Below is one of those games that, from the art style alone, captures your smallness, your insignificant-ness, in a gameworld that changes everytime you explore it, and will put you down like a dog—as any roguelike worth its salt will do. And running up to that cave entrance makes it seem as if the landscape itself is a colossus that you're crawling on; that you're a speck, a flea, a dust mote on the hunched back of some giant tortoise that's unaffected by your living or dying.
And then inside, in those dark caverns, you're surrounded by so much black, so much inky nothingness that that becomes the moment-to-moment monster you're battling when you're not battling monsters moment to moment. Robbed of your peripheral in-game vision, you may start to experience something not unlike Darkest Dungeon's mental afflictions.
Below's polygonal objects and lines run from the rural to the science-fictional, from countryside to 2001: A Space Odyssey in design. Torchlight and neon shove at each other to keep the darkness at bay. And the massive geometry of the places you explore make it all too apparent when the natural world gives way to a monstrously created one.
CapyGames released a new trailer for Below yesterday at the 18th Annual Independent Games Festival Awards. I first laid my eyes on this game back during E3 2013, and it's weighed on my mind ever since. Below feels like a spiritual successor to CapyGames's Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP—while still feeling cut from whole cloth. This one's a pretty big deal for the triple-A indie scene, and, for a gamer of my sensibilities, could be a system seller for the Xbox One.
Below is an Xbox One exclusive, coming Summer 2016.