I was unfortunately/fortunately cursed to have bought a copy of Underwurlde that would load one time in a gazillion and then crash anyway upon its release. Because of this for a fair few years I had kinda filed the thing under “The Ultimate game that got away”,
Of course, time passed and Speccy emulators existed (nobody tell anyone responsible for denying distribution of Ultimate games, this is our secret) and I eventually got to sit down and play Underwurlde for a good amount of time and sweet baby Molyneux on a bike, it’s bloody annoying, isn’t it? One second you’re trying to jump onto one platform, the next you’ve bounced 4 screens in the wrong direction and you’re cussing the Stampers with all the foul language you can muster.
Undrium takes a punt at making the game a bit more usable by humans and has a pop at removing the cussability of the game so the concept can shine. My favourite kind of remake! Sure, sometimes I want a fairly faithful reproduction and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with a game being that, just I get way more excited by seeing folk building off the original, taking the stronger parts of the concept whilst trying to exorcise the rougher parts. It’s a tricksy balancing act because it’s really, really easy to lose the heart of a game whilst fiddling.
I’ve always considered Rich as a bit of a master at walking this tightrope well. His Skook Daze rework, Klass Of 1999, was for a long while the gold standard for me. It is evidently, obviously, Skookdaze still, it’s also Rich’s game. Nailed it, basically.
Undrium walks the same path – it’s instantly recognisable and proud of its roots, clearly respectful of the foundation it’s building on yet very much Rich’s game: 2023.
Or, in short: the good stuff.