Undecember is one of the prettiest action-RPGs we’ve ever seen.
Its backdrops are practically photorealistic, its character models look like real people, and every pixel strains with detail and movement.
What makes this all the more impressive is that Undecember is a cross-platform game, playable across mobile and PC. And mobile, not PC, seems to be the dominant partner.
There’s the free free-to-play mechanic, for example, familiar from countless other mobile MMORPGs. And there’s the interface, which prompts you to touch the screen at certain moments, even when you’re playing on a PC with a non-touchscreen monitor.
What’s really impressive is that it looks as good on a big monitor as it does on a tiny touchscreen.
Undecember’s incredible presentation is the main reason it caused such a stir when the first trailer went live last year. Since then publisher LINE Games has been keen to big up the game’s innovative classless growth system and Zodiac-based character progression too.
So how does it fare?
Gameplay-wise, Undecember is a hack-and-slash RPG with a difference, and once again that’s down to the developer’s mobile-first approach.
Rather than moving around with WASD controls, you click on the screen to make your character head in that direction. Primary attack is on R mouse, and you unleash your various skill moves using Q, W, E, and R.
While this might be an unfamiliar interface in a PC RPG, it actually works well. Hacking waves of goons and monsters to pieces is still gratifying.
And if you don’t like it, you can use a controller, whether you’re playing on PC or mobile.
The campaign opens with a couple of action sequences, during which you’ll cover the basics of combat. The basics are: run around, kill everything, collect the loot your victims leave behind, and follow the waypoints on the map.
You can also smash some barrels and boxes along the way.
Thanks to Undecember’s classless growth system, you’re free to use any weapon you like. In the opening stages you’ll acquire both a sword and a bow, allowing you to experiment with ranged and melee combat.
You’ll also acquire some skills, some of which you’re free to use alongside any main weapon and some of which are tied to a particular weapon type. The scope for customization as new weapons and skills come into your possession is huge.
After completing the prologue stages, you find yourself in Malo Front, a tiny village that serves as the gateway to the rest of the campaign.
Malo, Is It Me You’re Looking For?
Malo Front is a bustling settlement where you’ll find NPCs talking to themselves about Sand Walkers, Bandits, and Dimps. You’ll also find other players preparing to head out on their own quests.
Plus, there’s a Blacksmith, where you can upgrade your gear; a Mailbox, where you can claim rewards; a Storage Chest, a Recruitment Board, a Mystic, and Peddlar, and more.
Malo Front is the beating heart of the campaign, and every time you’re done gallivanting in another part of the world you’ll return there through a special portal to spend the loot you’ve earned and take care of your busywork.
Undecember has a few other innovations on top of its classless growth system. The game’s pets, for example, collect loot for you and disassemble and sell your items, rather than providing mere combat assistance.
Then there’s the Zodiac system, which lets you cultivate your character by assigning Trait Points to different characteristics, including Strength, Intelligence, and Dexterity. Like classless growth, this ensures that you’ll end up with the character you want.
The skill system is neat, too. To equip a Skill Rune you place it on a hex grid, and if you can place a color-matched Link Rune in the right adjoining hex that Skill Rune will receive a boost. A single Link Rune can modify multiple Skill Runes, too, so placement is everything.
This makes arranging your Skill Runes a fairly enjoyable task in itself, rather than just another menu-based chore.
These novel features, plus those red hot graphics, make Undecember a promising prospect if you’re on the lookout for a game along the lines of Diablo Immortal.
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.
We can’t comment yet on how fair the free-to-play system is in the long-term, but the opening couple of hours showcase a few interesting ideas and some enjoyable hack-and-slash gameplay.