We love a good fusion game. Take an established genre and then smoosh it into another, and see what you get. Caves and Castles: Underworld is not content with blending two genres, though: it’s gone for three. Prepare to feast on a fusion of dungeon-crawler, match-3 and base-builder. Caves and Castles: Underworld is out now on Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S and Nintendo Switch, with it joining a previous launch on PC through Steam.
As fans of Gems of War and Puzzle Quest, we’re on board for an alternate RPG-like take on a match-3. You’ll be delving into 2D dungeons and exploring them as if they were a top-down JRPG. But as soon as you hit obstacles like a locked door or an enemy, then the game shifts into a Bejewelled-style puzzle game.
If you’ve played Puzzle Quest, you will be used to how it works. Clear enough of a specific colour in the gem-matching and you will fill a special move bar that’s dedicated to that colour. Cap it out and you’ll be able to perform a special move that will clear even more of the gems. It’s a fun loop that’s worked for many games in the past, so there’s no reason why it won’t work here.
The loot you gain from this adventurous dungeon-delving can then be taken back to your base, where you upgrade buildings and generally level up your castle and its grounds. Your castle was ruined in a mysterious event, and it’s only by rebuilding it that you can find out what destroyed it in the first place. There’s a lightweight story here that keeps everything moving.
There’s a levelling system here too, which super-sizes your special moves and generally makes you more resistant to attacks in the dungeon. It looks like this can be done within and between dungeons, so take any opportunity to be the master warrior.
It’s all complete with a simple but colourful art style, and the match-3 presentation in particular looks more attractive than most. Caves and Castles: Underworld isn’t an expensive game, so it might be worth dropping a few bob on it and seeing how the three different game styles mesh. Or of course, you could hold tight for our full review of Caves and Castles: Underworld on Xbox, or take in our little Let’s Play video below.
Find adventure beyond your imagination and riches untold as you descend into the caves beneath an ancient castle! Match gems to remove obstacles, collect keys to unlock new passages and build your strength as fast as you can to break through barriers in Caves and Castles: Underworld, a sometimes relaxing, sometimes heart-racing match-three game! Above ground, you’ll become wrapped up in a quest to rebuild a castle and its grounds – only something strange is preventing you from achieving your goal! Unlock one mystery after another as you restore the stunning structure to its former glory! Enjoy colorful hand-drawn art and animation, a charming story and hours of match-three fun as you play Caves and Castes: Underworld!