilities. Take Necromancer as an example, you have an item called Undead Heart, this has 5 tanks you can upgrade to, all providing different abilities, such as Flight, which by the way is extremely useful. Not all these ancient items can be upgraded, the ones that can offer different abilities per rank, but come at a hefty price tag. For example, I was at rank 3 with Undead Heart, it would cost me 50,000 coins to upgrade to rank 4, so while it will be possible way down the line to fully upgrade every item, this limits you at the beginning to prevent you from being absolutely invulnerable, it’s a trade off really, do you upgrade 1 item, or spread it out among all of them?
While the items made the game unique, and extremely enjoyable, I have to say the best part of the game would have to be the bosses. I’m a diehard Zelda fan, I’ve been playing the series since it’s release on the original NES. Seeing bosses that are eerily similar to bosses from one of my favorite, if not my favorite Zelda game, a Link to the Past, was awesome! Two stood out the most to me, Belzor Bloodeye, and The Tentacle of It. Belzor Bloodeye reminds you of Vitreous, surrounding itself with a bunch of tiny eyeballs that have to be destroyed first before you can damage the boss. While the Tentacle of It reminds you of Moldore. Sure, they aren’t full replicas, but they’re close enough to question where they came from. I liked the throwback to the Zelda franchise, it was a pleasant surprise. That said, most of the bosses were relatively easy to beat. The only one I had any trouble with, truly, is the final boss. I also attribute that to being overpowered as a Necromancer.
final boss. This isn’t much time, honestly, and I expected more. But with a $19.99 price tag, I’d say there’s plenty more on offer than just super diving straight down to the final boss. While playing the Necromancer, I focused solely on going down as quickly as possible, finding each boss door, and obliterating it. I had to farm materials every floor, just to upgrade my armor, but in general it was just dig down and go, so your mileage may vary.
Overall, the game is fun. It mixes what everyone loves about Terraria and Starbound with other games such as Diablo and The Legend of Zelda. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I’d see this kind of mashup, all the while being enjoyable. David Brevik knocked it out of the park on this one, and I hope we see more from him soon! It Lurks Below is currently listed at $19.99 on steam, be sure to check it out!
Score: 7.5 / 10
- Fun Gameplay
- Boss fights
- Class system
- Survival System Can Be Annoying
- Too Easy
- Relatively Short Game
A code was provided for the purpose of review.