5 days, 5 hours, 9 minutes… (On Hardcore mode) that is how long it took for me to die… it was not a painless ‘in your sleep’ death, it was a fist through the face, shattering my skull style death, from a creature that could only be described as the Incredible Hulk, on steroids.. 5 days, 5 hours, 9 minutes of life… and I enjoyed every moment of it…
Subterrain: Underground Base Apocalypse is an Early Access, Sci-Fi survival game from the South Korean developer Pixellore.
It is played from a top-down perspective, and controlled with a keyboard and mouse; currently there is limited control pad support.
In Subterrain, you play as Dr. Albert West, a scientist residing in the first permanent colony on Mars in 2050. As the story begins, you have been locked in a containment cell for just over a year- for murder. You recollect the events of the last few weeks, a guard throwing you your last meal, a tin of beans, before telling you of an imminent transfer. Minutes after being told this your door starts to slide open, a power failure leaves you stuck in a room with no obvious way out. From your cell, you can hear chaos outside… and then silence.
A week later you are still in your cell, your meagre tin of bins now empty. Now is the time to find out what has happened. Working your way out of your cell and to the train system you witness horrifying scenes, dismembered bodies, and strange mutated creatures litter the corridors.
Unlike most survival games, where you are given all the time in the world to gather resources, construct bases and weaponry and generally explore your surroundings, Subterrain slightly breaks the mold.
The longer you play, the more the “Minerva” virus mutates, making the mutants faster, stronger, and generally more of a pain in your backside. The variety of creatures in the game at the moment is on the relatively small side, spiders, giant spiders that shoot green snot at you, floating eyeballs, zombies, super zombies, super incredible hulk zombies, and spitting zombies, but the developers are constantly tweaking and adding bits and pieces, so this may improve at a later date.
At the heart of the game is Central Control, the only safe area (well… mostly safe) from here you have access to various rooms including:
The Research lab, where you can analyse and improve equipment and weaponry found in the world
The Engineering Lab, where you can find the 3D & Bio printers, with which you can create useful items (such as Co2 tanks, med kits, bandages, weaponry and armor’s)
The Mine, where you will find the mining equipment needed to gather ores from beneath Mar’s surface.
And the Biosphere, where you can grow food.
As well as the Mutants you will be fighting against the atmosphere, in many of the areas the temperature and oxygen generators are broken and will need to be repaired before you can safely (well.. relatively safely) explore.
Central Control also houses the power plant for the colony, this will degrade over time so again, time is not on your side as you try to escape the colony before the power goes out and you are overrun.
Outside of the labs you will need to divert power to the other areas you wish to explore, courtesy of the train system. As you work your way through Subterrain, you will find data pads with small details of what has happened on the colony. And occasional hints as to where you can find items of importance.
In this fight for survival you will also have to keep an eye on your hunger, thirst, sleep and even toilet needs – yes Dr. West quite happily tells you/thinks out loud to himself that he needs a “dump or a piss”. Food will need to be eaten, drinks will need to be drunk, bleeding will need bandaging, and broken bones will need setting.
As you get into fights you raise the risk of getting infected with the Minerva virus, at which point you will need to find pills to fight the infection, if the rate of infection gets too high you will start losing health and will eventually die.
The art style is lovely to look at, and the games audio manages to capture a feeling of isolation, your vision is obscured by the dark, with only a flashlight (or glow stick) to light your way, creatures loom out of the dark, bodies slowly exposed as you get closer. An eerie silence apart from the occasional groan from a mutant leaves a feeling of unease