Retro Bard's Tale-style gaming returns in Underworld

matthew's picture

Jay Barnson again brings us a new independent game review of a title called "Swords and Sorcery Underworld". Nice to hear about a game that revitalizes a genre while accounting for modern gaming sensibilities.

it embraces the retro-hardcore western RPG style with a vengeance, the “bailout” function isn’t the only concession it makes to modern audiences. Like Bard’s Tale and the early Might & Magic games, the streets of the starting city are not safe for newbie adventurers. However, unlike the frustratingly challenging early game of Bard’s Tale, early encounters aren’t quite as likely to prove immediately lethal to your fledgling characters. A game mechanic I really like is that characters get a “second chance” when otherwise fatally wounded. Another hit while they are thus disabled will kill them fer real, but a quick healing spell can come in handy to save the day. This really helps make death a bit less random, but fights remain challenging and dangerous.

I also like that the game features a colorful automap. While there’s a part of me that fondly remembers my careful use of pencil and graph paper to play the old games, I can’t say that it was a part of the old-school experience I’d like to see return.

And – so far as I can tell – Underworld is Big. It’s not something you are going to conquer in a couple of days.