It’s a big ask to make a game that works just as well on the most powerful gaming platform as it does on the humblest.
But that’s exactly what developer Needs Games has set out to do with Undecember. This ambitious new cross-platform mobile and PC RPG has been making waves ever since the first trailer arrived last year.
Undecember got its long-awaited global launch this month. We’ve taken a quick peek at the PC version to see whether the game lives up to all the hype.
We’ll start by addressing the principle reason for that hype: presentation.
Whether you’re playing on PC, Android, or iOS, Undecember looks absolutely stunning. In fact, it can comfortably go toe to toe with the biggest games in the genre, including the mighty Diablo Immortal.
In terms of controls, it’s clear that Needs Games has made compromises in order to create a cross-platform experience. Rather than moving around with keys, you click your cursor at a point on the screen to send your hero in that direction.
This allows the PC version to match the action of tapping on a touchscreen, ensuring a consistent experience across both platforms. But it also means the PC version occasionally asks you to press the screen.
Don’t do that.
The Key to a Good Offense
Attacking is bound to the right mouse button, while your skills are all bound to hotkeys – Q, W, E, and R by default. Wading into a swarm of spiders or charging at a hulking boss is always satisfying.
Naturally, there are lots of ways to hack and/or slash, and Undecember gives you options pretty much from the get go. You can equip a bow for ranged combat, a sword for melee attacks, and a variety of skill runes.
If you’ve ever played a hack-and-slash RPG before, you’ll be right at home in Undecember’s ransacked world.
After the prologue and a brief but eventful stint on the back of a magisterial creature called a Sand Walker, you’ll find yourself in the central town area of the game.
This is where you’ll return periodically to visit the Mystic, the Peddler, the Recruitment Board, the Mailbox, the Gear Shop, and the Blacksmith to claim rewards, upgrade your gear, accept missions, and so on.
When you’re not hanging out here you’ll visit different parts of the map, killing Dimps, dragons, and so on. You’ll also collect various forms of loot, and complete mission goals. Once you’re done you just hop into a return portal and hightail it back to your village.
Pets, Runes, and Classless Growth
You can also summon various pets to join you on these missions and hoover up loot on your behalf, which is a neat feature.
The default pet is a cute but fairly unimpressive creature called Toduba. It waddles along behind you, happily oblivious to the bloody combat taking place just ahead.
So far so action-RPG. Undecember does bring a couple of new ideas to the table, however. For a start, there’s the classless character growth system. This lets you cultivate your character by distributing points across characteristics like Strength, Dexterity, and Intelligence.
And there’s the rune system. Far more involved than most, the rune system in Undecember sees you placing six-sided Skill Runes in a large hex grid.
Each side is colored, and you can bring matching runes together to modify them. This introduces a welcome puzzle-like element to your rune-management.
Otherwise, you’re locked into a fairly typical free-to-play RPG cycle of gameplay and inventory-management.
Undecember also celebrates Halloween from October 26th until November 17th. This would be a great time to jump into the world of Undecember as there will be some valuable loot given out. More information can be found on the official Discord or Website.
Time will tell whether Undecember proves to be a balanced and satisfying experience over the long haul. But it leaves a pretty strong first impression, thanks to some spectacular presentation, solid hack-and-slash gameplay, and a couple of other innovations.