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Undertow (video game)

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Undertow is an original video game developed by Chair Entertainment for the Xbox 360's Xbox Live Arcade service.


Undertow features a 15 level campaign for single-player or co-op and two multiplayer modes for up to 16 players. Players select their race (Iron Marine, Nemoidian, Atlantean, or Elect) and unit type and are then launched into battle. Each of the three races features four unique, upgradeable unit types ranging in ability from the fast and agile to the large and powerful. Players have the ability to unlock and purchase unit upgrades as they acquire points. Each unit type has three levels of permanent upgrades.

Through conquest-style battles, players obtain points by killing enemies, accomplishing team goals, and capturing check points. Points and a variety of power-ups can be used to further upgrade unit abilities.


An aquatic alien race secretly launches a devastating attack on Earth which melts the polar ice caps. Water covers the planet.

Humanity is all but wiped out by this onslaught, but some of the remaining humans band together to take the planet back from the brink of chaos. Using existing technology, the Iron Marines take to the seas as they struggle to survive in this wet new world.

For over one hundred years, Captain Nemo and his followers have been living peacefully and quietly at the bottom of the ocean, sharing an uneasy truce with the highest officials in the British and American governments. In their secret utopia the Nemoidians have isolated themselves from the world and lived in peace – until now. Nemo is enraged at the disturbance to his oceans.

As the ice caps melted, the ancient city of Atlantis began to thaw. Trapped by the last ice age, this mighty civilization disappeared at the height of its power. Now free, the Atlanteans will stop at nothing to reclaim the planet they once owned.

Having escaped from their cruel overlords, the fanatic Elect put their hope in the Ark – a massive city-sized space craft that could deliver their dying race to a new world. The fuel supply of the Ark had been nearly depleted when the aliens finally discovered Earth, a planet perfect for transformation into a new, oceanic home for the aliens.



On April 23, 2007, Chair Entertainment announced through an official company press release that Undertow was in development for Xbox LIVE Arcade. The news had been first reported in an exclusive "first look" preview on and quickly became a popular news item across all other major gaming news sites. In addition to the news, the company also released a 30 second teaser trailer, which revealed the first footage of the game in action.

Creative Director, Donald Mustard was quoted, "We’ve really enjoyed designing Undertow for Xbox LIVE Arcade because it’s given us the freedom to create a pure gaming experience focused on fun, addictive game play. Whether a player is looking for hours of intense multiplayer or they have just 10 minutes for the ultimate gaming experience, we’re confident Undertow will be as exciting to play as it has been for us to create."

Chair began production on Undertow in the fall of 2006 and the game was released on November 21, 2007.

Xbox Live consolation

On January 18, 2008, Microsoft selected Undertow for its free game offer from January 23 through January 27 as compensation for the holiday traffic/outage experienced on Xbox Live.[2] Given the game's strong focus on multiplayer, Chair welcomed the opportunity to participate in this promotion as the immediate influx of hundreds of new players greatly enhanced the competitive game play experience.

Downloadable content

A single downloadable content pack was released for the game. Titled "Path of the Elect", the pack featured a new five-mission campaign following the story of the Elect, the aquatic alien race responsible for flooding the Earth, as well as new multiplayer maps.[3]


Aggregate scores
Aggregator Score
GameRankings 78.97%[4]
Metacritic 76%[5]
Review scores
Publication Score
IGN 8.7/10[6]


Upon release, Undertow garnered significant praise and media attention for its high quality visuals, variety of game play, and flawless execution. The game received numerous Editors Choice Awards from leading gaming publications and websites, including Official Xbox Magazine, IGN, and Team Xbox. IGN also selected Undertow as its Game of the Month for November 2007. Undertow was nominated for Microsoft's 2007 XBLA Awards and 1UP's 2007 Editors Choice Awards and was selected by Official Xbox Magazine as its 2007 Game of the Year for Xbox LIVE Arcade.


  1. Goldstein, Hilary (2007-11-01). Undertow to Make XBLA Splash Soon. IGN Entertainment, Inc.. Retrieved on 2007-11-01.
  2. Undertow Free of Charge Next Week on Xbox LIVE Arcade (2008-01-18). Retrieved on 2008-01-18.
  3. Brudvig, Erik (2008-03-04). Undertow Expansion on the Way. IGN. Retrieved on 2009-08-19.
  4. GameRankings Reviews for Undertow. GameRankings. Retrieved on 2009-08-19.
  5. Metacritic Reviews for Undertow. Metacritic. Retrieved on 2009-08-19.
  6. IGN: Undertow Review

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