Jim Guthrie

Below preview: Playing in the dark
7 years ago

Below preview: Playing in the dark

Approximately 30 seconds after picking up a controller to try Capybara’s Below, I was ready to call it quits. Don’t get me wrong – Below was the absolute best thing I saw at PAX, and I doubt that anyone on the XBLA Fans PAX East team would disagree. But a game built on the twin foundations of exploration and discovery is a game that should be played, as Capy president and co-founder Nathan Vella eloquently put it, “on my couch at home with the lights off.”

Into the unknown

It’s not just that the deafening, stroboscopic show floor at PAX East isn’t the best venue at which to play Capy’s latest effort. Below is a journey that players should approach with as little prior knowledge as possible, and figuring out how to play is meant to be almost as much of an adventure as the game itself.

“We have no text. There are no tutorials. There are no waypoints or directors or very little UI of any type,” says Vella. “You explore the island, eventually find your way into the depths, but you’re also exploring: what are the controls? How nimble am I? Why am I so small? Why am I weak? That exploration really feeds every element of the game.”

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