More details on permadeath, firepits and items
Last week's Penny Arcade Expo has given rise to a smattering of new information on Below, Capybara's timed Xbox One console exclusive, in which a lone adventurer explores a vast, semi-randomised labyrinth for... well, that's the thing. Nobody really knows.
What we do know is that Below will be tough. Fearsome tough. The combat feels like that of Dark Souls, only somewhat less merciful - you can only hold one weapon at once (plus a shield, unless you're using a two-handed weapon), and the slightest blow will make your character gradually bleed out, unless you can find a fire pit to cauterise your wounds, or a medicinal item.
There's no respawning, technically - die, and you'll take charge of your character's child, who will set out from the last firepit you visited (or from the shore of the starting island, if you've yet to visit a firepit). In an especially nice touch, it's possible to find the corpse of a previous character and recover any items they were carrying. Watch out, though, because some items may perish after a while.
Most areas are randomly generated, but there are fixed "hub" areas to break up progression. As you may have deduced from the screenshots, light is a factor: the player's lantern has a limited supply of oil. Enemies include low-level fauna such as poisonous snakes and more esoteric creatures Capybara currently calls "darklings".
Find four new Below screens, below. Read my enormous interview with Capybara co-founder Nathan Vella for more about combat, the Dark Souls comparisons, indie gaming on Xbox One and why it's important to keep a secret.