When Supraland: Six Inches Under was announced, it was intended to be a short expansion where the main developer behind the original game and DLC worked with his new team members. As time went on, however, that short expansion grew into something that rivaled the size of the main game. This isn’t that surprising, considering the fact that Supraland‘s Crash DLC was also as long as a standalone game. That DLC was somewhat divisive with fans, as it focused on a smaller-scaled, more puzzle-oriented approach, but it was still awesome. Six Inches Under, on the other hand, is more like the original game, down to its deeply compelling gameplay and stellar design.
Instead of playing as the Red Prince again, Supraland: Six Inches Under casts players as a blue plumber. He is a plumber because it’s easier to make Mario references that way, you see. At the start of the game, the Red Prince setts off in his rocket (the one that kept crashing in Crash) to go to where no small toy person has gone before: the house. But that’s when The Rakening hits the town. That is to say, the kid starts raking and destroys the town. All of the toy people end up falling below the surface.
Everyone ends up close to a place called Cagetown, which is run by a Baron that totally isn’t greedy or evil, how dare you?! The poorest individuals live on the bottom floor, while he and the rest of the upper echelon sit at the top. They even suck coins out of treasure chests belonging to everyone else as payment for being able to live there. Your goal is to get to the top floor of Cagetown and use it to get back to the surface. Supraland: Six Inches Under is just as funny and well-written as Crash was, featuring tons of pointed satire and great jokes.
All about the coinjamins
Structurally, Supraland: Six Inches Under is very similar to the original game. It has a smaller main campaign, but with a huge amount of optional content, it’s actually not much smaller overall. I finished the story in about nine hours while doing large amounts of exploring. Even then, I only found about 40% of the game’s chests and secrets. I didn’t hit the 50% mark until I was a dozen hours in. The way the game is structured is via climbing Cagetown. It has three floors and each connects to new areas.
There are several main areas that you can travel back to using pipes from a location in Cagetown, and each area has an assortment of puzzles, combat sections, and secrets to comb through. As you obtain new equipment and abilities, you’ll be able to move higher up and reach even more places. Supraland: Six Inches Under‘s Metroid-like focus makes it extremely hard to put down. Scouring the areas for coins and chests, as well as scratching your head to figure out the game’s tricky puzzles, is just as addicting as it was in the original game.
The only issue with this is that Supraland: Six Inches Under isn’t all that different from the main game. It simply feels and plays like another entry that doesn’t really do much that the other game didn’t already do. However, that game was excellent and this one is too, so this is really a minor complaint. I honestly didn’t mind that this game doesn’t necessarily move forward that much, as it still has all-new locations and puzzles. The combat is better here, though. Plus, there’s a lot less of it. You’ll occasionally have to fight a few waves of enemies, but there isn’t much fighting in the game at all.
And my (pick)axe
Instead of a sword and blaster, your main weapon in Supraland: Six Inches Under is a pickaxe. Well, several, actually. Some forward progression is tied to what kind of pickaxe you currently have. The first one you purchase can only break through stone, while later ones will cut through harder materials. Plus, each higher tier does more damage. Hitting enemies with your pickaxe knocks them back a fair distance, plus you can throw the freaking thing at enemies or distant breakable objects. Instead of a blaster, there’s a Tesla Coil gun that shoots electricity. It stuns most enemies, and outright hurts others, so it’s still pretty much a blaster. It just isn’t as overly powerful as the last one.
Combat is more challenging this time around, and I appreciated that it didn’t overstay its welcome. The only issues I had with it is how some enemies leave a cloud after being defeated, making it hard to see enemies standing close by and can lead to taking damage. Another issue is that there’s an enemy that shoots fireballs at you that you can hit back at them, and it can be tough to tell how far away the fireballs are when you’re about to hit them. These are minor complaints, though.
The puzzles are as stellar as they’ve always been. The mandatory puzzles aren’t quite as hard as the original’s, although there are optional ones that are considerably tougher. The game world in Supraland: Six Inches Under is dense with puzzles to solve and things to collect, too. Exploring this world is an absolute joy. There aren’t many 3D games that do this style of gameplay this well aside from the Metroid Prime series. The secrets are especially creative, and I was often very pleased by how I was able to use my abilities to find new things.
Supraland: Six Inches Under doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was already a great wheel. If you liked the original game and want more of it, there’s no reason you shouldn’t buy this. The story ends a bit sooner than I would have liked, but there are postgame areas with more puzzles once you beat the game, so there’s still plenty of content here. Simply, though, this is another testament to how high-quality and enjoyable this franchise is. Anyone who likes puzzle games or Metroid-likes should absolutely play it, as well as the original game and its DLC if they haven’t already. I can’t wait to see what Supra Games does with Supraland 2 either.