The Unliving Preview

When you’re bored, you can never go wrong with the rogue-lite genre. If you want a new one to play, there’s always an upcoming game lurking around the corner. The Unliving entered Early Access today, with a lot of necromancy and even more attacking, running, and dodging. With so many similar games on the market, you have to wonder – Is The Unliving worth it in Early Access?

Unlike a lot of games, The Unliving doesn’t have a set timeframe for when it’ll leave Early Access. Instead, its developers are treating this version as the base version of the game. When it’s done, it’s done, but for now you can enjoy around 100 abilities and modifiers, three levels, three main bosses, and 18 enemies.

Necromancy is central to the gameplay and narrative of The Unliving. Upon waking up in the game, your character is initially unsure of himself and his power. A mysterious voice goads you into remembering that you aren’t just anyone: you’re the Necromancer. This opening sequence is fully voice-acted, and the energy these two characters bring to the game is great. They sound perfectly moody and sinister without becoming comical.

The Unliving Story

Screenshot by PC Invasion

The dead don’t stay dead

It’s a bit hard to mess up the rogue-lite parts of a rogue-lite’s gameplay. It’s a genre that’s been done enough that the requirements have been well defined over time. So, suffice to say, The Unliving plays perfectly fine. There are ways to gain extra life through a run, and you have to use melee and long-range attacks. It starts rather simple, but once you get to the home base, a skill tree unlocks — and it’s massive. When walking through the base for the first time, I mistakenly thought all the intricate runes on the ground were simply for decoration, but no.

The Unliving Skill Tree

Screenshot by PC Invasion

I apologize for not mentioning the actual necromancy until now, but don’t worry — it’s actually really fun to play with. Raising all your slain foes with the press of an ‘R’ key just to use them as a faceless, disposable army is a real power move. When developer RocketBrush Studio says 100 abilities to unlock, that doesn’t seem like an exaggeration. As far as using skills goes, you can gain abilities for the necromancer or ones that relate to the undead army. Each one that I tried was pretty straightforward. There’s abilities that the necromancer uses and ones that relate to what the undead army does. Different abilities also require different resources, so use them carefully. It could be the difference between using up bone fragments or giving up some of your life.

Yours to command

It’s already clear that The Unliving has a firm grip on its art style. The loading screens, while sometimes very slow, contain incredibly detailed artwork. Similarly, character portraits are intricate and surprisingly unique to each character that I’ve seen so far. It’s such an easy game to play and get into, with a surprising amount of content already included. Deaths never feel game-ending, and getting right back into the game feel less of a chore.

The Unliving Early Access Preview

Screenshot by PC Invasion

The Unliving in Early Access isn’t a shell of a game waiting for its eventual release. It’s a rather solid game, with only a few hiccups. It’s absolutely worth it, especially if you appreciate the more story based elements in a rogue-lite.

Dani Maddox
Dani is a writer and editor who cared about games enough to make them her job. If she isn't waxing poetic about the latest indie release, you can always find her knee-deep in a detective RPG.

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