HomeVideo GamesPAX EAST 2022 | "Below the Stone"

PAX EAST 2022 | "Below the Stone"

PAX EAST 2022 | "Below the Stone"

When one thinks of Apogee Entertainment, memories of VGA shareware titles no doubt would flow through any gamer’s brain. Below the Stone, an upcoming Apogee title from first-timer Strollart Games, is a game that would’ve fit in perfectly with its early 90s roster. On its surface, it appears to be nothing more than a mining game. However, the deeper you go in Below the Stone, the more mysteries will be revealed.

Players take control of a Dwarven miner, who must gather minerals for his homeland. Upon entering an area, the miner will find themselves shrouded in darkness. Minerals he’ll find aplenty, as well as some hidden areas that must be dug out to access them. However, behind those areas lies a great evil!

As you dig through areas in Below the Stone, you’ll come across walking skeletons, bats, and other sorts of creatures wanting to end your journey early. Depending on what you have on your arsenal — be it a shovel and pickaxe — the miner can defend themselves from the monsters that lurk in the dark. However, it helps to make sure the material these tools are up to standards; a rusty one, sadly, is going to cause the job to take much longer to complete.

Gathering materials will assist with crafting better tools for the trade. Be it copper, silver, or gold, these materials will make the task of digging and defending a lot easier to handle. The challenge is when you may find yourself having to do both at once, something I witnessed when my digging sounds would bring the monsters close by to my vicinity. When that happens, prepare to start swinging away!

There’s a great old-school vibe that comes from Below the Stone, and it’s not just for its visuals. How combat occurs, the quest for hidden areas, and finding new mysteries every time you play bring a feeling that stays true to Apogee’s heyday. Its designs have good dose of charm, but even when one of the cuter monsters appears, it becomes ever-so clear that they’re a great threat that you can’t admire from afar. It brings to mind the anime Made in Abyss, a series that brought forth that perfect blend of beauty and danger with every world and creature Riko & Reg came across.

Below the Stone may find itself being compared to Terraria and the like, but it has enough uniqueness where said comparisons would stop quickly. Roaming through the PAX East demo had me discovering hidden places, fast threats, and the occasional hidden blacksmith prisoner. (Although I imagine the dwarf would’ve left him in there if he didn’t stop with the digging puns!) While it’s normally not the type of game that I’d hurry to experience, enough was showcased in the demo that made me more curious for what this world has to offer.

As its Steam page says, Below the Stone will be available “when the fat dwarf sings”! One hopes that bearded tenor would get a dress rehearsal prepared soon, at least.


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The J-POP king of America, Evan has been bringing the hottest sounds of the Land of the Rising Sun to the English-speaking public since his college radio days. He's also an expert in the gaming, anime, & manga realms, never afraid to get critical when the times call for it. Born & bred in Boston, he achieved his biggest dream yet by making the big move to Tokyo, Japan in Summer 2023! For personal inquiries, contact Evan at evan@b3crew.com. For press/band inquiries, write to us at thebastards@bostonbastardbrigade.com. (Drawing by AFLM of Wicked Anime)