Lone Spelunker by Barking Dog Interactive

Are you sick of hacking thru endless dungeons looking for ancient artifacts to save the world? take a look at Barking Dog Interactive’s in-dev game: Lone Spelunker.

A great adventure awaits for you

A great adventure awaits for you

In Lone Spelunker, you explore dark caverns in a turn-based, puzzle fashion, hoping not to die by falling from a cliff into a horrible dead. And you do all this just for a reason, to take cool selfies of yourself, deep under the ground.

The entrance to a cave, right into an underground puddle

The entrance to a cave, right into an underground puddle

In these caverns, you’ll find no goblins to smash, no magic loot nor evil balrons… it’s only yourself and your curiosity, hoping to discover as much as possible of the cave, while using your tools at hand carefully and patiently.

This shaft was about 230 mt deep. That a long rope!

This shaft was about 230 mt deep. That a long rope!

The movement commands may seem overwhelming at first, but they are rather easy to get accustomed to after a while; you’ll be mostly moving around, jumping and griping into walls, hammering pitons into the walls and shooting ropes from them, ziplining and rapeling  to move quickly between the vast, beautifully rendered underground locations and lakes.

For your first sessions, I think it’s a good idea to keep the instructions on a separate screen all the time, so you can refer to them when needed.

To prevent getting lost in the caverns, you can use the map (though some players may consider it cheating) or a gyrotheodolite / baromether to find your latitude and depth.

To prevent getting lost in the caverns, you can use the map (though some players may consider it cheating) or a gyro-theodolite / barometer to find your latitude and depth.

This game is beautiful, it’s completely rendered on colored ASCII, and you will find it lacks a “look” command because most of the things in the screen are just aesthetic. With the exception of the solid rock, mud, water, your ropes and the hammer-able walls, the rest is just beautiful and colorful underworld.

Careful! any misstep could lead to horrible death!

Careful! any misstep could lead to horrible death!

You can play the game on any computer since it’s web accessible, just create an account and start playing. Have in mind however, that the game is currently in open beta, so some things may not work perfectly.

There's a website where you can share your selfies and discuss the caverns with other players

There’s a website where you can share your selfies and discuss the caverns with other players

The games comes with a set of both randomly generated and fixed cavern complexes; for the fixed caverns you will find they have a list of challenges you may want to complete. They consist basically on finding something special and shooting yourself a selfie with it. The randomly generated caverns, on the other hand, allow yourself to take selfies just for fun, in the cool locations you’ll find underground.

You'll have to plan your moves carefully to get into some locations

You’ll have to plan your moves carefully to get into some locations

As the game is still on beta, you’ll find some small details (for example, I was unable to change facing since Alt + Left caused my Chrome browser to go back, thus deleting my adventure :/). These are however small details since otherwise the game is very enjoyable right now.

The caverns seem to be based on real world locations, you will also learn a bit about spelunking, with the game taking you to wikipedia from time to time for reference.

The caverns seem to be based on real world locations, you will also learn a bit about spelunking, with the game taking you to wikipedia from time to time for reference.

I felt the game could have better lighting effects for both aesthetics and gameplay, I guess the developers choose to leave it this way for practical reasons. Also, providing ambient sound and sound effects (with lots of echo?) would add a lot to the atmosphere.

Now here comes the mandatory question: would you consider this game a roguelike? certainly there’s no hack and slash here, but its turn based (almost completely, with some things like oxygen drop happening in real time), grid based, single character with permanent failure and procedural environments. There is no conflict/combat nor inventory (and thus no resource management), and there’s little in the way of random action outcomes (although sometimes you could save yourself from death by doing a “miracle grip”). But most of the factors are here, plus it’s got ASCII display :)

Play Lone Spelunker now for a different cavern crawling experience!

Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike

2 thoughts on “Lone Spelunker by Barking Dog Interactive

  1. jim

    Neat review on a game I’ve never heard of!

    Of course, now I find myself wishing that if you kept playing (and went deep enough), you eventually had to contend with blind cannibal mutants ala The Descent.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.