Below - Action-Adventure Roguelike by Capybara

Every time something on this comes up it’s in the Roguelike thread, and I feel it deserves it’s own place in these hallowed halls. So here we are!

First announced like four or five hundred years ago, and then recently delayed indefinitely after missing a launch window late in the summer of 2016, we finally have seen it come back as the developers finally feel it’s ready for public consumption, and has a new release window of … sometime in 2018. Well, better late than never!

So what is this? Well, it’s an action adventure with roguelike elements, such as permadeath. It looks like it plays somewhat like a Zelda game, with each screen being a “room” of sorts and an isometric view, and you have a sword and a shield (at least at the start) and you wander the dark areas below (get it!?) the surface. No explanation nor story is so far forthcoming on why you would brave such shadowy demesne but there you are, hacking away at creatures with good use of timing, dodging, blocking, and slashing to avoid being killed.

There is some crafting happening, as you need to create food and drink to stay alive as well as tend to bleeding wounds should you fail to dodge or block or slash correctly, and there will be some random elements to the underground as when you die and play again, you will have to start over but you can find your previous corpse and retrieve the gear that poor fool left behind.

Here is a 25 minute gameplay video, presented without narration or explanation, and I found it very engrossing and intriguing. Enjoy!

Since Microsoft is no longer publishing it, does that mean a Steam release?

I am heartbroken because I have absolutely nothing positive to say. Looking at part of that video, I would never have guessed it was the brilliant Capybara behind this. I have the very bad feeling this should have been gutted years ago.

Interesting. I guess we had opposing reactions to that footage?

I’ve been looking forward to this one ever since @Charles mentioned (way back near Xbox One launch, I think) he was hired to create the game’s combat system because of his and the game creator’s mutual fondness for Dark Souls combat.

Games that are so dark that I need to try hard just to see what is happening are dumb.

You definitely need to watch that video in full screen, the white web page behind it really makes it twice as dark as it really is. Once I went full screen I had zero problems.

Wait, what happened? MS dumped them or they left? I took it off my radar because i thought it was going to be xbox only.

I still feel like Sword and Sworcery is one of the first of the retro hipster games that made it big, is a milestone game, and is kind of a work of art. I love that game as a thing that exists… maybe not my favorite game of all time, but one of the few games that can evoke an emotional response with me. And why it does is hard for me to explain.

Okay, I got confused by this:

It’s a movie about teenagers in a rowboat who have to fight a giant catfish. It seems the game is unrelated.


It doesn’t really say anywhere, but I’d guess that MS wanted it delivered in a time frame and they ended up delaying to polish it up and finish another title or two they’d already been working on.

In the end I think it has potential, but obviously I have no idea what they ended up with. Then again I really didn’t think by previews that I’d care at all about Sword and Sorcery, but I found it quite charming.

That’s what worries me. So many people RAVED about Sword and Sworcery. I didn’t get the appeal. At all.

Was this always a roguelike?

From what little they previously showed it doesn’t appear to be anything different, so I’d assume that it was always intended to be a mix of roguelike with a dash of Dark Souls.

And I was hoping it was about this:

Love that movie.

The thing about S&S is… very hard to describe. “Atmosphere” doesn’t describe it. It’s literally something like “color palette”, like tickling your brain of memories of childhood media aesthetics, of a certain earnestness hanging on its sleeve, of a hipster fascination with analog. Listening to Guthrie’s music and having the character walk through the forest brought … memories of being a teenager and of the outdoor smell of backyards at parties. Of being a kid and imaging being an adult. It’s the kind of subtle association you’re seeing more deliberately now with fonts and neon representing “The 90s”, - but it also depends on having those lost memories to find and tap into. You can’t be nostalgic for things you haven’t experienced.

Game name already taken.

They announced a Steam version years ago.

Good to know since all the videos and stuff just say Windows and nary a Steam icon in sight.

I could have easily missed it since it’s never been the kind of thing that I’d obsessively follow. Actually I’d probably rather have a lovely Switch port all things being equal.

Same here. I hope that gamma can be maxed out.

Oh man, I just watched that again. I can’t believe I instead thought about teenagers in a rowboat fighting a catfish, and I didn’t even have the name right. Of course, given your username, you would think of Below.


I missed this but a great little interview with some gameplay details from June.