Author Archives: Slash

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

Caves Roguelike by 36Dev

Caves (Roguelike) is an Android game developed (apparently) by Russian studio 36devs.

Title Screen

Title Screen

There is not a lot of context around the game, but you’ll find yourself exploring a system of caverns. When you are creating a new character you assign your stat points to Strength, Agility and Luck, and your equipment is then randomly chosen (You always start with a melee and ranged weapon, but those may vary between knifes and pistols).

You may find surprises such as skeletons stuck into the walls

You may find surprises such as skeletons stuck into the walls

Mining is an important feature of the game, you can mine almost all of the level except some unbreakable walls, there you may find treasure or just create pathways to avoid unnecessary conflict.

Levels are huge, mining is important to avoid conflicts and get treasure.

Levels are huge, mining is important to avoid conflicts and get treasure.

The game is a bit too hard and may need some balance; you can easily find yourself in hard to survive situations just against your first enemies (Say an armoured skeleton able to deflect all of your attacks, backed by two skeleton archers tearing you from the distance and a goblin stabbing you quicker than you can react).

You may easily find yourself into this kind of situations just starting the game.

You may easily find yourself into this kind of situations just starting the game.

Survival is hard since health crystals are expensive and potions require quaff-identification in order to know their effects, most of the times you’ll find yourself giving up and just mining gold and crystals, since there’s persistent advancement thru the games and after dying you can then use these to buy equipment for your next character.

This is the area where new characters appear, you can buy equipments and skills using your persistent treasury.

This is the area where new characters appear, you can buy equipments and skills using your persistent treasury.

Your best bet may be staying off open areas and dig thru instead, hoping to find a good treasure (armour, weapons, useful potions) while fighting weak skeletons buried in the mud. You can also use some sort of special power allowing you to double your speed and escape dire situations which is very handy.

Caves is a pretty classic roguelike, when you level up you can assign points to skills.

You can always check your status, and when you level up you can assign points to skills.

“Caves” is a classic roguelike with a great mobile UI, it is currently a bit unbalanced and too luck-based, although some strategies may help you get around it. The game seems to be still in development so be sure to check the updated. It’s also free (supported by ads), get it now!

Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike

Microgue by Jason Pickering

Today I’ll be reviewing MicRogue, developed by Jason Pickering and published by Crescent Moon Games. It’s available for Android and iOS.

Title Screen

Title Screen

MicRogue is a puzzle game with roguelike elements, similar to Hoplite, where you have to explore a 10 floor tower to find the treasure and return back with it.

Exploring the dungeon

Exploring the dungeon

Each floor is contained on a single screen about 9 x 5 tiles, where you have to get to the stairs up. You will find traps like spikes, rising floors, sudden flames and more. And of course different enemies preventing you from reaching the stairs.

Unique enemies

Unique enemies

The enemies are the highlight of the game; each one has an unique pattern of attack and special effects. Some enemies for example can only attack and move diagonally, where others are just impossible to defeat by your own, and you’ll have to drive them into traps

It... it was a... Hatori Hanzo

It… it was a… Hatori Hanzo

The game is pretty fun and replayable; the free version is supported by Ads but they are not extremely intrusive; I noticed however they make the game crash in some devices.

The player (no class selection) can move or attack two squares in any direction, and can block up to 3 attack with his shield (which can be replenished in-game). The enemy AI is simple and sometimes easily exploitable, but that actually works well given its puzzle nature.

There is also a nifty feature to show the turn order of the enemies so you can take your best choice.

There be dragon

There be dragon

The User Experience is optimized for mobile devices and is pretty comfortable to play. It also helps that the game is not a traditional roguelike, so there’s no inventory, skills or stats to meddle with.

MicRogue is a simple and fun puzzle game with roguelike elements (permadeath, random generation, grid based, turn based), which works great for short gameplay sessions; you will find yourself wanting to give it just another try just to find yourself dead after a small mistake. If you liked Hoplite, but wanted a simpler and more relaxed set of rules, go ahead and play this game!

Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike

The 2015 7DRL Challenge is almost here!

Everybody get ready! Here are some links courtesy of Mr. Darren Grey

Avast, ye rogues!

It is now days till the 11th Seven Day Roguelike Challenge, being held 7th to 11th March 2015. Here are some links to help you get prepped:
US roguelikers may also be interested in the upcoming International Roguelike Development Conference being held in Atlanta, Georgia, on May 30-31. This is the first time IRDC has been held outside Europe. There will also be a UK-based conference later in the year.
When the challenge begins a registration page will be available at http://7drl.roguetemple.com/.

The 7DRL Challenge 2015 has been announced!

We are set for the eleventh annual 7DRL Challenge. GET READY!

593_screenshot

The challenge will run March 7 to March 15, you are invited to take part and create a roguelike game in 7 days, starting from whatever you want but producing a new, complete, playable game at the end of the week!

The 7DRL challenge breathes new life every year into the roguelike development community, last year we had 248 challengers, don’t miss this opportunity!

In 2005, the roguelike community established a yearly event, the 7DRL Challenge, in which all the world is challenged to create a roguelike in a one-week span.

7DRL Challenges are NOT about being a fast coder, but rather proving you can release a finished, playable roguelike to the world. There is no winner of the challenge, but rather all those who finish are honoured for their work, the criterion is completeness.

You CAN use external libraries, game engines, pre-existing generic code/algorithms, pre-existing generic art, etc. You can even start your game from an existing game, if you are willing to turn it out into something unique, you must however say what resources were reused.

Challengers may use the International Roguelike Registration System to accept the challenge once it starts; you can also check the reviews for last year entries here!

More info

ProcJam and 7DRL week starting tomorrow!

A little reminder for anyone interested who has forgotten / not noticed… Tomorrow is the beginning of the Procedural Generation Jam, and we’re running a 7DRL week in parallel.

Start making your game at any point on Saturday/Sunday and finish 168 hours later. If you’re not interested in making a whole game you can spend your week on a procedural tool or one procedural game element (a map generator or a sprite-modifier or a music engine, for instance).

The ProcJam is kicking off with a series of talks in London, including presentations from Darren Grey, Mark Johnson (Ultima Ratio Regum) and Tanya Short (Shattered Planet). They can be viewed by live stream for anyone that can’t make it in person.

More info:

Rogue Wizards, a modern take on classic roguelikeness

Spellbind Studios has launched a crowdfunding campaign to develop a pretty good looking roguelike.

Fully intending to design a game that works seamlessly on both a touch screen and desktop, a hybrid turn based design was created to keep combat fast and visceral while eliminating frantic button mashing and awkward touch screen controls.

Check out their campaign!

Rogue Wizards