Review: Underground

undergroundDeveloped by Kinelco and published by the famous Chillingo, comes Underground. We’ve all played some sort of shoot-em-up, space adventure type game at some point in our lives, right?  Well that’s just what Chillingo and Kinelco have brought us; except with a twist.  This 2D aircraft shooting game takes place in the depths of a subway station.  Not what you expected?  Down in the subway, you are basically a spray paint can… aircraft. You have to fire at the incoming enemies, who may I say, have some unique forms.  You’ll get points for each creature you kill, and upgrades that help you defeat them. Now let’s get into the review – hit up the jump to read more

Gameplay & Controls:


It starts with a man entering the subway, attempting to clear his head. These cut-scenes, unlike the gameplay,  are 3D and display beautiful graphics. Once the cut-scene ends, the rail takes off and you get a loading screen. Now, the action begins. When the level is first displayed, it shows a paint can, which instantly transforms into an aircraft. There are two different methods to controlling your ship, which can be changed via the options menu. The default setting is tilt control which utilizes the accelerometer. You use it by holding your iDevice parallel to the ground and tilting up and down, left and right. I find the tilting method rather shakey and hard to use in the games environment, which is why I prefer the touch method. You can touch anywhere on the screen (preferably on or behind the ship) and move your finger in the direction desired. underground2The gameplay is rather simple. You have three difficulties to choose from before starting: Easy, Hard, and Impossible. Your aircraft is always shooting; you have unlimited ammo. It shoots out globs of paint at the incoming enemies, who all have odd and distinct forms, ranging from a gas-mask to a helicopter cat. Some attackers go down in one shot, and others take a bit more of a beating before they die. You’ll gain points from enemies every time you take one down, indicated at the top of the screen. Sometimes an overwhelming amount of enemies approach making it hard to navigate, especially with giant, deadly paint graphics popping up randomly which you cannot destroy. This is an instance of where the tilt controls are a bad choice. underground3Every once in a while, enemies will drop power-ups when killed. These help upgrade your ship from shooting  in two directions, to providing a temporary shield. These do help along the way, as enemies can come from behind unexpectedly. Unfortunately for this game, there are only 12 levels in all, providing short gameplay. The touch controls are somewhat obscuring at times, and can cause rearing enemies to kill you. I’m expecting some future updates to hopefully add more levels, although I can’t say much about how to fix the controls.

Presentation & Graphics:

The graphics in this game are hard to knock. They are nearly flawless. The cut-scenes provide beautiful, stunning 3D graphics. underground4The gameplay graphics are also lovely. When you kill an enemy, a cool paint splatter effect is left where the enemy once was. You’ll even like when you die, due to the amazing starburst effect engulfing your aircraft. And not to mention, throughout the game you’ll be seeing expertly designed graffiti tags. That may be due to the fact that they were expertly done. An eminent street artist titled “Mr. Frames” created the graffiti designs for this game. Mr. Frames has had prior engagements with the likes of MTV, BBC, and the Royal Academy of Arts, and now, Underground. I don’t think I can say even one bad thing about these graphics. They are bold, silly, fun, brash, and whatever else is good in the world. Big ups to Mr. Frames.


The audio in this game vaguely fits it’s style. It’s got a rich hip-hop beat playing on the menu screens, with each button tap triggering the sound of someone scratching a record. In the background you can hear the generic sounds of a subway station, with people yelling, feet pattering, doors opening, subways taking off, and all that jazz. These sound effects are slightly mediocre, and don’t make you feel like you’re actually there. The subway sounds also repeat every 5 seconds or so. During the gameplay, you get an actual hip-hop song playing, with people rapping and singing. Each time you shoot an enemy you get a sound similar to a zap, and when one is killed, you guessed it, a record scratching. You also have the sound of the subway riding along the track in the background. The sound quality of the subway effects could be improved upon a bit, but it’s nothing big.

Replay Value:

This game is pretty fun, and I can see myself playing it in the future, but maybe not that far into the future. With only 12 levels, the game can and will get repetitive, but the graphics and sound will most likely keep you going. I can also see this game getting major updates in the future, adding levels, power-ups, and maybe some other goodies.

Final Thoughts:

Underground has it’s ups and it has it’s downs like most apps. The controls are shoddy, and the gameplay has some weak points, but overall, I like this game, and I would recommend it to most people.


Gameplay & Controls – [rating:3.5/5.0] - I found both of the controlling methods sort of hard to use in different ways, and the gameplay is good, but not the best it could’ve been.

Presentation & Graphics – [rating:5.0/5.0] - I was unable to find a flaw in either categories. They did a stupendous job with this one.

Audio – [rating:4.0/5.0] – Not many major problems, but the sound effects could’ve been worked on a bit more.

Replay Value – [rating:3.0/5.0] – I can’t really see myself playing this game much until some major updates are released.

Value for Money [$3.99] – [rating:3.5/5.0] – You will certainly not be disappointed with these graphics, but the gameplay lacks in some fields.


Price: $3.99
Developer: Kinelco
Publisher: Chillingo
Requirements: iPhone OS 2.0 or later

Post a response / What do you think?