|Publisher: Soldak Entertainment Genre: Adventure & RPG|
|Min OS X: 10.4 CPU: G4 @ 1200 MHz RAM: 128 MB Hard Disk: 100 MB|
Kivi's Underworld (KU) is Soldak Entertainment's follow-up to their other RPG, Depths of Peril (DoP). It uses the same engine and has roughly the same combat mechanics, but it focuses on a single character at a time. The question is, does Kivi's Underworld have anything new to offer?
KU is a series of missions that require you to kill things or find things. In these missions, you can use any character you've unlocked from previous missions. Each of these characters have a different primary and secondary skill. The skills can go anywhere from a simple power strike to a bolt of lightning. This is almost exactly like Depths of Peril. The only major differences are that you're working alone, that you have a limited number of lives, and that you can't level up using an interesting skill tree. None of these are improvements.
There are a couple minor additions, though. In each level there are secret passages and powerups scattered around the map. The powerups tend to be a little overpowered, but they are something extra to play with while clicking on monsters over and over again. There's also a bestiary where you can look at all the monsters you've encountered before. It's mainly just a picture show, though. The monsters are pretty much interchangeable aside from health, damage, and whether or not it shoots a projectile.
In essence, Kivi's Underworld is DoP without the depth that the guild mechanics brought to play, without the detailed leveling system, and without the randomly generated quest bosses. Its limited scope and simplistic gameplay simply aren't enough to keep most players entertained for any significant length of time. Of course, if you like generic hack-and-slash RPGs, you'll probably find yourself enjoying it regardless.
On the plus side, the graphics have improved since the last release. The maps are quite a bit more interesting to look at and aren't the connected squares of DoP. The overall map design feels much more natural as a result. The graphical effects don't appear to have changed much, but they were fine to begin with.
The sound and music have remained about par, however. All the jarring sounds, like the poison cloud damage, have remained completely unchanged and the music remains atmospherically in the background. The voice acting is a little worse than the sound, but it's tolerable in short bursts. Thankfully, all of it can be turned off when it becomes too annoying.
Overall, Kivi's Underworld is an ok game at the price of $20. It isn't as good as Depths of Peril, but it's entertaining at times. Had it gone in the other direction and added features instead of removing them, KU had the potential to be an excellent new game. As it stands, it's an ok hack-and-slash RPG with nothing innovative about it. Most people won't play it for long, but fans of the genre will find a good chunk of enjoyment.
Pros• Easy to learn
• Dozens of characters
Cons• Characters are interchangeable
• Repetitive gameplay
• Low-quality sound and voice acting