Aground is a pretty 2D survival RPG by Fancy Fish Games and Whitethorn Games that was originally released on PC on Steam back in 2018 however now the title has made its appearances on consoles and Epic Games Store. Aground combines the elements of open-world survival along with character development making it a blend of survival and RPG with hours upon hours of exploration fun. This is our review of Aground on the PS4 in which we tame a dragon and build a spaceship to explore space because survival on just one island is too mainstream.
The story of Aground starts with you crash-landing on an island where you start building structures in order to survive and then you meet with some other survivors on the island as well. Each survivor carries a unique skill and they help you in that regard. For example, the miner helps you in starting mining, the hunter helps you to start hunting, and so on. As you continue to expand your little settlement, you also meet new survivors who teach you new skills and it unlocks new structures that you can build for yourself. Buildings each serve a unique purpose and some of the buildings that require fire such as the smelter or the kitchen also need fuel to run. Once you have constructed a structure, the NPC who unlocked that particular structure will also continue to contribute to your stockpile.
For example, the miner keeps adding different metals and other resources that she finds in the mines below the land, the old man who helps us make the warehouse to store our resources keeps exploring and adding wood and other random resources found on the land. As you continue to progress in missions and develop new tools and resources for yourself, you can get access to new areas that were previously locked for you. New and better tools allow you to dig and cut through tougher blockades around your initial camp and progress in the story. The story is narrated through the different NPCs that you meet in the game and then they give you different quests that you can complete to further progress in the main story of the game.
Each structure that you build in your camp, unlocks new tasks for you. Structures such as farms allow you to farm different animals for their meat and different fruits and vegetables for fresh, organic produce. Buildings such as Smelter and Kitchens allow you to convert the raw materials into finer products such as iron ore into iron bars and meat into cooked meat or combine them with other ingredients to creating delicious recipes such as burgers and pies. As you progress in the main story, you unlock and build more and more complex and modern structures that unlock new technologies and tools for you to use for your survival. After a few hours, the survival bit pretty much goes into the background as your camp becomes a fully self-sufficient town with people helping you around for various tasks and your structures generating raw materials.
However, for most natural resources, you still have to explore the world around you and collect resources the good old-fashioned way using your hand-held tools. Creating different weapons allow you to handle enemies in a more effective way as well. As you explore the depths of the island, you come across some really tough enemies in the game including some huge bosses that are not that easy to fight in the game. You will need really good weapons to take them down. You also unlock different magic potions as you progress in the game from a shady NPC who is actually unlocked quite early in the story.
Apart from developing your survival camp, you also work towards self-development where the RPG mechanics of the game kick in. Every time you level up in the game, you earn skill points and then you invest these to make your attributes much better. You can increase your health, stamina, defense, attack, and tons of other attributes to develop the character according to your own playstyle. Depending on these attributes, your character will develop their skills and get better in the game the more you invest skill points in them. Some skills cost more points than others but ultimately, it boils down on you and how you want to build your character. Character-development goes side-by-side with your camp and is equally important for survival in Aground.
Thanks to many NPCs and wildlife, the island feels alive and lively. Every night, you and a selected number of survivors gather in the camp and share their stories with you around the cozy fire. During the day, all of the survivors that you have met perform their tasks and help you around in various tasks. Shipments arrive from other islands and you never feel really lonely on the island. Apart from friendlies, different creatures also roam the island so you will be fighting them on and off as well as you travel around. Depending on your story progression, your means of transport will also change accordingly. You start off with the foot and then continue to advance to finally reaching airplanes and space ships and even taming huge dragons to fly around the levels.
Aground is a survival RPG that really allows you to progress in life as a human being. It is not just a typical survival title where you create structures, tools and then continue to expand by adding more and more structures. It allows you to go beyond the island where you have crash-landed with tons of planets to explore for new resources. You can fly around in jets and even tame dragons and use them to fly around the game. There is literally no limit to what you can do in Aground and that really sets it apart from traditional open-world survival RPGs. The 2D visuals and retro soundtrack also add to the game’s overall character. I am surprised that I missed Aground when it was initially launched back in 2018. I have currently over 20 hours invested in the game and I plan to invest a lot more in the coming days as well.
Aground is a brilliant survival game that takes things beyond the simple survival mechanics. For a simple 2D title, its combat mechanics and story keeps you glued to the screen, and nearly as aspects of the game are extremely easy to understand. It is just baffling to see how this little 2D game packs such a huge game in its scale in its own little way. From creating your very first warehouse to storing your collected resources to taming a dragon and building a space center and reaching to space, I really enjoyed my time with the game. If you are looking for an open-world survival RPG that offers hours and hours of fun, look no further than Aground on the PS4. Do not judge it from its 2D gameplay, retro visuals, and soundtrack because it hides a massive open world just waiting for you to explore it.
Final Score: 9.0/10