Underland is a Steam game released on February 5th, 2021, by Bursted Games.

Coming in at $1.99, Underland is a puzzle platformer with 30 levels of varying difficulty, and surprising satisfaction. You go from simply walking to the end platform, to using a cannon to explode the earth above you and releasing boxes that float on the deadly acid so you can safely traverse it to reach the end platform. Sounds complicated, but it’s not. The puzzles are just challenging enough to require a few tries, but not so challenging that you’ll want to give up. That being said, there is only about an hour and a half to two hours worth of gameplay here, but it’s easily something you could go back to and play again.

The object of the game is for you to create safe passage for two astronauts that just returned from a failed space mission to find a new inhabitable planet. They return to Earth to find the surface uninhabitable, and all of civilization has moved underground. With your help, they can dig into the earth to find the underground city.

The gameplay itself is very simple. You click on the object you want to interact with, and then use the A,W,S,D, or arrow keys to move around. Occasionally you will have to click the right mouse button to explode an item or fire a cannon. These controls make it very playable on a laptop if you do not have access to a regular mouse and are using a trackpad instead.

The levels start simple with you making a few simple jumps to reach the end, and progressively get to the point where you will need to stop and think about your course of action. Even then, it’s probably going to take you a few tries to figure exactly when to explode that TNT car. The solution to each level is not always immediately apparent, and some levels are open ended enough that you will want to try multiple paths to reach the end.

There are a few flaws in the game, that aren’t exactly game breaking, but are something to note. There is no save functionality once you’ve beaten the game. So if there’s a level you want to revisit, do so before restarting the game. Another flaw, that also isn’t a super big deal, is that the end levels aren’t as challenging as some of the earlier ones. It’d be one thing if you had spent hour after hour trying to reach the end and are just looking to finish, but instead it introduces a new mechanic of having to time your jumps, rather than use your surrounding tools to make a path. New mechanics are never a bad thing, but it would have been nice to see them combined with previous ones. That being said, the flaws relate directly to how much playing time the game has, so if you want to experience more, just start over and try new solutions to earlier levels.

Underland is a great game with plenty of replay value. As silly as it is, having a plot for a puzzle game really makes you invested in actually finishing the game to make sure these two astronauts arrive at their safe haven. Especially to find out the plot twist at the end. 5/5