Author Archives: Darren Grey

About Darren Grey

Roguelike developer, ToME4 writer, game poet, Roguelike Radio host, writer for Tales from the Frontier, and a bunch of other hobbies.

7DRL Challenge 2013 – Evaluation Results

7drlMany moons it has been since the 154 7DRLs were released, but slavering in the background have been an army of 39 reviewers desperately playing these labours of love and scribbling little notes on sheets. After this long process we have finally collated a set of reviews and scores for almost every 7DRL made this year. I present you with our glorious offering:

Some notes on using the site:

  • Reviews are subjective and based on personal opinion – take them with a pinch of salt! As a rule of thumb anything with a 2+ is considered good.
  • Click on column heading to re-sort by that value
  • Click on score values to see detailed review/justification information in the bottom pane
  • Some of the game links may be outdated – let us know if you find any errors
  • 75% of games have 3 reviews, and 33% have 2 reviews, 423 reviews total
  • No one was able to get 10bar Roguelike or Random Chance running :(

Special thanks go out to Jo Bradshaw and Xecutor who did 40 and 39 reviews respectively! Also thanks to GameHunter for doing videos of almost every 7DRL – links to specific game videos are next to the reviews.

There are a lot of real gems in here, and a huge amount of variety, showing the roguelike scene is as fresh as vibrant as it has ever been. Do go try some of these great games, and give feedback to the devs after their hard work.

And if by some bizarre miracle you get sick of these 154 games, be sure to catch up on the 7DRLs from 2012, 2011, 2010 and earlier

Roguelike Development Conference in London

IRDC 2012 logoThe time is drawing near for IRDC 2012 – the International Roguelike Development Conference, being held this year in London on the 2nd and 3rd of June. IRDC has historically been a unique opportunity for developers and roguelikes fans to meet up, make presentations, and discuss relevant topics. This year’s event follows up on previous successful conferences in Berlin, Geneva and Visby. The London gathering promises talks from roguelike legends such as Jeff Lait (POWDER) and DarkGod (ToME4), and a live recording of the Roguelike Radio podcast.

Those interested in attending should sign up now, and look into travel and accommodation soon (London prices aren’t always cheap). Any questions should be put up on the wiki, or directed to Darren Grey.

25 people have signed up so far. Presentations promised include:
– “The Roguelike Rennaissance” by Darren Grey
– “The Single Hit Point Model” by Darren Grey
– “Why Darren is Wrong About Single Hit Points” by Ido Yehieli
– “Developing for Mobile Devices” by Bjorn Ritzl
– “Porting POWDER: A Brief History” by Jeff Lait
– “Stonesoup Survey Presentation” by Johanna Ploog
– “Roguelikes as contrasted to the Commercial Games Industry” by Connagh Muldoon

You can also sign up on Facebook.

Roguelike Round-up Nov 2011

Major News

Humble Dredmor
     Dungeons of Dredmor has been added to the Humble Indie bundle for anyone that gives above the average value of (currently) $4.10, with the option to choose for your money to go entirely to charity if you want.

New Roguelikes!

Hyperbolic Rogue – Simple game with a trippy interface on a hyperbolic plane
Silence – Graphical roguelike with a fading light resource
Microcosm – Robot-themed RL for Android (in alpha stage)
WebRaidMobile 1.1.2 – Android dungeon-delver with content procedurally generated from random web pages

Updated Games:

3079 2.0-PRE5 Middlecrest 0.2.23
Allure of the Stars 0.4.2 Neon 0.3.6
Brogue 1.5.2 NLarn 0.7
Bushudo 3.1 NPPAngband 0.5.4
ButtonHack #5 Portralis 0.5 alpha 2.2
Cataclysm PWMAngband 1.1.8
Diggr Quickband 2.05
Dungeons of Dredmor 1.07 Red Rogue
Dweller 1.11.4 The Slimy Lichmummy 0.36
Fall From Heaven 0.0.7a ToME 4 beta 35
Hydra Slayer 13.0 TomeNET v4.4.8a
Infra Arcana 10.2 Triangle Wizard R12.01
JADE 0.2.2 Vapors of Insanity 0.53
Legacy 0.1.4 World of Tey 0.9.0
Legends of Yore V1014

Upcoming in December:

Roguelike of the Year 2011
     Keep your eyes peeled on ASCII Dreams for Andrew Doull’s regular feature: Roguelike of the Year 2011. This has been a bumper year for roguelikes, and Andrew’s poll will give a chance to recognise all your favourite releases. Also a nice time to have a look back over the previous years’ polls.


Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments or on the forum.

Roguelike Round-up Aug-Oct 2011

Firstly, my apologies for the lack of updates these last few months. Job-hunting, house-hunting and the new podcast have all leeched my time away. This update covers activities for the whole of the last three months.

Major News

Roguelike Radio podcast
     A new weekly podcast has started focusing on our favourite game genre. Roguelike Radio has had 10 episodes to date, as well 4 bonus interviews with developers. Each week the topic alternates between a focus on an individual game (such as DoomRL or Dungeons of Dredmor) or a discussion on a general topic to do with roguelike game features.

Cardinal Quest released
     Ido Yehieli has released his commercial roguelike Cardinal Quest, available on BMTMicro and Gameolith, with a free demo playable on Kongregate. Its retro graphics and music have proved so popular that a free giveaway caused BMTMicro’s servers to crash after 100k copies were downloaded in under an hour!

Annual Roguelike Release Party 2011
     ARRP 2011 proved a huge hit with 27 releases, including 9 completely new titles. You can find a full list at Björn Ritzl’s blog.

Classic RLs in Your Browser
     Donnie Russell has been hard at work converting several classic roguelikes for play in flash in your browser, making them much more accessible on modern systems. Available are Rogue, Hack, MAG and Larn, some with tiles options. There are also versions of Rogue and Hack for the GameBoy and Nintendo DS.

New Roguelikes!

Allure of the Stars – Sci-fi tactical squad-based roguelike
Bushudo – Island survival game for the iPad
ButtonHack – Coffeebreak RL playable in your browser (using Unity)
Cardinal Quest – Arcade-style dungeon crawler, on sale for $4.45
Dungeons of Decay 0.4.9 – Coffeebreak RL written in libtcod
Hack n Slash Online – Alpha of an in-browser online roguelike
Harrowed – Minimalist roguelike made in 1 hour for the Zero Hour Game Jam
Into the Dungeon++ – Graphical roguelike released for ARRP
js-like – Javascript-based roguelike in beta stage
Legacy – New graphical roguelike with an overworld and animated actions
LumberjackRL – Explore the wilderness, chop down trees, eat flapjacks!
Magog – Hex-grid game with portal-connected areas
Netpack – Pac-man with random levels and inventory system
Rings of Valor – Real-time roguelike with a variety of races and classes
Rogue Assassin – Stealth-based roguelike still in early stages
Rogue Zombies – ASCII zombie-killing browser game
RogueDungeons – Graphical roguelike with a great UI
Run from the Shadow – 2DRL with themes of guilt and escapism
The Lair of Xar – Tile-based dungeon crawler
The Slimy Lichmummy – Retro roguelike with some cyberpunk elements
World of Tey – Short alpha of a new fantasy roguelike
X@COM – ASCII squad game based heavily on X-COM
Zombie Swarm – Zombie-killing RL with guns and allies

Updated Games:

91 LarnHD 1.1
Angband 3.3.1 Legend of Siegfried 0.2.0
Anquestria 0.12 Legends of Yore
Bardess 0.4.2 Legerdemain 1.1.0
BOSS 2.4c Lost Labyrinth 4.7.1
Brogue 1.5.1 MAGHD 1.7
Cataclysm Middlecrest 0.1.95
Caves of Qud 1.0.4293.15893 Neon Roguelike Engine 0.3.5
DCSS 0.9.1 Netwhack 0.6.3
Descension 0.1.81 NPPAngband 0.5.3
Desktop Dungeons POWDER v116
Diggr Prospector RL 0.2.3a
DoomRL Pyromancer 0.2.0
DungeonRL Quickband 2.04b
Dungeons of Dredmor 1.0.6 Red Rogue
Dweller 1.11.1 RevivedHack 2.5
EmoSquid 0.5 Stellar Edge 0.0.50
Expedition 0.4.1 ToME4 b34
Fall from Heaven 0.0.6a TomeNET 4.4.8
Fangband 1.2.6 Traction Edge 0.2b
FayAngband 1.1 Triangle Wizard 11.02
Hordes of Tarshish Unangband 0.6.4b
Hydra Slayer 12.9 UnNetHack 3.6.0
Ignite 0.038 Untitled 0.7.1
Infra Arcana 9.2 Vapors of Insanity 0.52
JADE 0.2.0 Voyage to Farland 1.8t
LambdaHack engine

Sources: Planet Roguelike, RogueBasin, Temple of the Roguelike forums, List of Actively Developing Roguelikes,

Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments or on the forum.

Roguelike Radio – A new podcast

A new podcast has been started, initially starring Andrew Doull, Darren Grey and Scott Edgar. The first episode can be found here:

The podcast is dedicated to weekly reviews of recent roguelike games and general discussion about the genre. This week it covers Ido Yehieli’s Cardinal Quest, with some talk on how a good UI can improve a roguelike game. Next week’s episode shall be focussed on Desktop Dungeons.

Roguelike Round-up July 2011

Major News

Dwarf Fortress in New York Times
     The famed dwarven fortress simulator, Dwarf Fortress, has become the subject of an in-depth article published in the New York Times. NY Times journallist Jonah Weiner has spent several days with Tarn and Zach Adams, analysing their lifestyles and quizzing them on their motivations to create the successful crowd-funded game. The article makes for a fascinating read, casting a light on some of the odd habits of the developers, but also digging into the joys of playing the game and what makes it so appealing to the fanbase. Dwarf Fortress is also now on display at the New York Museum of Modern Art’s “Talk to Me” exhibit, which runs to 7th November.

Dungeons of Dredmor top seller on Steam
     The graphical roguelike Dungeons of Dredmor has gone on sale at Steam for $5, and has quickly amassed tens of thousands of sales, rocketing it briefly to the very top of the Steam sales charts. Reception of the game has been immensely positive, receiving a metacritic score of 81, with many reviewers praising its quirky humour, challenging gameplay, and accessible interface. The central gameplay features of permadeath and procedural content seem to be joyfully embraced by many. Could this be part of a roguelike renaissance…?

Nethack Summer Tournament Underway
     Almost 300 players are now competing in the Nethack Summer Tournament, which runs from 17th July to 14th August. There’s still time to join in and horribly die on poisoned spike traps!

Expedition – call for playtesters
     Veteran developer Slash is hoping to release a new version of Expedition soon, and has put out a call for playtesters. If you’re interested in helping out with a detailed roguelike centred around exploration and adventure then get in touch.

N900 roguelikes wiki
     Got a Nokia N900 and want to play roguelikes whilst on the move? Well there’s now a wiki to help, with a list of 34 compatible titles and some tips on how to get them running.

New Roguelikes!

Dungeons of Dredmor – humorous graphical roguelike that pulls no punches on difficulty – available on Steam for $5
JADE – the much anticipated open world successor to ADOM, though with limited features at present
Legend of Siegfried – a feature-packed fantasy roguelike under fast development
Temple of Vengeance – martial arts themed roguelike
Vapors of Insanity – detailed game with many original systems and a choice of ASCII/graphics

Updated Games:

Descension 0.1.7 Dweller
Grand Rogue Auto 0.5.0 Hydra Slayer 12.6
Ignite 0.03 Infra Arcana 5
Kharne alpha23 Lost Labyrinth 4.6.3
Mysterious Castle 1.3 Prospector 0.2.2b
pYendor 0.04.00a Quickband 2.0.3
Rogue Project 2 ToME4 beta31
Triangle Wizard 10.03

Upcoming in August:

Crawl 0.9 and Tournament
     Crawl 0.9 has been billed for release around the first week of August, offering new features, content and interface niceties. Anticipation is also high for the now bi-annual Crawl tournament, which will be held 13th August to 28th August. Sigmund shall taste much blood…

ARRP Upcoming
     Just seven weeks remain until the second Annual Roguelike Release Party, where developers are encouraged to stop fiddling about in the shadows and get some games out! New games or updates of existing titles are all welcome. The deadline for release is Sunday 18th September.

Cardinal Quest due soon
     Keep your eyes peeled on, as the graphical roguelike Cardinal Quest is due to come roaring out soon. The game was developed for the 4DRL challenge last October, and has since gained large reknown for amassing $4.8k from crowd-funding site – the site’s first big success. Hopefully with its charming retro graphics and bleepy music Cardinal Quest can continue Dredmor’s success in spreading the fun of roguelike gameplay to the masses.


Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments or on the forum.

Roguelike Round-up June 2011

This is a new monthly article I’m starting, highlighting some of the goings on in the roguelike community and listing all of the releases from the last month, generally compiled from Planet Roguelike, Rogue Basin, the r.g.r.* newsgroups and the Temple of the Roguelike forums. If you have any suggestions of changes/improvements to the ongoing content, format or style then please post in the relevant thread on RogueTemple or in the comments below.

Major News

ARRP announcement
     The 2011 Annual Roguelike Release Party will take place on the weekend of the 18th of September. All roguelike developers are encouraged to release updates to their games on this date, and to bring their hidden projects out of the shadows and into the hands of gamers. To enter simply release your game on the 18th of September – feel free to also declare your intentions in advance by listing your name on the RogueBasin wiki.

Desktop Dungeons at E3

Desktop Dungeons at E3
     The increasingly popular coffeebreak roguelike/puzzler Desktop Dungeons has appeared at E3 as part of IndieCade’s booth (following in the footsteps of Jeff Lait’s Smart Kobold last year). Pre-orders have now opened for the full paid version of the game at a discounted price. [Pictured on right: Desktop Dungeons is shown to the crowds at E3.]

New Roguelikes!

Infra Arcana – roguelike with a horror / Lovecraft theme
js-like – browser-based roguelike with inspiration from ADOM
Mysterious Castle – party-based game in beta for Windows, Linux, OSX and iOS
NarwhaRL – C++ roguelike at an early stage
tinyhack – a simple 8×8 square dungeon crawling game
Voyage to Farland – graphical roguelike for Android

Updated Games:

100 Rogues Broken Bottle 1.2
Catclysm DCSS 0.8.1
Descension 0.1.6 Dweller 1.8.3
Goblin Camp 0.2 Grand Rogue Auto 0.4.5
Hydra Slayer 12.4 Kharne 0.06
Legends of Yore Alpha 1.0.644 Lost Labyrinth 4.6.2
SilverQuest 1.3.3 ToME4 b28
The Moor alpha 0.0.4 Triangle Wizard 10.03
UnReal World 3.13-patch 4

Upcoming in July:

Random world map in JADE
     All signs suggest that JADE 0.1.0 will be publicly released on July 2nd. It has been joked in the past that Thomas Biskup’s long-awaited sequel to ADOM would be released after Duke Nukem Forever – how surreal it all seems now! However it has been stressed that this will be a very low content release, unlikely to initially live up to the expectations of fans who have been waiting 13 years. [Pictured on right: An example of a randomly generated world map in JADE.]

Dungeons of Dredmor
     Gaslamp Games have announced a distribution deal with Steam to release their game for $4.99, available June 13th. Dungeons of Dredmor will feature many roguelike mechanics (especially in its “Going Rogue” mode) with well-drawn graphics, original humour, unique ability and crafting systems, and very large eyebrows. The developers have also put up a number of teaser shots.

Legerdemain at Origins Games Fair
     The roguelike/interactive fiction hybrid Legerdemain will be featuring at the Origins Games Fair from 22nd-26th June in booth #130. Merchandise and info on a new project will be available at Roguelikefiction’s stall, as well as an opportunity to say hi to the creators.


Know of any other news? Got anything you’d like featured next month? Post in the comments!

A New Addition to the Major Roguelikes


Author DarkGod
Language Lua (with some elements in C)
Platform Linux, Windows, OSX; (open source)
Version 3.9.9 beta 18

Hidden TreasureToME4 (or Tales of Maj’Eyal: Age of Ascendancy) is the latest in a series of roguelikes made by DarkGod, famed for his creation of PernAngband/ToME2.  It has moved away from the Tolkien setting with its own original fantasy world, and no longer has any ties with the Angband series – indeed, the gameplay is now vastly different.  Its most notable features are its intricate character development system, with points invested to unlock or improve talents individual to each class, and its very smooth interface, which supports full functionality through either mouse or keyboard.  These combined with an intense development pace and a vast number of innovative gameplay features have contributed to ToME4 being crowned Roguelike of the Year 2010.  Oh, and it’s also quite fun.  Often in the roguelike scene people talk about the 4 major roguelikes of ADOM, Angband, Crawl and Nethack.  I think that with the advent of ToME4 we have a fifth member.

Blasting The MasterToME4 currently has 8 races and 17 classes, with more being added at regular intervals.  One controversial feature is that many of the races and classes are initially unavailable and must be unlocked through reaching milestones or completing quests in the game.  The game is spread over a large world with several continents and over 30 dungeons.  Some dungeons have very unique layouts and mechanics, such as the collapsing tunnels in the sandworm lair.  As you would expect of a major roguelike there are several hundred enemy types, and they tend to have access to the same abilities as the player classes in true “player as monster” fashion.

Sher'Tul FortressThe game supports both graphical tiles and ASCII mode, with additional options for in-game music and sound effects.  It also represents the actions of spells and abilities with procedurally generated graphical effects.  Unfortunately these and a few other issues can cause the game to run slow on even fairly decent computers, and some players may need to tweak the video settings to make the game playable.  The graphics, sound and music combine well with the intuitive mouse interface to make for a very modern looking game, whilst still preserving full ASCII and keyboard support for traditionalists.  Overall the game is incredibly friendly to those with no roguelike experience, with tooltips for all enemies/items/statuses and extra game modes allowing additional lives and easier play.

Undead AboundThe talent system is the heart and soul of the game.  Each class has access to around 10 distinct talent trees with 4 talents in each tree.  Characters get points to invest as they level up, and can use them to improve existing talents or open up new ones.  Each talent has stat and level requirements to unlock.  Talents include lightning bolts, stealth, aimed shots, defensive auras, and many many more.  It’s an incredibly flexible system that produces a lot of variety in play, whilst giving the player a large amount of choice in how to develop their character.  Melee types are of especial interest in this system, as instead of simply bumping into enemies players must also consider the best use of activated and sustained skills in overcoming their foes.

One vs ManyThe best thing about the talent system is the variety that exists between the classes.  There is some overlap of talent trees available, but the majority of them are unique to their own class.  Many classes also have their own specific resource bar, often with individual ways to replenish them.  For instance the Cursed class has a “Hate” bar which is filled by killing enemies, encouraging the player to maintain intense killing sprees to keep their abilities at peak performance.

Low HealthThe major fun in the game comes from exploring the dungeons and killing enemies, with careful choices being made about which talents to use and when.  With over 40 abilities available on some characters there are a lot of tactical decisions to be made.  The game is not afraid to break away from tradition, with no food clock, auto-identification of items from early on, and consumables (potions/scrolls etc) replaced by activated “runes/infusions” with cooldowns. Whilst some veteran roguelike enthusiasts may miss the item management gameplay elements the changes do help focus the game purely on the combat. The runes/infusions system especially helps to prevent players from simply amassing potions to escape any harm, and require careful play to use at the optimum time.  The inevitable deaths in the game come entirely from HP-reducing attacks – there are no cheap death rays or instant killing enemies, though monsters that can stun or freeze the player are particularly dangerous.  Gameplay is tight, challenging and very fun, with many interesting bosses and edge-of-your-seat fights.

A Dark CryptThe Inevitable DeathThe game is still in beta stage, and this is noticeable in some of the performance issues and in rough edges at various points.  However it is still eminently playable and completable, and development is ongoing at a breakneck speed.  The last 3 months of 2010 alone have seen 7 major updates, including a great many new features, dungeons, items and a wealth of major gameplay changes.  DarkGod is very active in the ToME community and eminently responsive to suggestions and contributions from players.  For 2011 he is planning a vast upgrade of the tiles with impressive new artwork from Shockbolt, and additional classes/races/quests/zones to move the game out of beta stage.

A sneak-preview of the new-look ToME4:The New Look TrollmireThe New Look Kor'Pul

ToME4 is built on the T-Engine 4 roguelike engine designed by DarkGod, with the core engine code written in C and Lua and module files written entirely in Lua.  The engine is open source and is reported to be extremely flexible and adaptable to new roguelike projects.  To find out more about ToME and T-Engine and to download the latest version visit