Sawbuck Gamer

Beneath

Miner Infractions

Beneath sounds promising but ends up giving players the shaft.

By Jason Reich • February 8, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

As if working deep underground and breathing coal dust all day wasn’t hard enough, your boss just ordered you to solve the Mystery Of The Sabotaged Mineshaft Elevator. One of your fellow miners is responsible, and you have a scant eight minutes to crack the case. This involves locating your chums across a dozen or so rooms, and evaluating their reactions to a variety of suspicious, potentially explosive items. I have no idea how one might trigger a cave-in using a piece of pizza, but then again, I’ve never spent time in a mine.

Your colleagues respond to your inquiries with a mixture of shifty accusations, defensive outbursts, and bizarre non-sequiturs. This is all supposedly helpful during a Clue-like endgame, in which you are asked to identify the guilty miner and his weapon of choice. I played through the game a handful of times, and not once did I guess correctly. There may be a logic to the miners’ testimony, but I wasn’t inspired to puzzle it out.

Beneath tries to combine the thoughtful analysis of a deductive reasoning game with the action of an old-school platformer. There’s a good idea in here, but unfortunately, Beneath’s exploration and interrogation-based design is frustrating, repetitive, and hard to make sense of. On the upside, at only eight minutes long, it’s a lot less painful to suffer through than L.A. Noire.

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  • http://www.avclub.com/users/merve,96925/ Merve

    But just like Cole Phelps, our little miner buddy deals with sloppy controls, makes wild accusations, and cheats on his wife.

  • ItsTheShadsy

    Yeah, this is too random to work. Some of the suspects seem to be compulsive liars even if they’re not responsible.

  • Ardney

    Eh, as far as pixelated mysteries go I prefer this one:
    http://www.videlectrix.com/wheresanegg.html
     

  • Andrew Perrine

    Hated, hated, hated it.  But apparently he made it in 48 hours, so… why are you posting this on your site?