Below Articles RSS Feed | Below RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network Below Review: Stare into the Abyss Thu, 20 Dec 2018 14:48:11 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

You can tell almost immediately that Below is a different kind of game than what you are used to. The intro is dark and deliberately slow, zooming in on your tiny ship as it sails across a massive, black ocean. Multiple times, I found myself wondering if I was supposed to take up the controls yet.

Nope. Not yet.

Everything about Below is designed to make you feel uncomfortable - in a good way - the sound design is dark and foreboding, your character is tiny on the screen, and everything is dark and obscured. It doesn’t all work, but developer Capybara swung for the fences with this one, and it will definitely be the game for that audience. Let’s dig a little deeper and see what makes Below tick.

It Stares Back Into You

Below is sort of the “Doom Metal” of video games. It’s daunting, unapologetic, and dark as all hell. In an interview with Newsweek, developer Kris Piotrowski even recommended his ideal way to sit down to play: “It's certainly a game I would recommend playing in the middle of the night between 12 and 4 a.m., when you're feeling at your worst. That's what the game is for. Alone, lights off, headphones on, hit a huge bong rip and start the game.”

That’s the mindset the developers encourage you to have when tackling Below.

Below is a top-down survival roguelike, apparently drawing inspiration from titles like The Legend of Zelda and Dark Souls. It deliberately keeps you in the dark about what is happening and what you can do, encouraging a level of experimentation and exploration. Sometimes, you will find new strategies, successes, and shortcuts through this experimentation.

Other times, it will start a downhill slide that gets you killed.

It doesn’t seem like it early on, but Below is going to kill you in some unfair ways. That’s the nature of the types of games that it emulates. Luckily, it does a pretty good job of feeling like something you can generally fix in a later run.

We Have to Go Deeper

Almost immediately, you will be able to pick up the mood and style that Below is shooting for. It looks and sounds great. Your character is dwarfed by the environment that surrounds them. Shadows loom and dance due to dancing firelight. An ominous soundtrack sits underneath everything. It’s a game that makes you feel like you’re all on your own against a massive enemy - without any hint that there is any such massive enemy.

I hate to continue comparing it to Dark Souls, but it does instill the same sense of both panic and accomplishment that From Software’s legendary series does. That last, desperate push when you’re out of resources, out of health, and out of light on a given floor. That moment when a seemingly unstoppable horde of enemies is perfectly dispatched. That absolute rush of relief when you find one of the checkpoint campfires for you to sit down at and take stock of things. Below makes you feel proud of your in game accomplishments, and encourages risks - even though sometimes those big risks will get you killed.

Designing a Better Mousetrap

Another side effect of Below choosing not to hold your hand comes will change your approaches to survival. Combat in Below is simplistic, but it works. You have a few different weapons you can choose from, as well as a dodge, shield, and a few traps at your disposal. You never know which method of combat will be most effective, but there are situations for them all. This means you need to learn all the tricks at your disposal in order to ensure your chances of survival.

There is also a crafting system in place, because of course there is. This is a 2018 game release, after all. It pretty much goes as you would expect, but this was one area of the game that I could have done without.

I appreciate the game encouraging you to try out combinations to see what they create, but I do wish there was an in game way to keep track of “this combination makes this item.” I don’t want to have to keep a journal on my desk to remember how to make bandages in a video game - or consult a wiki every time. In other news, check out our beginner’s guide to Below, which includes several crafting recipes!

Also, your inventory is too darn small. Knowing what you should carry with you and what you should leave in the Pocket - Below’s home base/storage shed - caused undue stress and a few more deaths than I would have liked.

Velvet Thorns

There’s a certain, intangible… something with Below that is tough to put into words. This is where, clearly, all the delays (of which there were a lot) were used effectively. There is a level of design at work here where it feels like nearly everything in the game serves some greater purpose. This is a gamer’s game - it is certainly not going to be for everyone.

For those who do want a hardcore challenge, Below is a great pick up. If you’re tired of tacked on tutorials or games that will beat the level for you if you fail too many times, Below is going to be right up your alley. It’s a strong realization of the developer’s intent, and it’s also a game that can entrance you and suck you in for hours on end. Ideally, the hours of midnight through 4 a.m. Headphones and bong not included.

[Note: The developer provided a copy of Below for the purpose of this review]

Below - Crafting Recipes and Quick Start Guide Wed, 19 Dec 2018 11:31:45 -0500 Jordan Baranowski

One of the key draws of a game like Below is how little it holds your hand. Right from the beginning, you are thrown into a huge, mysterious world where seemingly everything is out to kill you.

Sometimes, a little help is warranted.

Wandering around with no clue what you are supposed to be doing is fine for a bit, but it can get frustrating if you’re trying to move forward with no clue what to do. We don’t want to spoil things for you here, but we do want to help get your feet under you - or should we say… Below you? - to help you get started on your journey. Here are a couple tips for getting started in Below, and a few advanced mechanics we wish we had known about sooner.

Keep yourself healthy with food and water

Early on, it may not seem like keeping yourself healthy in Below is going to be a problem. When you start to hit deeper floors, however, you’ll notice that available resources start to dry up as you venture deeper, and you’ll often have to rely on your stocked goods to make it to the next checkpoint. There are three health meters you need to worry about - they appear in the top left corner of the screen when your they are running low or when you are at your inventory.

The icons should be fairly easy to logic out - hunger, thirst, and health. Both hunger and thirst decrease automatically, and can be replenished through items found in the dungeon.

You can find food, like turnips, growing in the ground. Even better, keep an eye out for small animals, like rats, moving through the grass. If you attack them, you can harvest some morsels that you can eat to sate your hunger. You can also spear fish in small pools by equipping your spear, holding the attack button, and releasing when a fish is nearby.

Speaking of small pools, you can replenish your thirst meter any time you find a pool by standing in it and hitting the use button. Some food also replenishes thirst, and you can fill empty bottles in your inventory for longer treks.

Fast travel and find your items after you die

As you start encountering longer dungeons and tougher enemies - not to mention that pesky spike trap - you’ll find that Below owes some of its design philosophy to games like Dark Souls. You’re going to die.

Normally, you’ll find yourself back where you started after you die, but you can actually set checkpoints for yourself so it’s easier to recover your supplies after you succumb to the dungeon’s dangers.

Whenever you hit a campfire site, you are given a few options. The left option - which will cost you a substantial chunk of the crystals you get for killing enemies - will transform the campfire into one with blue flames. The next time you die and wash up at start, you can approach the first campfire and instantly transport yourself to the blue-flamed location.

Your first stop after dying should be the spot where you fell - you’ve got to find your lantern and other items that dropped. If you pull up your map once you reach the floor where you died, you will see a visual indicator in the room you need to get to in order to retrieve everything you dropped. This should be your number one priority after dying.

Stock the Pocket

At first glance, the Pocket seems totally unneeded in Below. It’s a persistent storage space where you can stock up on items, minimizing your losses when you fall.

On later runs, as you figure out what you’re up against and runs last for much longer stretches with many fewer resources, your stockpile in the Pocket becomes an absolute necessity. Your inventory is a lot smaller than it seems, so make good use of the storage space the game gives you so you can find success later on.

Crafting Basics

Another element of Below that is based entirely on trial and error is crafting. The game doesn’t let you combine items that won’t make something new, but it also won’t tell you the recipes for crafting essential items - it leaves it up to you to discover (and remember) what makes what.

You can craft from your inventory screen, and it’s generally safer to do it at a campfire where you won’t have to worry about enemies sneaking up on your while you’re distracted.

Here is list of what we (and other members of the Below community) have discovered so far:

Simple items become more advanced when combining three of them together:
  • Ember + Ember + Ember = Phosphor
  • Shard + Shard + Shard = Spike
  • Stick + Stick + Stick = Bundle
  • String + String + String = Weave
Stay alive with these dungeon essentials:
  • Blood Moss + Sludge + String = Bandage
  • Blood Moss + Sludge + Leather = Bandage+
  • Blood Moss + Sludge + Weave = Salve Strap
  • Blood Moss + Spike + Shard = Caltrops
  • Bundle + Crystal + Weave = Crystal Rod
  • Stick + String + Ember = Torch
  • Stick + Weave + Phosphor = Torch+
Crush your enemies by building new weapons:
  • Bundle + Leather + Shard = 4X Arrow
  • Bundle + Leather + Phosphor = 4X Fire Arrow
  • Bundle + Spike + Shard = 4X Spike Arrow
  • Bundle + String + Phosphor = 4X Bomb Arrow
  • Skull + String + Phosphor = Bomb
  • Skull + Spike + Phosphor = Mine
  • Stick + Leather + Shard = Arrow
  • Stick + Leather + Ember = Fire Arrow
  • Stick + Spike + Shard = Spike Arrow
  • Stick + String + Phosphor = Bomb Arrow


That's it for our beginner's and crafting guide for Below. Keep an eye out for other Below content and coverage of other indie games here on GameSkinny.

Rogue-like Below Delayed Till... Whenever Fri, 19 Aug 2016 04:44:20 -0400 Brawler1993

Below, an Xbox One and PC rogue-like adventure game, had been planned for a summer release but developer Capybara Games has made the sad decision to delay the game; it still needs further development. Delays are not that uncommon in the world of videogames, but what may worry and agitate some people is that Capybara hasn't said how much longer they plan to delay it for.

"We told you BELOW would be out this summer. Our team worked hard to make that deadline a reality. But after a strong push, we've decided it isn't ready."

States the indie studio in a blog on their official website.

"We did a lot of soul searching. We knew we wanted to get it into your hands as soon as possible. We knew the game was there, and we're super proud of it, but we also knew it needed more time to make sure it lives up to our studio's standards, and the quality that you expect from our games. From the very beginning, BELOW has been our most ambitious undertaking, and we're just not quite done excavating its depths, or polishing all of its facets."

The blog further adds: 

"Making games is hard but rewarding work. Accepting, even after this long development, that the game needs more time is difficult, but it's important that we are honest with ourselves as creators, and with you, the players.

We're sorry we let you down with yet another delay. But in the end, we need to make certain that the hard work we've put into this game turns into something you'll love, and to us that unfortunately means keeping BELOW in the oven a while longer, until it truly is ready."

The team has decided that, rather than promise another release date and risk not being able to meet it, they will go completely dark until they are 100% ready to give the game a new launch date.

"Instead of giving you a new, loose release window, we will be going dark while we take the time that we need to complete BELOW without compromise. The next time you see a major BELOW update, that means our game has a firm release date, which we'll share."

Below will play from a top-down perspective and sees players explore a mysterious world whilst keeping their character alive. It has been described as punishingly difficult, containing "brutal but fair combat" and permanent death. It will coming to PC, and Xbox One when Capybara Games are happy with the game.

Capybara Games Announces Release of Below Thu, 17 Mar 2016 14:25:23 -0400 Kayle Simpson

So much happened at this year's Game Developer's Conference: awards were given, panels were attended, and lots of announcements were made   -- including an update on the much-anticipated release of Capybara Games' upcoming title, Below, which is officially coming out for Xbox One and PC this summer.

If you aren't familiar with Capybara, they're the studio that gave us indie hits such as Super Time Force and Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP. Below deviates from these pixel art productions, opting for a more illustrative look, but keeps with the dark atmosphere similar to Sword & Sworcery. Speaking of similarities with S&S...musician Jim Guthrie is once again at the helm for sound.

Below is a rogue-like with permadeath that encourages exploration and immersive play, and is like a more mysterious, secret-filled Legend of Zelda. I got to play the game at PAX East 2014, and even in a convention center surrounded by thousands of people, Below managed to create a sense of isolation. 

In addition to the announcement of the game's impending release, Capybara also shared a new trailer for Below, which you can watch below!

Is this the first time you're hearing about the game? Does it look like something you'd play? Let us know in the comments!

Top 8 Indie Games to be More Hyped for Than AAA Sun, 15 Feb 2015 14:48:59 -0500 Pierre Fouquet


Those were the 8 indie games I feel are more deserving of the hype that is placed on some AAA games, but:


What are the indie games you are most looking forward to?


Game: Below


Developer: Capybara Games


We don't actually know that much about Below, what we do know is that it's coming to Xbox One first, then Steam and maybe PS4 later. It's a top down, super zoomed out, exploration combat game. Where you make your way down caves -- or a cave. You die super quickly, but each time you die you get transported to a new character. If you then find your back to where you last died you will see the remains of your last adventures, and so their demise.


Also that soundtrack... just listen to it, isn't it amazing?


Below is expected some time in 2015.


Game: Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number


Developer: Dennaton Games


Do you want to quick answer or longer answer?

Quick Answer

It's the sequel to Hotline Miami, and has a level editor (see above).

Longer Answer

Hotline Miami is a game all about being a killer, it's a top-down twin-stick shooter, with some melee weapons. Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number is no exception so don your horse mask or owl mask, and shoot, punch, or baseball bat your way through to hype of this game! Also, the soundtrack makes you instantly feel high, so it's a great game to reap the relaxing benefits of Marijuana, without being legality issues (in most countries), and no health risks of smoking -- don't smoke kids! Just listen to the soundtracks of both Hotline Miami games instead.




Developer: The Brotherhood Games


STASIS is a 2D isometric, sci-fi horror adventure game. It follows the story of John Maracheck waking up on a, what's thought be, derelict spacecraft called the Groomlake. It's very old school, in the sense that you will need a pen and paper for some of the puzzles.


With a deeply horrifying, yet amazing, soundtrack, with an atmosphere which feels just as tense as Alien: Isolation, STASIS is a must buy for any old school adventure game fans and unknowing ones!


Read more about the program STASIS made in a year here.


Game: Heat Signature


Developer: Suspicious Developments (aka Tom Francis)


Heat Signature is a "stealth space game" in which you need to stay cool... literally, if you are too hot your ship will get detected. You need to sneak up on other ships, attach to their air locks, and then you can run around inside getting at all the subsystems. Each ship is randomly generated, both the shape and the interior layout.


I'm just super excited about this game because it just looks like so much fun, it's something new within both the space, and stealth genres. It's fresh, exciting and new!


Game: Interstellar Marines (IM)


Developer: Zero Point Software (ZPS)


IM is technically out already, well in Steam Early Access, but it's not finished just playable.


Read this interview with ZPS, and enjoy Landsharks!


So why care about IM? Because it's bringing back old school tactical shooters, with new tech and all the improvements that come with that. The game is far from finished, but even so it's mostly bug free, with a few exceptions, and well optimized. Optimization and performance will only improve with time as the team is moving over to Unity 5 (IM is built on the Unity Engine), which will not only allow for improvements to gameplay to be quicker, but the game will be even more stable, and the scope can be made larger.


There is also a massive new updated coming soon called Hell Week (code named Wargames, this is basically a mode where your job is to survive. Find resources, weapons, and fight, all to survive. More information on this can be found here.


"Maze Runner meets DayZ meet Hunger Games on steroids."


Kim Haar Jørgensen - Game Director


Game: Mighty No. 9


Developercomcept Inc.


Taking you back to the classic Japanese sidescrolling action Might No. 9 follows Beck, a young boy in a super suit, this allows him to take on bad guys and save everyone. His super suit has a rocket arm, which fires flaming bullets at enemies. But just remember one thing, this is being made by the creators of Mega Man, but it is NOT Mega Man, not even close. That justifies why this game is a must buy, for me at least.




Developer: Playdead


From the makers of Limbo, Playdead, comes INSIDE... marketing spiel is over!


By the looks of it, INSIDE plays the same as Limbo: it's a sidescroller, and you are a defenseless young boy in a super-dangerous world. Then you have to work out puzzles to avoid dying and progress. It's the atmosphere that sold Limbo, and INSIDE appears to be no exception. Just from the trailer, you have an enormous sense of tension and fear, but also a small glimmer of hope to keep you scrambling forward!


Look for INSIDE on Xbox One in early 2015, and Steam later.


The following is a list of the top 8 indie games which will knock the socks off any future AAA title. Forget Witcher 3: The Wild Hunt, forget Star Wars: Battlefront, even forget Uncharted 4 - these indie games will do what the large budgets of AAA do, but cheaper... much cheaper.


Sit back and enjoy!


Notable mentions:

  • Whatever Supergiant Games makes next
  • \n
  • Whatever comes out of Ubisoft indie-style program
  • \n
  • The next game from That Game Company
  • \n
  • No Man's Sky (because everyone is super hyped for that already)
  • \n
  • Submerged
  • \n
The Most Anticipated Games of 2015 for XBOX One & PS4 Sun, 22 Feb 2015 04:20:31 -0500 fuodshfdshfdsjfk

Wondering what games are your best bet for console gaming this year?

And don't want to watch an hour-long, monotone top 50? 

Then today is your lucky day.

This 4-minute video covers all 50 of the most anticipated games for consoles coming out this year, with a little flashy something extra. 

All footage is provided by IGN.

Music playing within this video is a remix made by me uniquely for this video including elements from:

  • Ellie Goulding - "High For This"
  • Ellie Goulding - "High For This" (Ianborg Bootleg)
  • Ellie Goulding - "High For This Omega Dubstep Bootleg" (Gaming muziek)

All rights reserved for original copyright holder.

Video put together by me.

More content by me can be found here.

PAX East 2014: Capy Games' Below Fri, 11 Apr 2014 18:56:44 -0400 Amanda Wallace

Below by Capy Games has, hands down, one of the most visually arresting games on display this PAX. With a visual style just on this side of tilt-shift photography, a unique perspective and a lovely soundtrack by Jim Guthrie Below is an aesthetically pleasing addition to the pantheon of fantastic games put out by Capy thus far. 

After the initial launch trailer, I was bummed to discover that the game was solely for Xbox One, a system I do not own. But yesterday Capy announced the game would come out on Steam as well. As one Capy programmer put it, "PC people relax, you get to play too." The engaging visual style and use of light emphasize the smallness of the player. 

The game focuses on three core tenants: Explore, Survive, and Discover.  Booth employees wouldn't go much further into descriptions of game mechanics or themes beyond those three points. You're given a limited inventory, and start the game carrying a sword and shield. It was described to me as combat heavy, though most of my interactions were quiet and exploratory. 

Jim Guthrie has contributed an ambient and calming soundtrack, described as similar to Sword and Sworcery but with more sorcery. Overall, the game is beautiful and quiet, a welcome and aesthetically pleasing addition to indie gaming. 

PS4 Over Xbox: Why I Bought Playstation Thu, 21 Nov 2013 16:55:47 -0500 Amanda Wallace

This is the first console generation where my opinion matters. During the rise of previous generations, my parents still held the spending power -- especially for such large purchases. I could've begged for an Xbox 360 or a PS2 or anything else, but I knew in my house we were going Nintendo. 

But now it's my disposable income, so I put in my research.

Pretty much immediately, Playstation stood head and shoulders above Microsoft. 

This was a complicated decision. I've only recently gotten back into console gaming, and I've been using my boyfriends Xbox 360. I'm most familiar and comfortable with that platform. I love the Media Center, all the apps, and the game library is amazing. But there were a few things about the PS4 that really stood out.

First and foremost, and this really can't be ignored, is the price.

Playstation is offering a competitively similar console for $100 less than Microsoft. There is the argument that the Kinect is vital to the way the system functions and pretty fantastic, but either way, for me it's just an unnecessary accessory. And yes, if you buy the Playstation Eye, it does even out. But I'm not buying a Playstation Eye. 

Secondly is indie support.

From very early on, Playstation set itself apart from the Xbox One by showing immediate support for independent developers. In the current gen, and this is a matter of opinion, the indie library on PSN is better than Xbox Live. With frankly unimpressive launch line-ups from both consoles, it became in my mind, a battle of the indies. But while Xbox talked a good late game about including indies, Xbox One is comparatively empty of solid indie titles. And there was only one independent that was Microsoft exclusive that I am bummed about missing -- Below by Capy Games

All I saw when I looked at Microsoft's line-up was a group of rehashed AAA titles that I was never going to play. I wasn't going to play another zombie game (Dead Rising 3) and Ryse looked plagued with quick time events and then deeply boiled in the hyper-masculine power fantasies that seem to dominate the industry.

Xbox One made a really excellent case for creating an at home media center in one box, and if that's what I was looking for, I would've been sold. But I don't even have cable, and if I want a media center, I'll just use the 360. 

Someday I will probably own an "Xbone," but I can't see that happening for at least a year. 

What do you think? Are you going PS4 or Xbox One this generation? 

Horizon Press Conference Brings Attention to Indies Fri, 14 Jun 2013 14:19:44 -0400 Amanda Wallace

In the category of “news you might’ve missed” is the Horizon press conference. Held at the same time as day 3 of E3, this press conference is brought to viewers by Venus Patrol and Double Fine to attract attention to the up and coming indie scene.

While E3 is designed to hype up the latest hardware and next gen games, Horizon is designed to draw attention to the independent crowd. Some heavy hitters from the independent scene were there, with announcements from Polytron (the makers of Fez), Capy Games (developers of Sword and Sworcery) and Double Fine.

What makes Horizon interesting is the emphasis on independent projects and the innovative community therein. For someone used to watching the shiny E3 press conferences, Horizon’s lower production value with almost the appearance of an academic lecture gives off the hint of earnestness that indie fans love.

Games discussed at this year's Horizon conference were: 

    • Broken Age by Double Fine
    • Below by Capy
    • Tearaway by Media Molecule
    • Sportsfriends by Die Gute Fabrik
    • Mutazione by Die Gute Fabrik
    • Hohokum by Honeyslug
    • Kachina by Little Flag

Hopefully this will be the first of many Horizon conferences. Independent games are, in many ways, at the forefront of game innovation. 

Sword and Sworcery Creators Announce Xbox One Exclusive Tue, 11 Jun 2013 15:06:58 -0400 Amanda Wallace

Capybara Games, the dynamic developers behind Super Time Force and Sword and Sworcery, has announced this week that they will be developing a unique game for the Xbox One. 

For now, the title looks to be Xbox One exclusive and is a top-down adventure game that takes a creative approach to roguelike gameplay. The trailer features a little bit of gameplay, but really the two things that are on display are the score and the barren, uniquely beautiful landscape. It's hard to create an environment that is both empty and full of personality (think Shadow of the Colossus) but it looks like Capy Games had done just that. 

The small Toronoto developer has shown, in the past, to be capable of creating innovative gameplay and sound experiences that are virtually unrivaled. Most famously, there is the incredibly unique game Superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP,  a music-inspired adventure game that is best played on mobile devices. Jim Guthrie, who was responsible for the songs and sounds of Sword and Sworcery will be returning to Below. Hopefully they bring the innovation that made them so distinct to the Xbox One. 

If you're lucky enough to be at E3, the game will be playable at Microsoft's booth. Everyone else will have to wait til it makes its debut on the next-gen system.