Even the secrets have secrets when it comes to the relatively normal looking house you find yourself outside in What Lies Underground.
What Lies Underground, from Positronic Studios, starts with you clutching an envelope outside a decent-sized, detached house — the kind a distant cousin might live in away from the city. Perhaps unsurprisingly, considering the name, there’s a lot more to the house than its humble exterior might suggest. As a matter of fact, there’s a puzzle to even get into the building.
While at EGX late last year, I played through some of What Lies Underground. I was immediately split between being impressed and fearful of the humongous space in the inventory screen. As many fans of point-and-click adventure games will understand, there’s sometimes a joyful chaos to having lots of items to click through, especially in a game where the uses of those objects are well communicated.
What Lies Underground does communicate well, and generously distributes the clues to what you must do to solve puzzles. It backs up all that communication with an amazing quantity — a quantity which I’ve not found in any previous point and click game.
As an example, as soon as you have access to the house, you immediately have access to half a dozen rooms. Most of these have half a dozen interaction points and at least a couple of puzzles. This is great, because it feels as though you can leave the tougher puzzles for later, however it also means that you don’t immediately know which clue corresponds to which puzzle. This is nothing short of amazing, as it means that there is an almost constant need to take notes as you explore the many floors of the estate.
What’s the mystery beneath the house? Frankly, I don’t know. I played for about thirty minutes at EGX and chatted a lot with the developer — who told me about their bespoke engine and the patience required for the game’s structure. I didn’t even clear the first floor. Perhaps an event showfloor isn’t best for games of this genre, however it was enough for me to enjoy the game and recommend it for fans of point-and-click games with escape-room vibes. It is also extremely affordable on both iOS and Android mobile platforms.