Aground is an exploration title by Fancy Fish Games and Sno Box Studios. And it answers an important question: what if the first contact with space blows us back to the stone age? Is there a chance we can recover and return to the stars? Deliver humanity once again from terra firma to explore the stars.
The title is available on Steam for $14.99.
Trying to Reach for the Stars Again
Humanity has fallen from the sky. As one of the last ones alive, I had to help rebuild. It was the only way to ensure the future of the human race. While nature can be cruel, other people in Aground could pose a greater threat. Like any story about human survival, not every survivor can be trusted. When necessary, we do amazing things as a large group. But human nature makes us creatures of habit.
After establishing a small village, difficulties came. Despite having two people I could rely on, I ended up having to deal with a thief. While the thief was indeed stealing, she was simply trying to curb her hunger. Bringing her into the fold revealed quite a few things. My group wasn’t the only one still alive. And a few groups in Aground possessed far more tech than my group did. After finding out that one group might have a working ship, it was obvious we would have to explore many options.
Establishing contact with other villages revealed interesting things. Bandits became a thing on an alien planet. And people felt themselves above others in one village, showing humanity slipping back into its old ways.
Movement for Aground is relatively simple. It is the usual configuration for a 2D game. Once I got the hang of the controls, I was given a few tasks. So I set out to explore the environment. As I played, it quickly became clear that stamina played a huge part in the gameplay. It wasn’t something I was too fond of at first, and took a bit of time to get used to. If I carried too much weight, it would deteriorate quickly. While it drains with any basic task, too many resources will drain it exponentially quicker. It was so intensive to the point where my character even died of exhaustion. I couldn’t help laughing.
Each character in Aground provided me with a specific quest. And completing each gave me a new blueprint or item. What I appreciated most about this was how simple the recipes were. Once I had the materials, it was as simple as a few clicks to craft what I wanted. I was relieved to know there wasn’t a level requirement. That being said, there were plenty of weapons to choose from, so the lack of level requirement never made crafting feel too basic.
Any excess resources I collected had to be stored. So that required the storehouse, which a village member helped me with. To gather simple materials like coal, I’d have to head out on long expeditions from my home base. But things were later made easier when I could create a minecart and rail system. This was pretty awesome. And as great as it was, it wasn’t hard to go overboard with it.
The Sights and Sounds of Rebuilding in Aground
The gameplay in Aground was great. It was easy to get the hang of and very few moments were frustrating. But I was very partial to the retro graphics and music. Hearing the sounds gave feelings of equal nostalgia and euphoria remembering my earlier gaming days. This was mainly due to the music being MDI format. And others might have been real sounds with MIDI layered over them. Despite the simplistic nature of the sound, the weapons all felt realistic despite the game’s pixelated nature.
Graphically, the game was pixelated in style seeing a massive resurgence recently. Personally, I felt it enhanced the experience. There were no distracting details, and it wasn’t intensive on my hardware. Buildings were also very easy to distinguish from each other. Their recognizable shape made them easy to find and use to complete quests.
All around, Aground was a pleasant experience. I appreciated it was low-spec because it allowed for low-tier systems like mine to experience this wonderful adventure. There was no issue learning the controls. And once I knew how to build, the game became that much easier. Crafting was surprisingly intricate. And creating a series of mines was definitely worth the time. If you’re looking for something quick to play after work, this might not be the one for you. It may look like a short game at first glance. But once you’re deep in it, you see it is probably best suited to the most dedicated of RPG fans. From fighting dragons underground to blasting aliens in space, there is something for every RPG enthusiast to explore.