The Unliving – Preview
Follow Genre: Rogue-lite
Developer: RocketBrush Studio
Publisher: Team17 Digital
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PlayStation 4
Tested on: PC

The Unliving – Preview

Good: Highly addictive gameplay, overall high quality
Bad: Too soon to find anything
User Score
8.0
(1 votes)
Click to vote
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)

Bringing the dead back to life is something that has always been something fascinating. How many of you like to play as a Necromancer class in a game if the opportunity arises? Being the commander of a horde of undead creatures sounds like fun and this gets represented perfectly in The Unliving. You are a Necromancer who has fallen from grace, needing to rebuild his empire and regain the things he lost during a rather serious conflict.

The game starts with a short introduction to the gameplay mechanics, what controls you’ll need to remember, and how to navigate around the map. After this introduction, it seems that this was all a test performed by an entity to prove your worth. What appears is that you completely lost everything when performing a ritual and the locals are not pleased with your antics. Now you must slowly rebuild everything by collecting certain essences from different shrines and work your way up to your ultimate goal, the ability to recollect your lost fragments. During the ritual, these fragments broke loose from your body and are the reason why your powers haven’t been regained yet. So you set up for a skirmish to collect these, but this won’t be as easy as initially thought.

See, The Unliving is a rogue-lite game where you will die a lot. As you are the Necromancer, this looks like nothing all too serious, but as you are gravely weakened from the ritual, you will have to rebuild everything from scratch. At the start, you’ll barely have any skills available and this serves as a severe handicap, but the more you play, the more skills you’ll unlock to retrieve in the world. Every run is randomized but it feels like certain sections are used more than once, so it is possible that you’ll encounter two identical paths in the same run. During your time you will come across shrines. These shrines will either have a perk for you, health, or certain materials needed for upgrades in the base. However, some will remain locked until you have reached a certain point.

While initially, it can feel like a grind, the fun and interesting gameplay actually make the game highly addictive. You’ll murder loads of warriors and let them rise from the dead to serve you. At the beginning of a run, there will be some graves allowing you to resurrect your first friends from this place and send them out to fight for you. Staying in the background can be essential as you won’t have that much health and some enemies can deal a lot of damage. During combat, you are able to resurrect the dead but only if that group of enemies is defeated. This is indicated by the red skull turning green so they are ready to serve you. Sadly your friends won’t last forever as they will start to rot and eventually decay. This is the moment to make sacrifices, as this will grant you materials for upgrades in this run, and they will die anyway.

After a while, you will amass a huge army of undead, with an average range between 40 and 70 units, but there were moments when we had more than 100 troops in our party. What makes the combat so interesting is that there is quite a range of different enemy types and each type can be recruited. Some enemies will be tough to fight, but will serve you as an equally strong ally. Even though the enemies will go after your troops, there will also be a lot of focused attacks. Dodging these attacks is essential if you want to make it to the end of the dungeon because health is limited.

Visually the experience is also highly enjoyable. The game utilizes a retro-styled pixilated art style and comes with some very smooth animations for the attacks and everything happening on the battlefield. After a while, it will be littered with all kinds of resources, and these can be used to cast the various spells that you can have. The three core materials are bones, blood, and essence. You cannot take any of these resources with you, and thus you’ll have to cast your spells on the spot. As your perks relate to what resources you’ll be using, you’ll be able to focus on different things. This means that you can mess around with various perks in different runs.

There is a lot to unlock and each run feels like a new experience. While the game does come with a learning curve, there is a little difficulty adjustment built in when you are really struggling with the game. In the menu, you can activate a few helping settings, which can range from extra starting money to increased damage dealt and reduced damage taken. This makes the game accessible for all kinds of players while the game stays hard but fair.

Conclusion

The Unliving is a title to either play now or to keep a close eye on. As it is a title of high quality with very addicting gameplay, it will be a game that you’ll sink hours into without noticing it. This rogue-lite feels more balanced than other games in its genre as it feels like you are really making progress after each run. The mechanics will take some time to learn, but the high-paced action and ability to form and command large hordes of undead followers give you a sense of power that is highly entertaining. We can easily recommend this game, even in its current Early Access stage.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 8.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
The Unliving – Preview, 8.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating
MC_JP


Never give up on a dream. It might be a long nightmare, but one day it will change into a beautiful reality - MC_JP 2014

2 Comments

  1. 3rd-strike.com | Bravery and Greed – Review
    January 11, 2023, 00:01

    […] and these developers all try to add some unique elements to the genre. This is why games such as The Unliving, Legends of Kingdom Rush, and Orbital Bullet all scored pretty well last year and have granted us […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
    Yes
    No
  2. […] few months ago we had a lot of fun leading an undead army in The Unliving and this time we return with more undead friends in Necroboy: Path to Evilship. In most games where […]

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    0 people found this helpful
    Was this review helpful?
    Yes
    No

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.