Hidden Gem: Underhero
Most stories only ever tell the tale of the hero. But what would happen if the hero was an ex-minion of the all-mightiest evil? That's the story this charming game allows us to experience. Welcome to my hidden gem article!
Before we move on, if you'd like to check out the review for the game, go ahead and do that! Meanwhile, I'll be rambling about why this is one of my favourite hidden gems.
Underhero is a title brought to us by a Hispanic developer team comprised of four friends that — in their own words — make homemade games for us. The story centres around a minion of the big bad guy (think Goombas for Bowser) that ends up taking the hero's place when he meets his demise.
With a mere 571 reviews on Steam (and a 92% positive rate) at the time of writing, it's safe to say that, unfortunately, the title seems to have gone under the radar for many people. Thankfully, my wife knows I am a huge fan of anything to do with spooky or evil (in games, of course), so when she saw that in Underhero we play a minion-turned-hero... well, it was a no-brainer.
Although the game exudes charm in many areas, one of my favourites was the humour, which is a constant throughout the whole experience. The dialogue is very clever and never failed to make me chuckle, but that isn't the only place you can find it, as it's hidden everywhere. From secret dialogue you only find if you go out of your way to the many winks at anyone who knows Spanish, Underhero is bound to make anyone that plays it crack at least one smile throughout the playthrough.
Another charming aspect of the game was the way it used its unique story to add clever new gameplay mechanics, such as speaking to the enemies before a battle or bribing them to avoid the fight altogether. Throughout all the worlds, you will find many different types of personalities within the enemies, and none of the dialogue repeats, as they all say something unique. Additionally, Underhero encourages you to explore the mechanic by hosting a game show every now and again where the host will ask you about information that only your minion buddies can divulge.
Although the game isn't a metroidvania, you're still encouraged to explore every inch of the area for treasures that may contain an upgrade, a key to open a secret area, or even just an item to help you along the way, such as a potion or an anvil. And building on that, there are also a few achievements for those that like to get 100% completion in games, and none of them are too hard to accomplish, either! I personally got them all, as I wanted to milk every minute I could.
The combat is also quite enjoyable, reminiscent of an RPG Mario style: you have some options to attack with (hammer, sword, or slingshot) and a block, but everything has to be done at the right timing for maximum efficiency. So, for example, if you perfect block, your shield doesn't take damage, your stamina regenerates quickly, and you stun the enemy; although this may sound taxing, the system is easy to get used to with some practice and very rewarding to get right.
Overall, the game was an absolute joy for my wife and me to experience, and it's very sad to me that it isn't as well-known as I'd like it to be. If you like humour, a different take on stories, and a charming cast of characters, then I couldn't recommend more to at least try out the demo. I promise you won't regret it!