After a long time of waiting, Paint the Town Red finally got it’s Beneath update. I’ve enjoyed playing this game as a good relaxation game, so I was excited to hear that it was finally released.
Now that people have had time to play it, is it any good? Has it been worth the long wait? I believe that the answer is yes, and I’m going to tell you exactly why that is.
When you create a new game in Beneath, you’re greeted with a short scene of you in an elevator heading down to an underground bunker. At this point, the Beneath already feels like a completely different game. It reminds me of some of the player-created workshop levels, only much better.
The sequence may have been a very minor detail, but to me it felt like I was beginning the story mode of a cinematic game. It starts setting the mood for what’s to come, and I really liked that.
After the short cutscene is over, you step into the underground facility that serves as the hub world. You’re free to roam around the area and explore, to take a little time to observe all the little details. Scientists can be found doing various activities, like sitting in meetings or taking notes.
One interesting detail I noticed is that there’s a note on the wall of the training room that talks about the known Beneath-related incidents, and then lists each one of the Paint the Town Red single-player scenarios. This is very intriguing, as it may eventually explain the background of why people are mercilessly destroying each other in the scenarios.
The hub world makes the atmosphere even more mysterious, and I’m excited to learn more about the world.
One of the rooms you can find in the hub world has several glowing areas for the player to stand in. If you step into one of these areas, they will let you change your class. Here’s a breakdown of the current classes in the game:
- Brawler – This class uses the same abilities found in the scenarios
- Spectre – This class’s kick ability will let you dash forward, knocking enemies out of the way. One notable ability is that you can boost the durability of your weapon.
- Warlock – The typical mage class. Has lower health than the others but is able to shoot fireballs as it’s kick ability.
- Vanguard – The healer class. Its kick ability is a weapon boost, but I’m not exactly sure what it boosts.
- Corrupted – I haven’t even unlocked this class yet, but you get him from defeating the first Elder God. I’m not entirely sure what its abilities are yet, so you’ll have to find out when you get to it.
The classes aren’t super different, but the Warlock has the most dramatic health and speed decrease. This is because the fireball ability is so powerful that it would be too overpowered otherwise.
I tend to go between the Spectre class and the Warlock class, but I encourage you to try them all out and see which ones you like the best.
Once you head into the large door straight ahead from where you entered the facility, you’ll be greeted with the screams of the residents of Beneath. These creatures range from weak zombies to highly damaging monstrosities.
There are Crystal Crabs that fire lasers at you, floating skulls that lunch towards you, and many more enemy types. Each world has it’s own unique enemies, and all of the enemies have their own strengths and weaknesses.
I won’t spoil any of them for you, so you just gotta experiment with different weapon types for different enemies. Some of them gave me trouble until I realized they had a huge weakness right out in the open.
All enemies are extremely dangerous and do a lot of damage, so you practically have to never stop moving. If you don’t complete an area fast enough, one invincible enemy called the Pursuer will hunt you down.
There are 3 different currencies you need to collect: gold, energy, and Shards of a Fallen God. Gold stays with you during your current run, and allows you to buy temporary abilities, items, and weapons. You should save enough gold to buy health and health increases, so don’t waste all of it on weapons.
Energy is also lost when you die, but you can spend it at the shop to keep it forever. You need a certain amount of energy for each upgrade, but once you spend an energy point it permanently goes towards the upgrade. Try to spend it as soon as you can, because dying will take away all of your unspent points.
Shards of a Fallen God are obtained by killing Shard Lords, whose presence is made known by a message that says “A Great Power Reigns Here.” Once you’ve obtained a Shard, you can never lose it. These items are used to permanently upgrade your character back at the hub world and can be used to evolve your class to the next level
The types of upgrades you can get range from getting better starting weapons to leveling up a class and upgrading your equipment. A better compass will allow you to see where Shard Lords and Challenges are, so I highly recommend getting that upgrade first.
Permanent upgrades will make your runs a whole lot easier, so keep upgrading to progress further.
You’ll know a challenge is in your level by the message, “A Challenge Awaits.” If you see a castle-like door in the opening of a tunnel, it’s most likely a challenge room. Once you enter the room, the doors shut. You can’t leave unless you complete the challenge or die, so you better do everything in your power to survive.
The challenges can be things such as killing every enemy in the room without taking damage or surviving without running for a certain period of time. Once completed, the challenge chest will open and release a large amount of gold and energy, so the rewards are always worth it.
I have had a bug where I survived the time allotted and defeated every enemy, yet the doors never reopened, This is a game-breaking bug, so hopefully it’s fixed very soon.
The two types of bosses are Shard Lords and Elder Gods. Shard Lords have a chance to spawn at every level, but the Elder Gods are reached at a certain progression in the world. Defeating the Elder Gods is part of your main objective, and you unlock the 5th class upon beating the first one.
I won’t spoil what the gods are, so it’s up to you to go find them and defeat them. Bosses are essentially just harder versions of the enemies, so make sure you have good weapons and a full health bar.
As far as I know, there are 3 areas so far. Of course, there’s the first area of Beneath, but completing 3 levels of that one will bring you to the next area.
After completing the 3 levels, you’ll be brought to a room where you can recoup your health and get some free items. These items will get you ready for the next levels, and you’re gonna need all the help you can get.
Besides the game-breaking bug in the challenge room, I haven’t seen any more bugs. There are a few things I don’t like about Beneath though, and I’ll list them here.
- Floating Skulls have too much health – these guys are cool enemies, but I haven’t found any major weakness they have. They are so strong that they inevitably break at least one weapon when I try to beat them. Weapons are sometimes hard to get, and I’d rather not break them all on these low-level enemies.
- Crystal Crab beams are too strong – They aren’t hard to beat at all, but their beams try to predict where you are. This means that any sort of dodging is useless. Inevitably, I die the most by these stupid little crabs, and most of the time it’s because I get overrun by a bunch of weaker enemies. Devs, please make the beam do half the damage that it does, because in it’s current state it basically one-shots you.
- Minion beams obscure vision – A fairly weak enemy, but its beams make it so hard to see that I end up running into a powerful enemy and dying. In addition, the beams follow you so perfectly that even stopping for a second can be the difference between life and death. If these guys are in a “take no damage” challenge room, it’s basically a guaranteed failure. This enemy and the Crystal Crab almost take any sort of skill out of the game and leave it up to chance whether you’ll die or not
- Beneath should have a separate menu – As much as I love Beneath, I wish it had a separate menu with different music. I’d prefer that when I start up steam, it gives me the option to play either Paint the Town Red scenarios or Beneath. That would just add to the mysterious atmosphere of the world.
Overall I really love what the devs have created here. There are a few minor adjustments to be made, but other than that the game is pretty polished. I’m excited to see how Beneath ties into the scenarios. Devs, keep up the good work!