After enjoying a widely popular reception from the PC community back in 2017, “Aground” finally makes its 2021 debut on the console market as we take an inside look at the Nintendo Switch version of the game released this past February.
Inspired from other games like Minecraft and Starbound, Aground is a 2D survivor adventure with a simple yet progressive story focused around resource-gathering, crafting, and situational combat. You start the game a lone survivor of a horrible shipwreck stranded on a remote and unfamiliar island with next to nothing to keep you alive.
In terms of appearance, this game will not exactly wow you out of the gates with its classically evolved 8-bit look. What it does do, however, is casually provoke a modest hint of curiosity as to what might lie beneath its mildly appealing 2D shell.
Following a surprisingly in-depth character creation mode, your campaign begins to unfold more as you begin exploring the island and start to get a sense of what lies in store for you. It’s not long before you discover you’re actually not alone here after all. You begin to meet other ill-fortuned survivors and inhabitants who happen to be willing to work together with you for the greater good of everyone. Strength in numbers right?
As you meet these random folk over time you will acquire info, through conversation, regarding details about the state of the island as well as essential tips and practices beneficial to your overall wellness. You’ll learn to build structures like storehouses, kitchens, and workshops. As you gain understanding of mining, smelting ore, and gathering wood you’ll be able to craft powerful weapons and items to support you in your quests. You’ll even learn to farm and grow food for yourself and the others in your village.
Honing skills and stockpiling resources over time will create opportunities for you to make upgrades to your existing settlement. Upgrades and improvements are generally acquired by completing simple quests for resident NPCs or local traders. These upgrades will ultimately increase the overall productivity of your settlement, strengthen your combat prowess, and lead to unlocking new areas not yet discovered.
The winning formula for Aground, however, is undoubtedly the games massive depth of surprise, intrigue, exploration and progression. It’s truly refreshing to not really know what’s going to happen next or what new things or possibilities you might uncover or encounter that will ultimately change the course of your campaign. The result is a unique play-through experience, controlled by the pace of the player, filled with what seems like endless pixelated adventures, random new acquaintances, and countless faraway places to travel to.
Aground is an absolute must-have for your Nintendo Switch library and its affordable $14.99 price tag makes it that much more attractive.
This 2D platformer is more than meets the eye featuring a dynamic single player experience with countless hours of satisfying gameplay and an addictive element of fun that will keep venture enthusiasts coming back for more again and again. This one’s a no-brainer racking up an easy 4 ½ out of 5 possible GiN gems.