Bite Sized Reviews: Aground Zero

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Bite Sized Reviews: Aground Zero

I love weird games.

Not the best intro you’ve written on here, Scar. That is probably true, but I’ve been unwell for a while and this is the first review I’ve written in over a week. Shoves the annoying brain thoughts back into the box.

But yes, I’m back for now. After my Lil’ Guardsman review, I realized I was burnt out, and it triggered a nasty fibromyalgia flareup that’s left me running ragged all week. I’m still in the selfcare phase, and it will probably mean slowing down my reviews to once a week. I have a ton of projects in progress, but the past few weeks saw a lot of writing and I probably took on too much at once. Oops. I get excited about games.

Ahem, onto the weird games. There are many out there if you’re willing to go exploring. Stuff like The Matchless Kungfu (a completely bonkers open world RPG), Stellar Monarch, Hero’s Adventure and Palworld are the games I’ve been focused on most. I’ll be reviewing all of these over the coming weeks and months. Palworld wins the ‘Weird Game’ Top Trumps award hands down, but my laptop isn’t the spring chicken it used to be, so I can only play Palworld in short bursts.

Today, I cover Aground Zero. This is a 3D recreation of 2020’s Aground and developed by Fancy Fish Games. They’ve made some pretty creative titles over the years such as Stardender in 2023, a bizarre but captivating visual novel/RPG hybrid. Aground Zero boasts similar creativity, even if at first glance it might look like a Minecraft clone. Fortunately, it’s not. Set deep underground, this game blends the classic survival mechanics like Minecraft’s voxel terraforming with colony sims and automation. It’s as if Fancy Fish Games grabbed Factorio and Minecraft, shoved it into a blender with some poor sods (fellow survivors) The result is a surprisingly deep Early Access title. It might lack a bit in ‘content’ right now, but the guts of the game are solid.

Once awakened and with the help of a cheerful AI bot, the player is tasked with carving out a path through the underground world. The survival portions of the game are simple, and anyone who has played survival games will know what to do. Dig through tunnels to explore the world, gather resources and craft, while keeping yourself alive. There are only two survival mechanics to manage for your character: food and energy. Energy can be siphoned from batteries, while Hydroponics provide an endless supply of food.

I found the visuals pleasant to look at. While Aground Zero won’t win prizes for graphics, the NPC animations are well-crafted and feel lifelike. I also love the aesthetic. On the technical side, this is a polished Early Access game. It helps that the game has modest system requirements. I had no problems running the game on my outdated GTX 1060 laptop, and the game is playable on the Steam Deck. However, the control prompts still show mouse and keyboard prompts. I hope the developers can add full Steam Deck support in the future, as my early findings were positive.

The early game is slow, as the game throws a lot of information at the player. Fortunately, the tutorials are instructive, and you can ask for help at any time with a button prompt. From there, the game opens up nicely. I had fun exploring the tunnels, and the graphics suit it well. You have limited inventory space early on, so I found myself dropping a lot of items so I could collect the materials necessary to build my base. There is a lot to micromanage early-game, especially when you find the first couple of survivors. They need to be managed into working at production buildings, although you’re responsible for all the gathering. Later, you find and can build robots that help the micromanagement, but the early game can be overwhelming.

After my rambling, what can I conclude? From my impressions, this is an impressive showing by Fancy Fish Games. The Early Access current build contains a solid gameplay loop, but the story content can be completed in a handful of hours. I’m yet to really dig into the story as I wanted to focus on gameplay impressions. There’s a lot to enjoy even if the current ‘content’ may be short. Did I mention mod support out of the box? Steam Workshop at launch is great, and hopefully we’ll see some cool mods.

If you can get past the early game and get the base logistics running, the game becomes much more enjoyable. For the 20$ pricetag, this is a solid automation game with some cool ideas. The developers have experience with pushing their creative games to completion, so there’s a great future here. You can buy Aground Zero on Steam by clicking on the link below:


  • A great 3D imagining of the developer’s previous game ‘Aground’ with practised mechanics
  • Some excellent graphical design and the underground theme makes this a somewhat refreshing take on the automation genre
  • A good mix of quality of life features, with easy to learn mechanics and a helpful robot if you get stuck
  • Solid technical state: I did not experience any real bugs
  • The reasonable price tag of 20 USD: a chunky Early Access game with mod support out of the box


  • Early Access game, so things are still in development. The story part of the game is incomplete
  • Early game can be overwhelming with the amount of micromanagement. This eases up later, though
  • Limited inventory space early on

About the Author

TheThousandScarAuthor/Blogger/Cartographer/Streamer/Narrative Game Writer/I play far too many games. |

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