About This Game
Underhero is a 2D side-scroller RPG adventure game with timing-based combat. It tells an intriguing and mysterious story, full of silly characters brimming with personality, quirky dialogue, and lots of weird humor.
Inspired by Paper Mario games and RPGs in general, it tells the story of a world where the chosen hero has failed and an underling of the main villain takes his place as the new “hero”.
Join Elizabeth IV and a little Masked kid in a journey across the Chestnut Kingdom to once again, defeat the evil Mr. Stitches! Meet friends, foes and other weird characters in the mysterious world of Underhero.
…Wait, once again!?
- A sidescrolling RPG adventure full of beautiful pixel art and cartoony aesthetics.
- Turn-based combat with a twist: there are no turns! Use your reflexes to evade, and your timing to attack or parry! We call it timing-based combat.
- Level ups let you choose between three options! HP, attack and stamina! Choose wisely…
- Enemies consider you their ally, so talk to them in-battles!
- Critical hits occur when you hit an enemy with the beat of the music, not randomly! Groovy~
- You want to escape a tough battle? Bribe your enemies!
- A wonderful original soundtrack composed by Stijn van Wakeren.
- Explorable worlds sprinkled with many hidden secrets.
- Mini games!
- Puzzle elements.
- Some good old platforming.
- Fun and intense boss battles!
- A satire of RPG tropes.
- A story shrouded in mystery, with many twists and turns…
- OS: Windows 7
- Processor: Intel Core i3 / AMD Quad-Core Processor A6
- Memory: 4 GB RAM
- Graphics: 512MB VRAM, EVGA GeForce 210 DDR3, ASUS AMD HD 5450, Intel HD Graphics 2000
- DirectX: Version 11
- Storage: 2 GB available space
- Sound Card: DirectX Compatible
Tons of genres in this game
Excellent timing based combat
Extremely repetitive music
Before a player can get to combat, they usually must instead jump around in a platforming section. Of all of the genres present in this title, this is the weakest. The platforming controls don’t feel tight enough for this game to be a good platformer. More than once I found myself sliding around on the edges of platforms. This was frustrating as multiple times when I thought that I had performed a difficult jump, I was instead forced to repeat an entire section due to this odd sliding. The jump button also doesn’t feel like it directly relates to how high the player’s character jumps. It is these floaty controls that make platforming fine in some sections and terrible in others. Platforming isn’t the main focus of the game though, it is instead the excellent combat.
Combat uses a real-time style to create strategic and engaging combat. The player is able to attack any time they want. What they must focus on is that each attack cost a specific amount of stamina. Stamina slowly recharges throughout the battle, but the best way to regain stamina is to dodge. Every enemy has about three different attacks. These attacks are choreographed to the player effectively through graphics and sound. Once a player understands which attack will occur, they can then either jump or duck to dodge the attack. For example, if an enemy would hypothetically roll a rock at the player, then they would jump over it to dodge. Once the player dodges an ability, they get a stamina boost. This stamina can then be used to attack some more. It is important to not run out of stamina. If the player runs out of stamina completely then they are left useless and can’t move at all. If the player doesn’t want to dodge or an enemy shoots projectiles, then the shield that the player obtains can block attacks or reflect projectiles. The shield only has a certain amount of health and it will break if it takes too much damage. Combat can also become a rhythm game. The player is able to activate their ultimate technique and it slows down time. A drum beat then starts occurring and if the player follows the drum beat, then they are able deal extra damage. This changes up the gameplay and adds to the skill required to play the game effectively. This game requires an eclectic set of skills, the game does become easier when the player is able to upgrade their abilities.
Bribing & Talking
Before combat begins, the player has a chance to talk to the enemy. Every enemy has a unique bit of dialogue that is important to pay attention to. This dialogue can range anywhere to simple tips, to a little lore, to how the enemy is feeling. Combat isn’t the only way to resolve combat. If the player is low on health or just doesn’t want to fight at the moment, they can bribe their enemies. Bribing has the player spending gold to make the enemy go away. The player can have a decent amount of gold at all times, but not enough to dodge every fight. It is usually a good idea to fight because otherwise the player would miss level that are important as they make the player vastly more powerful.
Leveling & Upgrades
After gaining enough experience, the player levels up. The player is given a choice between three stats to increase: health, damage, and stamina. This allows players to be as brittle and powerful or tanky as they want to be. I personally chose to run a glass cannon build. I took only damage and stamina. I found this enjoyable as it put a large emphasis on dodging properly. The evil store is another place where helpful items and upgrades can be bought with gold. These include damage upgrades or items that repair the player’s shield hitpoints. Keeping a low amount of hitpoints may not be the best idea for everyone, as I found that the bosses were much more difficult when every hit took away almost a quarter of my hitpoints.
Bosses in this game are quite enjoyable. In the same vein as the rest of the game, a new genre was introduced in a boss fight. During the first boss fight, the game becomes an action platformer. The player has to jump to dodge and movement is quite free. This is in contrast to the rather closed combat sections. The player must then survive while dishing out their own damage. The game felt quite a bit like “Hollow Knight” in these moments. This constant change of genres is where a part of this game’s charm comes from.
If someone is a fan of metroidvanias and many surprises, then I have to recommend this game. This game feels like there is a lot of love poured into it and I would love to see this indie developer succeed.
The story is one of this game’s greatest strengths. It makes fun of multiple RPG tropes in an intelligent way. The entire game may be set up like a typical RPG, but the story makes it feel like a unique adventure. The many twists and turns throughout the game and the overwhelming sense of mystery helped to keep me on the edge of my seat. It really fits the fact that the player is an underling, someone who normally wouldn’t have much information on the inner workings of an evil organization.
The sound is one of the weakest aspects of this otherwise excellent game. The sound effects are decent, but they aren’t especially memorable. The sound queues in the game are quite helpful during combat. They help to announce the attack that will be occurring. This allows the player to react and either attack or defend against specific enemy attacks. My main issue with the game is the music. It is quite repetitive and sounds like it is constantly looping the same two or three seconds of music. This makes the game difficult to listen to outside of combat.
The graphics are beautiful. They art style is pixel art. This pixel art uses a vibrant color pallete of purples, greens, and light blues. The environments are diverse, and the character art is high quality. The cutscenes are well made and they aren’t stilted. RPGs will sometimes create cutscenes that use pre-existing animations which appear stilted and aren’t enjoyable. This plays into the fact that this game has some of the smoothest pixel art animations I have seen. As for the UI, it is quite minimalistic. It takes up very little screen space and instead allows the player focus on and enjoy the pixel art.
This product was reviewed with a key provided by the developer for free.
Today, I beat this game. I only had it for two days, and it was a whirlwind of emotions.
My review of this game is, for the most part, raving.
While the gameplay starts slightly slow, the platforming is slightly unpolished in spots, the minigames are very easy, and the levels often feature mazes, the game is designed well enough that, with the aid of maps, a journal, and plenty of landmarks, you shouldn’t get lost too often, if ever out in the fields (save for that darned jungle) and the platforming is easy enough that you should be fine. The minigames are cute little diversions instead of game-halting roadblocks, and the puzzles aren’t much of a challenge for anyone with a little experience in the matter. In these regards, the game is about on-par with the Paper Mario franchise, for the most part.
For very memorable things, the music and art design on the game is lovely. Characters are charmingly animated and boss fights feel grandiose (the first, third, and final bosses all profit from visuals, and the music helps a lot). Mr. Stitches in particular is likely going to make an appearance in my dreams at some point, what with his theme, design, build-up, dialogue, and boss fight all being pretty much unforgettable.
The game’s shining aspects, above all else, are its writing and combat.
The writing works both in the small character interactions and in the larger sense, regarding the plot. The various NPC’s are all memorable and the main protagonist, despite being pretty quiet, has a lot of personality to them. As a whole, the game is witty and humorous, but it ALSO does a stellar job of creating a good mystery and keeping the tension high! In this regard, I consider it to be similar to the Paper Mario franchise. This is a story on-par with Super Paper Mario, in my books, and that is an accomplishment.
The gameplay, particularly the combat, starts off rather basic and takes a moment to ease into. It starts very slow, that’s for sure, and it’s quite easy at the start, but like the Paper Mario franchise, it gets much better. The three weapons and multiple methods of evading damage, combined with the real-time fighting, managing your stamina, and paying attenton to your enemy’s location, all work well to create a very powerful combat system with a lot of depth to it. In this regard, I’d say that it is better than Paper Mario’s combat system, no matter the installment. The bosses in particular are unlike anything I’ve ever seen in a Paper Mario game, or even a Mario & Luigi title!
So, rave review, right? Nothing bad, right? It’s one of my favorite games ever, right?
Well… There’s one thing I’d like to bring up.
Burgerwithasideoffries left a negative review of this game back on September 29th, citing that they found it kind of mediocre, but a large part of their disappointment came from visiting the Discord server for this game and being treated poorly by the mods and devs (more detail in their review, but being told they’d be banned if they broke another rule when they were doing their best to be polite and then refusing to tell them what they did wrong when they asked about the nature of the offense). That part stinks, but what’s worse is that, upon leaving a negative review of the game (which was, despite me personally disagreeing on a few points here and there, a fairly solid review), they were banned from the Discord.
Like I said, I didn’t read the reviews, and this kind of information might have changed my opinion on it. I likely would have waited for a 50% discount, or even forgotten about it out of disgust. I’m personally glad that I played it, but that isn’t okay behavior.
If that turns you off of this game, then go ahead.
On its own merits, I recommend this game.
To wrap this up, since Paper Castle Games reads these reviews, I’d like to say to you guys: good job! You made a great game that I’d place on my shelf of faves. For your first game, you really did well!
…But hearing about your behavior put a bad taste in my mouth when I came to write a review, still holding back tears from the ending.
Yes, this is your first game and it’s very exciting and you want to protect it, but please do yourself a MASSIVE favor and don’t try to silence critics. In fact, I would flat-out say that a critic that comes to your Discord server and doesn’t just fling obscenities at the wall but instead wants to offer pointers is one of the people you should listen to more than anyone else. They’ll usually have some insights and suggestions that you’ll want to consider either patching in to help polish your work, or they might have something inspiring to put in your next game.
Either way, it is considered good form to be accepting of critics and not to respond to them with hostility. Best case scenario when you try to shut up critics is that you get roasted like Rob Schneider did at the hands of Roger Ebert and go down memetically, earning (not-so) bad publicity, some "ironic" sales, and getting enough of a spotlight to potentially turn your situation around and get a second chance with the masses. Worst case scenario is that people spit in your face and stop giving you their money, leaving you to starve in an alleyway or, even more dreadful, wind up working at Amazon.
You guys are talented, and I’d hate to see your company fail due to poor PR, so pull yourselves together, okay? You’ve got people rooting for you, and a bad review here or there isn’t going to break your sales unless you overreact.
I believe in you!
it’s good. it’s really, really good, and there was no moment where i wasn’t having fun, where i wasn’t enjoying the story that was unfolding before me
the combat is fun, the characters are likeable as hell, and the story left me reeling, in the best of ways, and i am absolutely in love
please. do yourself the favour, and buy this game. it’s worth the money
I really enjoyed how tight the movement was, I never felt like it was the game’s fault when I failed a jump. The combat was insanely fun, like a combination of Paper Mario in execution, and Mother 3’s timed hits. The combination of overworld and battle screen for boss battles was also very nice, it made the bosses more difficult and differentiated them from regular battles. It was refreshing to have so many options to deal with enemies in the game, all basic peons are avoidable so you are never forced to fight, but even if you hit an enemy on accident you can bribe them with coins, this not only lets you pass but gives you more dialogue as a reward. The only thing I didn’t enjoy about combat was the slingshot and flying enemies, the slingshot was a bit difficult to aim and the bigger pellets upgrades didn’t really seem to make much of a difference.
When talking about this game with friends, they compared it to Undertale (presumably due to the name). I found that fitting, since it had me comparing the two games during my playthrough. Undertale tends to patronize you for fighting enemies throughout the game, meanwhile Underhero respects your choice to fight. I felt a lot worse about attacking the monsters in Underhero compared to Undertale, I feel this is because in Undertale the monsters are usually 1-note and are focuses entirely on only one or two concepts excluding boss monsters (examples: Woshua = cleaning, Shyren = shy, singing), while the monsters in Underhero all have unique dialogue and goals. In Undertale you’re just kinda dropped into a hole and the first monster you see tries to kill you, so it’s just self defense. The monsters in that game (excluding a select few in places like towns) all try and kill you on sight, meanwhile the monsters in Underhero are your allies at first since you are a monster as well. It felt horrible to kill the monsters at first considering they didn’t really do anything, Ellie just told you that you needed to kill them.
I rate the game at a 9/10, it was really fantastic and I would recommend it to anyone who loves Paper Mario, or RPGs at all. I hope this game becomes more popular, it deserves it.
Also, Steam stats are messed up. I probably have closer to 60 hours on this, but a normal playthrough of this without all the bugs I had should take between 15-25 hours, and is totally replayable. DRM free too, if that’s important to you. Just copy the game out of your Steam common apps and run when/where ever you want.
The graphics are consistently wonderful and colorful, the character design is fresh and aesthetically pleasing, the music is fantastic with no exceptions, the gameplay is fun and engaging, the writing is phenomenal… That last part is what really sells the game, though. The game doesn’t shy away from a larger epic narrative, even as it sets itself up as a parody of classical RPG’s. And while none of its plot points are necessarily NEW, they did manage to catch me off guard with almost every major plot twist in a way that I found really satisfying. The character development was also amagingly subtle; it took me until nearly the end of the game to even realize how drastically our main characters had changed, right under my nose.
It’s also pretty short, echoing the length of the Paper Mario RPG’s rather than a traditional 100+ hour JRPG. This could go either way, but the whole game is packaged so tightly that I might have been disappointed had it gone on any longer lest it threaten to drag itself out.
My only complaints were minor things like framerate issues and bugs, all of which are to be expected from a game I bought literally days after release. That, and seemingly no way to return to the hub world on a given save after you defeat the final boss, but that’s a point of personal preference.
(Also, when are we getting a plushie of Masked Kid? I need 20 of them immediately)
(Disclaimer: I played an early build before release and helped with testing.)
This is one of the most fun indie games I have played and it’s hard to go into details without spoilering things (I won’t spoil anything, don’t worry).
The humor is great and the game doesn’t take itself seriously, there’s humor everywhere and it makes you want to talk to every NPC you find just to see what they say. The battle system is rather unique as well, it’s well thought and executed, boss fights are finely tuned and the difficulty curve never feels unfair, even when it throws its hardest things at you.
There’s lots of minigames of all kinds too and the soundtrack of the game is also lovely. It’s been a while since I last played a game that had so much heart and wore it proudly on its sleeve, it wants you to have fun and succeeds at it.
11/10 would be an underling again.
So, Underhero, this is a game that you wont get the grasp of until you´ve actually played it, I saw some beta videos and it looked fun, however now that I have it I´ve been playing non-stop; the music, the combat system, the strategies you can actually use when fighting the tougher enemies, every aspect of the game is magnificent and quite frankly, it´s been a while since the last time I enjoyed a single player game this much, then you have the character models, I don´t want to spoil the bosses or anything to anyone, however I can say that every boss that I´ve fought so far and every world I´ve went through have made me fall in love with the overall design of the game.
As I stated before it is hard to explain, not because of complexity, but because even if I do a good job wrapping every single aspect of the combat in a single explanation, you wont understand how satisfactory it really is to keep stumbling on purpose into avoidable enemies just because of that extra XP and the sheer fact that fighting in this game is really, really fun.
You have small array of weapons that are required depending on the situation, then every action (incluiding attacking, jumping, dodging, parrying or blocking) will consume stamina wich is a resource that you have to manage to optimize your damage output and minimize(or completely avoid) the incoming damage, and then, to put the cherry on top you have the super sweet and apreciated bonus of syncing your attacks to the rhythm of the music (wich again, its amazing); if you match the attack with beat of the ongoing music you will get a "groovy" bonus and deal extra damage per attack every time you sucessfully perform the matching (Although if you fail to do so there are no penalties, it is just a very nice bonus wich just adds to the fun)
Originally I meant to keep this review short and simple, however while writing it I kept remembering stuff that I love about the game and felt compelled to expand a bit, and then a bit more.
In conclusion, this is a must have, dive in the story and immersive atmosphere that the music and gameplay creates for you, you wont regret it, it is truly that fun.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
Disclaimer: i was one of the beta testers of the game.
This game its pure solid gold, The music is incredible, the characters are utterly charismatic ( i feel special love for the antagonist) and it will bring you countless hours of fun.
It’s a game that everyone will love.