A Long Way Down – Review
Follow Genre: Indie, RPG, Strategy
Developer: Seenapsis Studio
Publisher: Goblinz Studio, Maple Whispering Limited, Mugen Creations
Tested on: PC

A Long Way Down – Review

Site Score
8.5
Good: Nice mix of Roguelite and deckbuilding
Bad: Could have been longer
User Score
9.0
(2 votes)
Click to vote
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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)

There is an expression: waking up dead. It’s a playful way of saying you can always pass away during your sleep. But if you believe in the afterlife, this gets a whole new meaning as you might go to sleep in your bed one night and all of a sudden you wake up sitting in heaven, sitting at a table ready to eat rice pudding with a golden spoon.

Story

Sometimes you wake up a bit disoriented but then the voice of a familiar person can snap you into reality. Something similar happens to the main protagonist Sam, in A Long Way Down. When he wakes up not knowing where he is, he gets contacted by his mentor Ma’bri.

Too bad for Sam it’s not Monday morning and he is just late for work. No, Sam is dead and his mentor Ma’bri is preparing his funeral rights. The only good news is that, since they can communicate, his soul has not yet passed on and he could still return. The reason why his soul could not pass on is rather vague and seems to imply he is too much in a grey moral zone. His mentor already called in the help of other friendly souls to collect Sam’s regular gear. Because he is not alone, there are others like him but for every good soul, there are at least a dozen with bad intentions. Sam is currently trapped in a dungeon-like dimension which is being controlled by an entity only known as the Evil Mastermind.

 

The story unfolds through turn-based dialogue between two characters. The characters are represented in a static 2D image. The expressions portrayed by these characters are very lively and greatly helps to understand the tone of the conversation.

Graphics

The game features a colorful cartoony style. You will spend time on a 3D world map and a 2D battle map. The transition between both is very smooth and the same style is kept. Different characters and enemies all have a distinct look and feel and they can at all times be distinguished both on the world map as in combat. Visually the game is very pleasing.

Sound

The sound remains somewhat in the background. On the world map, there is an ominous electronic sound with a hint of a western vibe. It is hard to explain what the western element is doing there but it works. We’ll ignore it, who knows what the afterlife sounds like. When in combat, the music kicks into higher upbeat gear. Not bad but also not over the top impressive full orchestra music. It stays modest in the background waiting for you to mindfully listen to it. The same goes for the sound effects, they add value but aren’t intrusive.

Gameplay

A Long Way Down is a deck-building Roguelite RPG. That might sound mighty complicated if you’re not familiar with the different keywords, so let’s split this up in the three relevant parts. We’ll start from the back and work our way through.

RPG or role-playing game is most likely the more mainstream of the keywords of this game’s genre. It comes down to this, you take control of one or more characters often in a 3rd person view and you develop both their skills, gear, and personality throughout the game. In A Long Way Down we take control of Sam who wakes up trapped in the afterlife, Luckily he still has contact with his mentor. He also still has access to all the tricks he knew when he was alive. Those tricks come in the form of cards. This is where the deck-building comes in as you can customize Sam’s skills by collecting and upgrading cards. These cards are your deck and you can only have fifteen active cards in your deck while you can still keep collecting more. You can’t use the cards you collect if they’re not in your active deck. Why do you need those skills? The place where Sam currently is, is not a very friendly one. You will need to fight your way towards the exit. Roguelite is not to be confused with its much bigger and meaner brother Roguelike. Compare it with the Clegane brother from Game of Thrones, While Gregor the Mountain will just crush your skull into oblivion, completely resetting all the progress you made, Sandor the Hound might actually be nice and let you get away with your life, experience, and some items.

The map of the place you’re in consists of a bunch of floating tiles. Not all tiles are connected, sometimes there are gaps you cannot cross. Something that might not have been clear is that the game is turn-based. Both you and the Evil Mastermind will take turns. In general, you start your turn by moving your character and/or placing an extra tile on the map. Placing the tiles is a game in itself, as you don’t have enough tiles to reach the end of the map when you start the map. You can collect more tiles on certain tiles. If you place a tile to bridge a gap be aware that enemies can now also cross this gap.

If you run into an enemy you are taken to the combat screen. On the left-hand side of the screen, you will find your character and potential allies you met along the way, while on the right you see one or more enemies. Combat is also turn-based and you can now pull out your deck. Combat is easy, you select one of the cards in your hand and you play it by dragging it on the enemies you want to use it on.

Some special tiles allow you to switch and upgrade gear or will heal you. These tiles are visually easy to identify.

Sometimes you will have to make choices, small or big. This will affect the growth of your character like it does in any RPG. This ties in nicely with the story as you are deemed morally in a grey zone. Will you join the light or dark side?

Conclusion

A Long Way Down is a decent game, it successfully combines different elements from RPGs and deckbuilding games. It also seamlessly mixes 2D and 3D elements in a nice visual style. The audio somewhat pales in comparison to the visuals but that’s not a deal-breaker. Thanks to its Roguelite features it is also more accessible to new players. If you happen to find yourself stuck inside the house for a while you might give this game a spin.

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Rating: 9.0/10 (2 votes cast)
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A Long Way Down - Review, 9.0 out of 10 based on 2 ratings
Rex
Rex


I am an Illustrator/Artist who studies Concept Art and Game Design in my free time. Designing things is in my blood and I am always very curious in making games. Motivated and dedicated to become better in every way I can. You only live once and I intend to fully enjoy it! As for gaming itself I do prefer to play the following games: FPS, RPG, Action Adventure Games, Fighting Games, Hack and Slash.

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