Casually Slashing: Kivi’s Underworld Demo

By John Walker on April 3rd, 2009 at 12:10 pm.

Bashing skellingtons: something non-gamers can only dream of.

We’ve been following streamlined hack-n-slash Kivi’s Underworld since it was first announced, through into beta, and then… Well, like the brain-free wrongminds we so often are, we forgot to tell you when it launched its demo. Fortunately we’re making up for all that now, as a revised demo has been released, and we’re posting about it right now.

There’s a megaton of stuff in the demo, with the first six chapters, and six unlockable characters, which is a good few hours of free play. From Soldak Entertainment, who made the lovely Depths of Peril, it describes itself as a “casual hack and slash”. Keepings things as simple as possible, there’s no inventory, no armour, no weapons, but instead just a great deal of hitting things and throwing magic. A micro-inventory lets you carry up to three power-ups, which offer temporary bonuses or boosts, and beyond spending skill points that’s as complicated as it gets. And it remains tremendous fun. You can buy the full game from Soldak.

My suggestion: play it in window mode, leave it running in the background, and then have bursts of play whenever the mood takes you. For instance, I started this short post an hour and a half ago.

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13 Comments »

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  1. James G says:

    No inventory? Doesn’t that destroy the major task-reward structure of your typical hack-and-slash? I suppose skill points can provide some of that feeling of progression, but a hack and slash without loot is a BLT without the B.

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    yhancik says:

    Kivi’s Underworld ? Does it take place in a New Zealander’s cellar ?

  3. Gladman says:

    There’s little fun in hacking and slashing when there’s no reward for it.

  4. Tei says:

    Casual Dungeon Crawling, is not that a oximoron?

  5. Deny says:

    Alas, I like my hack ‘n slash games full of items and inventories. Give me a reason why this game would still be addictive?

  6. danielcardigan says:

    “No inventory? Doesn’t that destroy the major task-reward structure of your typical hack-and-slash? I suppose skill points can provide some of that feeling of progression, but a hack and slash without loot is a BLT without the B.”

    Which is what Space Siege got so badly wrong, turning it from an RPG into a shooter, IMO.

  7. Stromko says:

    I’m curious how this could possibly be fun without the prospect of looting a nifty new weapon or some shiny armors. I’ll give the demo a shot..

  8. Strings says:

    Try it before you deny it.

  9. idespair says:

    The power-ups take the place of inventory management, to a certain extent, and there’s a certain joy to the constant slaughter with a small sideline in searching for the many secrets in each level (with trophies at the end of each level which convert into points for upgrading your stats).

  10. John Walker says:

    Yes, secrets. I completely forgot to mention them, despite fully intending to. I love searching for secrets in games, and this one does it really well.

  11. Stromko says:

    I’ve progressed to the fourth level, and I’ve enjoyed it so far. It’s much more accessible than Depths of Peril, really not intimidating at all. Challenging, you can definitely get into situations where you’re going to die horribly.

    It hues much closer to the Action side of the Action-RPG genre mix. In other words I think they’ve excised just about all the RPG out of the Diablo formula– but the unfolding storyline, progression of fighting tougher and tougher monsters and environments, the importance of power-ups and proper power usage, gives something for RPG fans to enjoy I think. I still found myself anticipating the opening of chests and bashing of crates, the power-ups and score-boosting treasures do evoke some of that giddy slot machine feeling.

  12. SanguineLobster says:

    Tei says:

    “Casual Dungeon Crawling, is not that a oximoron?”

    Not at all, you go into the dungeon and all the orcs are wearing sweater-vests, playing Parcheesi and drinking Snapple.

  13. Melf_Himself says:

    “Kivi’s Underworld ? Does it take place in a New Zealander’s cellar ?”

    Only if you’re German.

    (It’s “Kiwi”)