Follow TV Tropes


Video Game / Below

Go To
BELOW is a real-time, top-down Roguelike, developed by Capybara Games (the people behind Superbrothers: Sword & Sworcery EP and Super Time Force) over five years, and released for Xbox One and PC on December 14th, 2018.

It begins with the unnamed player character sailing to a small island that's absolutely plain at first sight, but houses the entrance to a massive cave system below, which is what you are exploring. There's no words or other forms of story-telling, so you are left to take in its ominous mood. If your character dies on their way down (and they almost certainly will), a slightly different person (though with the exact same equipment) will sail to the island to try their own luck in those caves. Moreover, lighting campfires in the caves with one character will somehow allow the subsequent one to warp straight back to them.

No relation to either Lee Gaiteri's fantasy novel, or to the 2002 psychological horror film.


Tropes present in BELOW:

  • Arrows on Fire: One of the things you can craft. They'll also ignite wood barriers present on the levels.
  • Blackout Basement: Pretty much the entire dungeon is very dark, and so having torches (and later on, crystals to fuel your magic lantern) is essential, since the darkness and the fog can conceal both monsters and traps.
  • Blade on a Stick: You can fight with a spear instead of a sword.
  • Bloodless Carnage: The humanoid enemies produce a burst of blood when struck with a sword, but their bodies leave no blood behind.
  • Book Ends: The starting cutscene of a ship sailing to the island is repeated in the end, and it even caps with game handing the controls back to the player at its end. The only difference is that it happened right after the ending where the protagonist has essentially destroyed the entire planet after they have ascended to Lovecraftian God.
  • Advertisement:
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted. You begin with a limited number of arrows for your bow, and will need to craft more of them if you run out.
  • Cave Behind the Falls: You'll find some rooms hidden behind the waterfalls.
  • Dash Attack: You can do a two-handed charge attack.
  • Discovering Your Own Dead Body: You'll get to discover and loot the corpses of your past characters on subsequent runs. However, each new protagonist is apparently distinct from the previous ones, so that doesn't quite carry the same weight.
  • Downer Ending: Reaching the bottom of the cave system ends with the protagonist discovering a golden tablet. When activated, it summons tentacles that embrace and crush them. However, the blood squeezed from them falls onto the cosmic plane, and forms a giant red eye. The camera then zooms out to show that eye emerge from the island, while the rest of the planet sports cracks, and is then completely shattered. Apparently, your entire quest was either to awaken Cthulhu-like creature, or to merge with it. Either way, the rest of the planet is gone.
  • Dungeon Shop: One is present about midway through the cave system.
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: The ending has the godlike being at the bottom of the caves awakened after it either killed your character or merged with them. Afterwards, when it bursts out from the island, the collateral damage is severe enough to send cracks along the entire planet, and shatter it into thousands of pieces.
  • Fog of War: Much of the dungeon is covered in thick fog that doesn't get cleared until you go through it.
  • Healing Potion: Jugs of soup fulfil this function here.
  • Heroes Prefer Swords: Your character's starting melee equipment consists of a sword and shield.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: A jug of soup is enough to heal your character. However, it's not going to stop bleeding from certain attacks, which can only be staunched with the bandages.
  • Inexplicable Treasure Chests: Present, storing supplies like arrows.
  • Iron Maiden: One of the insta-kill traps.
  • Item Crafting: You can craft things like torches, health soups and extra arrows.
  • Lost Technology: The lower levels feature outright robots with laser weapons as bosses.
  • Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: Your character starts off with a shield to block attacks.
  • Off with His Head!: There's a trap that consists of a pole with a bunch of axes attached to it on the neck level. Stepping into its death radius (conveniently marked by dried blood) instantly slices off the head of either your character or a humanoid enemy who stumbles into it.
  • Playing with Fire: There are red-robed cultists in the lower levels, who will cast fire at you.
  • Practical Currency: The shards used to fuel your magic lantern and to upgrade campfires into the teleport points are also used as a currency by the lone merchant.
  • Randomly Drops: There are few guaranteed drops from the enemies. For instance, killing a fox might yield you meat and leather, meat or leather,
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The defining feature of most enemies.
  • Shield Bash: You get to do this with your shield.
  • Shockwave Stomp: The large black robot boss can produce an electric shockwave around him for a few seconds.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: These appear late in the game.
  • Sword Lines: These appear every time you swing your sword.
  • Spikes of Doom: Insta-kill spikes can and will pop up from the seemingly safe undergrowth, so beware!
  • Villain Protagonist: Succeeding in your quest to get to the lowest reaches either gets you killed to awaken a Lovecraftian god, or has you shed your physical form to become said God/merge with it. Either way, it ends with the entire planet shattered as the resultant being burst out from the island and into the cosmic void.
  • Violation of Common Sense: Torches seem to produce light alone, and not heat. This is because carrying lit torches makes no difference to how quickly you'll freeze to death on the ice floor caves: only the heat from the campfires will save you.
  • Weakened by the Light: The late-game enemies are very hard to defeat in a straight fight, but are made vulnerable by the light of your magic lantern.
  • Wizard Needs Food Badly: You need to regularly eat and drink. Down in the lower levels of the dungeon, you'll need to stay warm as well.