I was sent an early copy of What Lies Beneath, and while I am very grateful for the opportunity, this will be my honest review. If you enjoy these reviews, make sure you like, comment, follow, and share them with your friends.
What Lies Beneath is a choose-your-own-adventure game with unique skill checks and a fun story. The game will be available in an interactive PDF and Printed Book format when the Kickstarter is fully funded. I got to try the interactive PDF, but there shouldn’t be a difference between versions other than the satisfying tactile experience the book provides.
The PDF is great! Choices are hyperlinked, and navigating through the adventure is easy. Having to look for items in the appendix was a bit of a hassle, but it’s not a deal breaker. It only made me want the book more for the ease of flipping to the back when I picked up a new item. Keep in mind that you do get both versions if you are back at the book level.
Players start each run by rolling to choose from the available classes: Bard, Berserker, Druid, Rogue, Warrior, and Wizard. You roll two dice and choose between the results. This gives the game a bit of randomness without taking away a player’s choice. Each class has unique stats that affect the many skill checks made throughout the adventure.
Skill checks are easy to learn and make the game unique and engaging. While a wrong decision will kill you, your fate rests on the result of these skill checks. Some skill checks are simple rolls with modifiers, but others, like the Dex Checks, are a fun little mini-game that makes the adventure very interactive. You can use the alternate rules to make your checks rolls, but I recommend you play the game as written first.
What I love most about this adventure is how quickly it is to get set up. All you need to get started is to grab your materials, open your book to the first page, and get rolling. The game teaches players new mechanics as they are needed, with clear and easy-to-follow instructions. I can’t stress how easy this game is to pick up, even if you’ve never played a board game.
I loved every minute of this adventure. It took a couple of tries to make it to a good ending, but it was a very satisfying journey. The skill checks definitely kept the game from growing stale and repetitive. It is inevitable to run into the same encounters on multiple runs, but I never felt it was an issue. If you are a fan of the choose-your-own-adventure genre or simply want to pick up your first, go back What Lies Beneath on Kickstarter. It has a fun adventure, impressive mechanics, and some solid replayability. At the very least grab the free demo!
The Kickstarter is live until November 16th, so make sure you go back to it. You can pick up the print-and-play version for backing at the $6 tier, which is a fantastic deal. For those needing something more tactile, the book is available at the $12 tier. While you’re there, might as well back the whole project. For $50 you get a very nice update to the deck-builder dungeon-crawler, Dungeon Maker Deluxe, and the PNP version of What Lies Beneath. I haven’t played Dungeon Maker Deluxe, but it looks like a ton of fun, especially with a group of people. There are rules for solo play available. Go back the Kickstarter!