In the ever-evolving world of gaming, there's always room for innovation and surprise. Enter UNDERDOGS, a captivating mech combat experience that blends futuristic warfare with physics-based mechanics and a stylish presentation. This article takes you on a journey into the heart of UNDERDOGS, offering an in-depth exploration of its gameplay, mechanics, and what makes it a promising addition to the gaming landscape.
The Intriguing Premise
UNDERDOGS, developed by One Hamsa, caught the attention of gamers during June's Quest Gaming Showcase, and for good reason. Set in the gritty underground fighting pits of New Brakka in the 22nd century, this roguelike mech brawler thrusts players into the shoes of two brothers battling their way into the city's heart. The premise alone promises an engaging narrative backdrop for the adrenaline-pumping action that follows.
Customization and Mech Builds
One of the standout features of UNDERDOGS is its extensive customization options. The full game boasts over 100 equippable items for your formidable Gorilla Mech, ranging from chainsaws to wrecking balls. While the preview build didn't showcase the entire arsenal, it did offer a glimpse into the game's rich customization possibilities.
Players can choose from three pre-set mech builds, each catering to different playstyles. Whether you prefer the heavy-hitting tank, the quick and agile 'Ninja' with a shock damage grapple hook, or the 'smart but lethal' build with crowd control capabilities, UNDERDOGS has you covered. This diverse array of options adds depth and replayability to the game, allowing players to tailor their experience to their preferred combat style.
The Art of Mech Combat
What sets UNDERDOGS apart is its unique approach to mech combat. Beyond the standard point-and-shoot mechanics, the game introduces arm-based locomotion, adding an extra layer of immersion to the experience. While it may take some time to acclimate to this novel system, it quickly becomes clear that this mechanic adds a refreshing dimension to the gameplay.
In UNDERDOGS, you'll find that brute force alone won't suffice. The combat system relies on physics-based principles, meaning that faster punches with wider swings result in increased damage. This clever design choice encourages players to strategize and engage with enemies thoughtfully. From punting foes across the arena to grabbing and slamming them to the ground, every move feels impactful.
The Challenge of Survival
UNDERDOGS doesn't hold back when it comes to challenge. While it's not an exercise in brutal difficulty, the game rewards careful planning and punishes carelessness. Audio warnings provide valuable cues when you find yourself backed into a corner, but there's no escaping the consequences of blindly charging into a swarm of enemies.
Your mech features three distinct health bars: one for the cockpit and one for each arm. Watching these bars deplete rapidly in the heat of battle serves as a constant reminder of the stakes. Losing an arm significantly reduces your combat effectiveness, while damage to the cockpit's screens adds to the immersive environmental storytelling. Once the cockpit glass shatters, a single hit spells your demise. The game's difficulty strikes a balance that makes victory feel truly satisfying.
Visuals and Setting
Considering that UNDERDOGS is still in its early build stages, it's impressive how well the game performs visually. The cel-shaded art style is a feast for the eyes, offering a distinct and visually pleasing aesthetic. While the brief exposition provided in the preview build didn't offer a complete picture of the narrative, the inclusion of fitting soundtracks and comic book-style cutscenes promises an engaging storytelling experience.
One noteworthy aspect of UNDERDOGS is its urban sci-fi setting, a relatively uncommon backdrop in the world of mech-focused fiction. The developers have crafted New Brakka into a vibrant and immersive location that adds depth to the game's world.
Technical Aspects and Future Enhancements
It's important to note that the build of UNDERDOGS used for this preview isn't optimized for Meta's latest headset, the Quest 3. However, One Hamsa has assured that Quest 3 enhancements are on the horizon and will be available at launch. In terms of performance, both Quest versions are expected to run at 45/90 using Spacewarp, while the PC VR version aims for a smooth 90fps experience.
Conclusion: A Pleasant Surprise
UNDERDOGS marks a departure from One Hamsa's previous venture, Racket: Nx, yet this shift to a roguelike mech-brawler is showing promise. While the preview build provided only a glimpse of what's to come, it left a lasting impression. The satisfying combat, extensive customization, and challenging gameplay make UNDERDOGS a title to watch out for. As development progresses and more features are unveiled, it's clear that this game has the potential to carve a unique niche in the gaming landscape.
In summary, UNDERDOGS offers an exciting blend of mech combat, immersive mechanics, and a distinctive setting that sets it apart from the crowd. As we eagerly await its full release, the world of gaming may have a new underdog worth cheering for.