Chapter One: Introduction
LAB2-UndeR GrounD- is a lewd “metroidvania” available on Steam. It took me about two and a half hours to complete this game. I missed a few items in my playthrough, but if you know what you’re doing the game could probably be completed in less than two hours with 100% completion. Admittedly, I got lost a few times which advertently increased my playtime.
Chapter Two: Gameplay (2/5★)
Section One: Overview
Sae must venture into the deepest reaches of an “underground facility”. To reach the final boss, she must collect a total of five keycards. The cards are scattered among maze-like saves and laboratories. Guarded by rapey scientists, monsters and laser-slinging guard bots, I guess Sae is the only girl with the skills to platform the facility’s senseless layout.
Section Two: Combat
Sae may equip two weapons at a time; one for melee, and one for ranged attacks. Melee attacks deal more damage than ranged, but ranged weapons allow a safe distance from grapple attacks. Ammunition is a limited resource, but Sae can restock just about anywhere in the game. There six unlockable weapons, hidden amongst the explorable world to encourage exploration.
With the exception of bosses, enemies only have a single, often easily avoidable attack. This makes it easy to streamline gameplay with calculated movement. I found myself sort of “speed running” the game, only engaging foes if I had to. In the following clip, you can see Sae zoom through a enemy-filled room at full speed using carefully timed jumps.
Overall, combat is pretty simple. As the clip showcases, it’s often easier to literally jump over enemies. Ammo is not an issue in this game, so there’s no need to grind foes for money. Unfortunately, boss battles aren’t much different.
In the following clip, I engage the first boss. It’s a good example of what combat looks like with a low level character and starting gear (in the hands of an incompetent games journalist).
Section Four: Balance
Thanks to the leveling system, LAB2-UndeR GrounD- is easy. Even when I played like a jackass, I was able to run Sae through enemies with little regard for ammunition or remaining “HP”.
As Sae defeats enemies, she gains “Skill_P” (which I’ll be referring to as “skill points”) which can be invested into “HP”, “DEF” or “ATK”. But HP can also be upgraded via hidden “HP cans” (for lack of a better word) throughout the game. I didn’t bother spending skill points on HP or DEF. Enemies simply don’t deal enough damage to justify increasing Sae’s durability.
Or like I said, it’s also pretty easy to jump over enemies.
So I invested into ATK — and boy is ATK overpowered. It didn’t take long for Sae’s starting weapons to destroy most enemies with a single strike.
The following clip shows what the game looks like when you only level up attack.
Section Three: Controls
The controls are alright once you get used to them, but customization for keyboard bindings leave a lot to be desired. Whether you like it or not, basic movement is constricted to the arrow keys.
I hate how the “Zoom” functionality is permanently linked to the “up arrow” key, which also functions as the key for activating devices (such as door switches). Because “activate” and “zoom” share the same key, it’s impossible to view certain animations without forcibly zooming.
Chapter Three: Sexual Content (3/5★)
Section One: Content
Sae is raped by aliens, dogs, tentacles, slime, robots and evil scientists alike. She is forcibly vibed and creampied — but there are some niche animations, such as tickling and orgasm torture.
Section Two: Implementation
Some enemies have grapple “attacks” which deal damage over time. To break free, you must quickly mash “attack”. Unfortunately, the length of animations may result in Sae’s death if watched until completion. It’s too bad watching sexual content is mechanically punished.
Some doors are not locked by keycard; rather, they are locked by a sort of hidden switch. If you choose the wrong switch, Sae will be captured and raped if she doesn’t break free in time. Breaking free from grapples is no big deal, but if for some reason you don’t want to see Sae be raped, the correct switch is in fact visually linked to the door it corresponds to (or lack there of).
Section Three: Interactivity
Outside of the “Gallary [sic]”, there is no interactivity whatsoever. Some enemies have unique animations when Sae breaks free from a grapple, but I wouldn’t call that “interactive”.
Section Four: Quality
The animations are difficult to enjoy. Sae doesn’t occupy much screen space when she is raped. The unlockable “zoom” function is intended to garner a better view, but the pixels are blurry when viewed up close — it’s like that bullshit “digital zoom” some cameras have.
However, the sex-scenes are alright. I thought they progressed a little slowly, but I suppose that gives players some time to “warm up”. Sae’s facial expressions are a lot of fun, although her voice acting can be repetitive. I thouroughly enjoyed all of the animated creampies.
Chapter Four: Story (1/5★)
Section One: Plot
There are no cutscenes or character dialogue regarding the “plot”. Nekonomeme writes;
An incident occurred at the laboratory’s underground facility.
For investigation, Sae heads for investigation.
What is going on at underground laboratories …
What is fate to await Sae …
“For investigation, Sae heads for investigation . . . at underground laboratories”
That’s the plot.
Section Two: Characters
From what I could gather from the store description, the player character’s name is “Sae”. There are a few friendly characters in the game with dialogue, but they’re only around to explain mechanics or provide poorly worded clues.
Chapter Five: Sound (3/5★)
Section One: Soundtrack
I enjoyed the electronic soundtrack. Every explorable area has a cool beat to get you pumped up for blasting robots and rapey monsters. The music did feel a little basic, but it’s definitely catchy.
Section Two: Sound Effects
The sound effects are nice and confirming. It’s satisfying to swing and fire Sae’s weapons — I loved hearing her laser sword. ! It’d be nice if there was more variety in sound effects though.
Section Three: Voice Acting
Sae protests as she is raped, but she seldom speaks. Her voice acting is cute but repetitive. It’s annoying to hear the same high-pitched yelps and heavy breathing play on repeat.
Chapter Six: Visuals (4/5★)
Section One: User-interface
The user-interface has some peculiarities, but it’s serviceable.
I don’t understand why Sae’s ammunition is displayed twice; once beside her equipped weapon and again beside her current HP. It’d make more sense if her ammunition for other weapons were shown next to her HP (or better yet, if her HP bar was simply left uncluttered).
Leveling should be more straightforward. Sae doesn’t appear to benefit from spending denominations of “Skill_P” less than ten — why allow players to spend less than ten per key press?
On another topic, a picture of Sae is shown on-screen at all times. It’s a missed opportunity not to have her face change in response to gameplay (like “Doom Guy” from the original Doom series).
You’d think she’d look somewhat bothered when a dog plows her asshole.
Section Two: Graphics
The sprite work is flat and repetitive, amateurish even — but it does the job.
Thematically, LAB2-UndeR GrounD- is a trainwreck . The explorable world includes mining shafts, laboratories, cave systems, and walls of flesh. It was difficult to take this game seriously because in one room I’d see robots with laser guns, and in the next room I’d see dogs that look like they belong in another game.
If the enemies and environments respected the gameplay, there’d be more robots and laboratory backdrops. The robots could even use the same weapons Sae can unlock, forecasting upcoming equipment. Robots with laser whips would be badass!
Chapter Seven: Verdict (2.5/5★)
I don’t consider LAB2-UndeR GrounD- to be a bad game, but the difficulty level and sexual content are weak. The game may be a good pick as your first platformer, but I was disappointed by the lack of difficult platforming and combat. Since Sae takes damage when she is raped, players can only enjoy sexual content at their leisure after completing the game. Consider LAB2-UndeR GrounD- if you can score the game cheap — a few hours of mediocre gameplay isn’t worth full price.
If you purchase this game and desire any semblance of a challenge, I would recommend refraining from leveling up. Maybe Sae might actually run of ammo and be forced to go melee.