I suspected that when I decided to cover a game for this feature, I'd have some different thoughts as to what underrated is defined as compared to my co-contributors. I have a different aesthetic when it comes to underrated games, and a title has to be a real gem for me to openly suggest it and raise it to a place of honor. Thankfully, one title immediately came to mind: Orcs & Elves DS.
Orcs & Elves DS, originally a cell phone game, was ported to the Nintendo DS by John Carmack and his wife Katherine Anna Kang. It is a first-person, dungeon-crawling RPG in which the main protagonist, Areth, attempts to rid a mountain of the Orcish horde growing within. The simple and generic thematic didn't exactly pull large crowds of fans, and its origins as a ported cellphone game certainly didn't help its popularity either, but if a gamer can overlook its cheesy setting and its humble origins, then he or she could enjoy one of the best light dungeon crawling games available.
Simplicity is a word that can define all of the praise-worthy aspects of Orcs & Elves DS. The game is barely 10 hours, if that. The story is about as complicated as a Choose Your Own Adventure book that you would have read as a child, but through that simplicity is an exceptionally well-polished and enjoyable romp. The levels in the game never seem too long, given its shallowness of depth, and while a bit generic, the story never overreaches the limits of your tolerance. If a gamer can accept the title for what it does and its shortcoming, it performs admirably.
Orcs & Elves DS is title worth experiencing, and there are very little barriers to attempt to do so. It is found relatively easily and cheaply online, and it's on a platform that arguably every gamer on the planet has access to. Assuming a gamer isn't inherently against first-person dungeon crawls, I'd recommend Orcs & Elves DS to anyone. It is a title in my collection that I can be proud of owning and will revisit many times in the years to come.
— Jonathon Self
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