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access_time January 14, 2020 at 9:00 PM in PC/Mac by Cole Nixon

Early Access Review | A Long Way Down

A Long Way Down is the first title from Seenapsis, evoking easy to learn, hard to master RPGS like Darkest Dungeon. A Long Way Down is a complex mash-up of game genres, offering a unique RPG experience and replay value. While in early access, A Long Way Down currently offers a rogue-like dungeon experience that lends itself to multiple runs. After eight hours spent in the game, I felt like I had only begun to explore its world.

At its core, A Long Way Down is an insightful mashup of turn based strategy, building, and card-based combat. The overworld here is ironically, the underworld. You play as a deceased member of a historical power and explore the afterlife fighting a malevolent dungeon master. Aesthetically, the game feels like a mad game of Dungeons & Dragons, and its art design backs that up. While sometimes relying too hard on genre tropes like evil skeletons and giant worms, the game does have charm.

While descending into A Long Way Down, the game begins with a brief tutorial stage and drops into a hub world. Serving as an in-game menu, the hub teaches you how you interact with the world through a standard turn based movement system. After starting, you learn the clever twist on the standard formula. Unlike a traditional randomizer, you and the dungeon master have a shared pool of tiles to edit the world. After mastering the tile system, you can bypass or access areas at your leisure. For example, chaining together potions and campfires can allow you to fully heal, if the cards are in your favor. Of course, no dungeon is complete without monsters, and when you cross paths with one, the games second half starts.

While I am not too familiar with many online card fighting games, A Long Way Down benefits from an easy to grasp system. There are elemental matchups, as well as status bonuses and debuffs. You have limited actions per turn that are extended by using items, and your hand is refreshed each turn. Rules wise, the combat feels similar to the Pokémon Trading Card Game, lending to it’s ease of use. As you go about the game world, you earn cards and items that make your combat stronger and vice versa. While you occasionally run into a frustratingly powerful enemy, the game as a whole could benefit from adding different rulesets to runs. Overall the variety of content available to the player at launch is slightly lacking, possibly due to being in early access.

A Long Way Down offers an effectively rewarding game play loop. However, it almost feels out of place on PC due to its simple controls and lax system requirements. Such a game, in my opinion feels more at home played on mobile. Its ease of play and ability to be picked up and played in short bursts would work well on a portable platform. On a technical level, the game runs great, but I did have a few issues with the AI making illogical moves. The game unfortunately suffers from a lack of variety, and desperately needed something new thrown in to increase playtime. Also, during longer runs, the music tracks in the game repeat incessantly and I ended up muting the game. Despite all this, A Long Way Down is still worth a passing look if the game play combination interests you.

Early Access Score: 7.5 out of 10

Early Access Scores don’t represent the final score of the game, as things are subject to change. We will provide an official final score once the game launches. This score simply stands for the current experience.

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