Scratching The Surface: Desktop Dungeons

By Kieron Gillen on March 22nd, 2010 at 4:35 pm.

C'mon! Bring it!

Tim Ashcroft gave me the nod on this, which I’d spotted around but hadn’t actually got around to playing. As usual, more fool me. Desktop Dungeons is a short-form rogue game, with almost everything you’d expect in a more traditional game crammed into something you can burn through in 10 minutes. It ends up feeling like a cross between a Rogue game and Minesweeper, with a splash of Patience. I suspect many of you will find a permanent space for it on your laptop, and I explain why below…

It’s an odd one. It’s a game which I respect intellectually more than I love emotionally. It’s simply a very clever piece of design. The basic idea, like a rogue-like, is that you’re dumped in a randomly generated dungeon and have to explore it. You find stuff and it makes you more powerful. You kill stuff and it makes you more powerful. Eventually you get so powerful you take on the big boss and win the game. Desktop Dungeon crams that in one level – but to make it work (i.e. So high level creatures just don’t kill you) lets you take the lead. So monsters just sit there waiting to be challenged rather than hunting you down.

The maths on taking out a monster is absolutely clear, so – assuming you’re willing to do the maths – you know before clicking whether you can do enough damage to triumph in a combat. The game even gives the results of the next blow for you – as in, telling you whether you’re going to live or die. So, assuming you can’t kill them, you explore a little trying to find something else to help – or beat on lesser creatures until you deal with the harder ones. This is where the minesweeper references comes in – as in, you’re trying to figure out exactly what you have to do to remove these blockages. If I kill these 3 lower level monsters, will I have enough to deal with the higher one? And – key question – what’s the best way I can do this to maximise my experience and/or stats growth. Taking out a higher level enemy is tricky, but pays off which much more stats. Is it worth using your healing potions to do that, or should you save them for final battles.

Even whether you should explore of not is key. Health and mana regeneration is tied to discovering new areas on the map. If you’re moving around the previously explored sections, you don’t gain back any of your vitality. In other words, you almost certainly only want to explore the absolute minimum of the area at any time to deal with the threats you’ve exposed. Otherwise, you’re using up one of the only healing resources in the game. In other words, every single decision you make in the game impacts on whether you’ll succeed and fail. The one time I’ve managed to win came down to the very last click – and if I was another character class than the warrior I played, I’d have failed. The “Pit Dog” ability to survive the first death-strike you receive in the game was all that kept me on my feet. In other words, it’s a very hard game.

Bloody grid graphics really don't like being JPGed.

It’s also occasionally an impossible game, which is where we tie to Patience – and, I suspect, why I admire rather than love the game. Occasionally you simply are screwed. There’s been at least one game I’ve played where all my routes to explore were blocked by high level creatures which I simply couldn’t handle and there were no tools around to help. Expand that to the end-game, and it can be incredibly punishing. I’ve won by a single click, yes – but I’ve also lost by one where I realise, all too late, that I should have attacked one monster before the other and now I just have to cash my chips and retire.

A few things save it. Firstly, it’s such a short-form game that it’s not as if you’re throwing away anything significant. Much like Patience, if the cards turn up bad, reshuffle and try again. Secondly, while the random nature of the game can make things impossible, I’ve yet to play a game where I’ve just romped to an easy victory. That every decision can lead to disaster means that your attention is neatly focused – it should be stressed, as compared to other short-form games with similarly cute graphics, this isn’t a casual game ala Minesweeper. This is rock hard. Thirdly, it embraces all sorts of rewards for playing. A simple yet powerful unlocking system is including, rewarding you to experimenting with alternative character types, new dungeons and similar. The game gets ever more complicated the more you play it. I takes a lot from the Rogue games, but puts its own determined spin on it.

As I said, this is a extremely smart design, and worth your serious attention. Go play.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

79 Comments »

  1. Taillefer says:

    Have you played the DROD (Deadly Rooms of Death) games?
    They also made a DROD RPG, and this sounds a little like it. All combat was pure maths with predictable outcomes. Fighting monsters in the wrong order will leave you with too few health points to beat something else, and so on. I can’t recommend it as highly as the original games, though (which are excellent).

    • phlebas says:

      …in fact fighting monsters in the wrong order can leave you with too little to continue a couple of levels later when you can’t go back and there’s no way to fix it. Grr, DRODRPG. I was (also) just thinking this sounded like a stripped down version that might actually work. Looks worth a try!

    • Wulf says:

      I’ve played this and the DROD RPG, this was really quite fun but the DROD RPG had such a purity of refined gameplay that it bordered on being a work of bloody art (as do many Caravel releases).

      That’s all I have to say about that.

    • Markoff Chaney says:

      I love DROD as it is a nigh on perfected slice of the Step puzzle genre. DROD RPG is a great extension of that, and throwback to Tower of the Sorceror. Still some of the better turn based puzzle/thinking games out there in my opinion, but they differ so greatly from roguelikes in that their levels are static and completely winnable every time, even if still brutally difficult at times.

    • Baf says:

      Yes, the combat mechanic is very similar to DROD RPG. It’s no coincidence, either: both games acknowledge inspiration from Tower of the Sorcerer, which is as far as I know the first game to uses the mechanic. The main thing thing that Desktop Dungeons brings to the table in this regard is the randomized levels, which creates a very different experience than the set-in-stone authored puzzle-scenarios of the other two games.

  2. Tei says:

    The roguelike genre is awesome and deserve more attention. Some roguelike games that look naive on the surface have been in development for longer than 7 years (others for maybe 20 years). Gettin deep and more deep is the *point* of roguelikes. Also emergent gameplay, unscripted events that surprise the player.
    The interface (keyboard) is very apt for limited machines (Dumb terminal, netbooks, …) but maybe also unfriendly and menacing like using emacs to write your love letters. Maybe this why is a soo obscure genre.

    Random list of random roguelikes-like games:
    – POWDER.
    – Desktop Dungeons.
    – Spelunky
    – DROD

    • Grawl says:

      Spelunky is a platform game, and not rogue-like at all.

    • Tiktaalik says:

      Spelunky is rogue-like in its essence – random generation of levels etc. It just applies the rogue ethos to the platform mechanic.

      I sound like a walkthrough for a particularly obscure adventure game.

    • Clovis says:

      @Grawl: It is a combination of Rogue-like and platformer. The platformer part is obvious. It is rogue-like because the boards are randomly generated. The items that you find are different each time. One playthrough of Spelunky can be very, very different than another based on what items or situations are available. It is also very difficult and relies on the player learning the rules of survival through trial and error. This all adds up to rogue-like, or, at least, rogue-like-like.

      We can all agree that Spelunky is fantastic though, right?

    • 7hm says:

      Spelunky is enough of a roguelike for me to consider it such. Yeah it doesn’t have many traditional elements (being real-time and a platformer are obvious ones) but it does have many similarities to the genre.

      I’ve been reading about this one since it popped up at TIGSource but haven’t tried it yet.

    • MWoody says:

      I’d even go so far as to call Diablo a roguelike, albeit a “light” version.

    • Nick says:

      ADOM is still my favourite.

    • KillahMate says:

      It applies the rogue ethos to the platform mechanic, or else it gets the hose again!

      Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

    • Gareth says:

      @Tei (@! geddit? :P) POWDER is a brilliant rogue-like if only for it’s sensible control scheme and functional gfx. It works on your DS if you have the right bits and as such I play it almost everyday when I have a spare 10-15 minutes (usually when I get in bed). That and Shiren are the only Rogue-likes for me. I’m trying NetHack at the moment but I’m not enjoying it as much as those two. I think I like the refined/simplified approach rather than the obscure/too many possibilities approach.

      Looking forward to checking Desktop Dungeon out when I get home from work this eve. Sounds good from all the comments.

  3. Eggy says:

    Been playing this for a month or so, and am still completely shit at it. Tons of fun though

  4. Max says:

    Derek Yu (of Spelunky fame) made an excellent tileset for Desktop Dungeons that makes it much easier on the eyes.

    http://forums.tigsource.com/index.php?topic=11688.0

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Max: Yay! Hypercute. Thanks.

      KG

    • cheeba says:

      That Derek YU tileset’s moved this from ‘hmm, maybe’ territory into ‘downloading right this second’. Fantastic stuff.

    • Jesse says:

      Good lord, he’s like some kind of superhero… Hey Derek, while you’re busy making everything awesome, how about a mouse-based UI for Dwarf Fortress with pop-up tool tips? That’s really all I need now k thx.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      He’s a hero. The RPS chatroom just realised we’ve never even tried to interview Yu, which is a terrible oversight.

      KG

    • Lambchops says:

      Yeah, Derek has done a lot of good stuff.

      My only mild irritation with him was when he didn’t reply to any of my emails asking for a new download link to Aquaria when I fancied playing it agian. My old one had expired and I’d got a new laptop since I first played it. :-(

      This is why I like physical copies or Steam. Though it is my own fault for not backing up the install file when I changed laptop.

    • FRIENDLYUNIT says:

      Hey! This tileset should totally be mentioned as an edit in the main article for those that dont read comments.

    • MacD says:

      That link (and just base tigsource!) just won’t resolve for me?! It just gives me a “server not found” error :(

      I’m in europe, if that’sa location based problem…

      Can anyone post Derek Yu’s tileset on rapidshare/megaupload or something, or link to a dlownload which isn’t on tigsource? Thanks…

  5. Clovis says:

    Based on the screenshots only, I’m under the impression that this game mostly involves shooting lasers (or vomit) out of the PC’s mouth. Is this correct?

    • Wulf says:

      Nnnnot exactly…

      Those red lines you see are waypointlines, basically you can click your character and drag a ‘GO HERE!’ line around, and when you let go of the mouse button your character scutters off to the destination. So those red beams are actually part of the UI rather than something happening in the game.

  6. pfox says:

    @Grawl : Actually.. Derek Yu himself says that Spelunky has roguelike elements and has heavily inspired by the genre (the procedural aspects of it chief amongst them.. but other things like the shop/shopkeeper).

    Because it lacks the usual trappings of the genre and looks more like something else doesn’t exclude it from consideration.

  7. Svenska says:

    Why is this PC only?

    Only had a few months with my Mac, and I can already feel the anger welling up inside.

  8. Pamplemousse says:

    This looks a little meh when compared to his Spacehack game.

    That looks very promising.

    • Feste says:

      It’s starts off as quite a nice diversion, but can easily descend into a early-morning one-more-go marathons once you figure out the tricks.

      For some reason I hadn’t looked at Spacehack. It does look fun, although I am worried about all the X and A buttons on the screenshots, maybe not a PC title?

  9. LionsInnards says:

    Wow, this game came out of my local gaming magazine’s little slice of the internet (I hail from backwards-ass South Africa). Nice to see some of our talent making splashes.

    Would it be rude to link to our dev community’s site? There’s an article by the creator of DD on the front page, about what he learned while making it: http://www.devmag.org.za/

  10. El Stevo says:

    Speaking of Minesweeper, I got my first sub-100 score recently.

  11. Feste says:

    I’ve been playing this for about a month or so, and there was a point where I was ignoring Dragon Age for it. The utter remorselessness of the generation coupled with a brutal distillation of the rule set to easy maths was like catnip.

    Partly it’s the unlockable aspect of the game, the more you play it, the more random it gets, the interesting it gets; partly it’s how with just a few changes in the rules between classes you have to play entirely differently: a monk who regenerates a 2x speed can wear down higher level monsters, but an assassin just needs a couple of good fights before he starts insta-killing lower-level monsters.

    The new 0.51 version adds some nice challenges and new dungeons which can really change the game as well.

    • Kieron Gillen says:

      Just completed it for the second time, opening up the monk. It really is a lovely design.

      KG

    • Feste says:

      It truly is, the monk is a really interesting character, it took me quite a while to figure out how to play him. I’ve struggled recently with it, some of the challenges seem designed to remove a class’s trick to surviving and at times it can feel like I’m just waiting for the luck of the RNG.

    • Lambchops says:

      The monk was my second win. I was pretty fortunate in that I got the summon glyph early on. The summon glyph is definitely the monk’s best friend as it allows you to take the fights to you without exploring the dungeon; which means the monks best trait (rapid health regen) isn’t wasted on finding monsters to kill. The game is really neat in having such differing tactics for different classes to figure out; nicely introduces a puzzly enemies.which I often find lacking in the roguelikes I’ve played so far (which just seem to go for hard as nails excuses to kill you).

    • Feste says:

      That, and one the latter glyphs which really helps him win a war of attrition. I tend to like Dwarf Monks to try and maximise the health regen. I found it quite difficult at first though, the lack of damage it can do is almost counter-intuitive.

  12. faelnor says:

    The best thing since Yoda Stories!

  13. TimA says:

    Yay, nice writeup. I love this game but holy crap do I suck at it. Only completed it with the human fighter so far. Still it drags me in…

    Oh, and if you know you can’t win, don’t die needlessly! Retire and keep some gold for your next run :) Saying that, I occasionally “ahh screw it!”, attack, die.

  14. LionsPhil says:

    No love for Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup?

    It doesn’t have Nethack’s decades of The Devteam Thinks of Everything, sadly, but it’s one of the most beautifully polished roguelikes I’ve ever seen. It scales and rearranges the interface automatically between big Macs and little original 800×480 EeePC. It tries to not kill you through “well, you said ‘eat’, and you’re standing on a cockatrice corpse, so…” jackassery. It has a freaking working tutorial.

    It’s still bastard-hard, but at least you don’t die because the movement keys are the same as the confirm/deny keys or such UI hate. (Confirming serious actions is shift-Y.) And you can do quite a lot of controlling with a mouse, if you’re a deviant.

    • TimA says:

      Oh DCSS is fantastic. I prefer it to Nethack myself, I just find it much more fun. Some other recommendations: Prospector (set in space, you fly about the galaxy and can land on planets), Frozen Depths, and of course Doom RL.

    • MWoody says:

      Oh, I’ll definitely second a recommendation for Crawl Stone Soup. Many team-produced roguelikes – i.e. Nethack – suffer from some very poor “kitchen sink” design, i.e. including a feature because it’s fun, easy, or interesting to code, not because it actually makes the player experience better. Crawl makes a concerted effort to be a fun game without the need of constant references to spoilers or FAQs, and even goes so far as to discuss their design philosophy and the specific reasons for certain gameplay choices in the manual. Little things like not being able to sell items sound bizarre but, ultimately, make it so much more fun to play – in this example, because it means you never feel compelled to squirrel away useless gear and finding money on the ground is actually a happy event.

      I’ve long held that the Elder Scrolls series would benefit tremendously from adopting the Crawl method of handling XP and skill-ups. For those unfamiliar with the system, it’s essentially the basic “increase skills by using them” standard with several outstanding caveats:
      – Whenever a player kills a creature or does something otherwise noteworthy, he gets XP like a traditional RPG. This goes into a total that, at certain predetermined points, lets the player “level up” for more mana/health and, periodically, an increase in a stat. The usual, in other words.
      – However, whenever XP is earned, it ALSO goes into a “pool” of usable points.
      – Whenever a skill is used, points are taken from this pool and added to a value specific to that skill. So if you get 20 XP for killing a rat, then walk around near a trap, each step takes 5 XP from your pool and adds it to “detect traps.” If the pool is empty, and it often is, using a skill doesn’t increase its value at all.
      – When the skill-specific pool gets high enough, that skill goes up by one. The target value gets higher in typical XP-scale style as the skill level gets higher, but what’s more interesting is that these target values are modified by race. So a hobbit can be given a bonus to, say, small daggers by making his “small blades” skill only take 80% of normal to increase. It goes in the other way, too, with Demigods and Trolls having values well above 100% to simulate their lowered intelligence or poor adaptability.
      – Players can – and should – disable the skillups for skills they don’t intend to use. So if, say, you eventually intend to wear armor but you found a great robe in the early game, you can prevent yourself from gaining skill in dodging (a light-armor skill) by disabling it. The skill still works, it just isn’t allowed to take points from your XP pool.
      – Certain items, generally called books or tomes, have limited uses but will let you dump a huge chunk of your XP pool into a skill pool.

      It’s a delightfully simple system that allows for a “learn by doing” approach without ever devolving into Oblivion’s “sit in the corner casting spells for five hours to hit max level” problem.

    • Feste says:

      Thirded. I went through a phase of trying out lots of roguelikes and Stone Soup is pretty much the only one I still fire up and play. It’s got that nice balance of a well-thought out rule set alongside some quite ridiculous possible builds; I love starting as a Minotaur Chaos Knight and just killing everything that I see.

      @Play on GameSetWatch had a nice little series about it recently. It even mentioned the Orc Jesus option: play an Orc priest and every orc you see will follow you, and there’s a lot of orcs in the dungeon. Oh, and they level up too. Every game should have Orc Jesus.

    • TheApplePie says:

      @LionsPhil

      Well, since Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup is my favourite game of them all I might as well take the opportunity to shamelessly advertise that you can also play it online on the public servers (if you are not afraid of the ASCII characers). It has leaderboards and even an annual tournament with clans and achievements. Look forward to the release of the new version (0.6) soon too! And it is available on Mac. :) The relevant sites you might want to check out are the development blog and the public server.

    • Oddtwang says:

      @MWoody : In the case of NetHack, a literal kitchen sink.

      I fourth (or whatever we’re up to) the DCSS recommendation – it takes the fun bits of Roguelikes and strips out all the crap (boring, repetitive tasks, too-similar races and classes, utterly redundant stats, vast lists of arcane commands – Ancient Domains of Wipe (F)acery, anyone? – reams of meta-knowledge required to win an so on) to leave a gleaming core of brilliant game with a clear set of design principles and a team unafraid to remove things which aren’t working. The community is great too – play on the online server mentioned above and hang out in ##crawl on irc.freenode.net and you’ll be able to find a number of people who’ll be happy to offer advice. How anyone could go back from it to another RL I’ve no idea.

  15. Pl4t0 says:

    Personally, i much preferred the little Roguelike “Madness” – essentially an even simpler version of this game, just WAY better in almost every regard.

  16. Markoff Chaney says:

    I actually found out about this one when I was doing some digging about my new addiction Din’s Curse, a quite nice ARPG roguelike in beta being created by Soldak Entertainment. While Desktop Dungeon is not as deep as I prefer from my chaotic roguelikes, at least in what I’ve seen so far, I am greatly enjoying it in bite sized increments. Thanks for the tip on the tileset. On one other note, it just may be the masochist in me, but I enjoy when I roll a 1 on a level and die in a wonderful way. It’s just something to keep me coming back from more and I feel much more Balboaesque when I come back from a horrific death and meet my adversary once again, even a little wiser.

    /rant – Perceived unfairness is part of chaos and randomness. It may be cheap and unwinnable, but I maintain that when you roll an unwinnable dungeon, much as when you botch a saving throw for example, it is fair. Not all situations are winnable and when games are relegated to the mindset that you can always win then it takes a bit of fun out of those encounters for me. If all I have to do is perfect a pattern, while that undoubtedly takes skill, I still feel that the pattern is usually, at its heart, less work for my mind than is my having to apply a constantly changing algorithm to an ever changing emergent dynamically created chaotic world.

    • Feste says:

      What I think this game does brilliantly though is make the losing easy. Because it is so very very hard, (for example, I believe that if you only fight monsters your own level you’ll end up lvl 8 while the boss monster is lvl 10), I don’t mind so much when I die.

      Regarding your comment about a changing algorithm, the different classes show how much just even a small change in the rule set can do to alter how the game plays. Because the game is so hard, you don’t have the luxury of playing an ‘armoured mage’ al la Dragon Age; so you develop extreme builds and play styles just to survive. Importantly, it’s up to you which class you play as so while there’s enough to keep it interesting, the rule set isn’t random, just the game board.

    • Markoff Chaney says:

      Absolutely. Different classes are essential to the joy of any true roguelike since it offers the ability to tweak your ruleset that you, as the player character, are constrained by when inhabiting the game world. It makes old patterns that were perfected be completely obsolete and makes your mind move in alternative directions. When I find myself not thinking as much as I feel I should (or reaching the zen state that’s too easy to reach in most ARPGS) in my way of approaching encounters in a dungeon crawl, I change my class and start over at the top. Keeps my brain on its toes. :)

    • Feste says:

      Yep, and the beauty of it in small games like this is that you will get to try them all. The difference between a Sprigan Enchanter and a Minataur Chaos Knight is just immense, while in Dragon Age it’s highly unlikely that I’ll play an Elven Rogue or Dwarven Commoner, the time sink is just too great.

  17. Robsoie says:

    Desktop Dungeon is a masterpiece of addictive brillant gameplay and design decisions.

    It manages to seduce players that are usually turned away from half of the existing roguelikes cons (ASCII-only, unintuitive interface, hundred of keyboard combinations to know, stupid random death without any possibility to have avoided them, etc..).

    And because of the perfected game mechanism and this mix of puzzle (despite the randomness you need to clearly think lots of turn ahead to solve most situations) and roguelike, it will not turn away anyone that play in the rogue genre regularly.
    Mixed with the unlock system, that’s a fantastic and extremely replayable coffee breaker.

    Additionally, it can be seen as a good introduction to the roguelike world.

    And mentionning roguelike, play Dungeon Crawl “Stone Soup”
    http://crawl.develz.org/wordpress/
    For me one of the best and most balanced title in the rogue genre, accessible and interesting to both beginner and seasoned explorers, features a good mouse interface and enough floating tooltips to help beginners for the keys combinations (very well done to not turn anyone away) and all the feature people expect from the genre.

    And the tile version features a very nice graphic tileset that will please the eyes very well.

  18. geldonyetich says:

    This game really is less of a Roguelike and more of a fantasy minesweeper where the goal is to attack and defeat a particularly nasty mine. I do like it based off of one fundamental value: it’s hard. Too many games don’t particularly challenge the player in a meaningful manner. This one does offer an excellent balance of challenge. Not like Spelunky does – it’s not a thing that challenges your reflexes – it’s completely turn-based, like chess, but not quite as ambiguous as to which piece to move now in order to get victory.

    • Ganabul says:

      …except, after gouging away at it for an unhealthily long clickfest (all normal classes & races unlocked, and all dungeons except the factory completed) I became aware of some of its weaknesses; the hardness is too much a function of the randomness – in the early game because of bad luck with finding level 1s, and in the end game with the actual bosses, some of which are clearly designed to be (near) impossible for certain classes, max level or not. On the flipside, some of the random combos make for stupidly easy runs – I had a priest in the crypt who found both the ‘good’ god altar and the resistance to manaburn item, and the difficulty level disappeared. Oddly, some of the fun goes out when the better combinations are unlocked (assassin’s gem + spell caster + flame bolt, for example), and the frustration when you don’t have those options increases.

      Still, a bargain at the price.

  19. Lambchops says:

    I got this game a lot more the second time I played it (the first time I went exploring everywhere and wasn’t able to boost up my health by exploration which just led to me running out of potions later on).

    Normally I’d probably pass it off as a decent distraction but since other people have suggested it becomes more interesting the more you unlock I might stick with it. It’s the perfect type of game that I can play for half an hour so as a break in revising before going back to work.

    Good find.

  20. yabonn_fr says:

    I find the Patience reference a bit unfair to the game.

    There’s lots of attention to the mechanics of the game, lots of invention – fine, fine, craftsmanship.

  21. TheDustin says:

    I really, really love this design, and Derek’s tileset is a nice cherry on top.

    DoomRL is an excellent roguelike as well, btw.

  22. Jesse says:

    Having played two rounds, I find the game doesn’t scratch my Roguelike itch, but rather my math itch…which I haven’t got. I was inoculated in a young age, in public school. Think I’ll look up Dungeon Crawl. And Spacehack, that looks ace. Thanks commenters!

  23. Yougiedeggs says:

    Just lost by one click…

  24. Crapknocker says:

    To be somewhat fair, Spelunky very rarely tests your reflexes. I know it’s not a ‘never’ like most other roguelikes, but that little bit makes it a different kind of fun. At least for me.

  25. Nat says:

    This is an amazing game. I’ve been playing it about 1-2 hours a day for the past two weeks. The first boss kill comes pretty easily and the second is the toughest.

    The beauty of it is that the more you play the more classes, characters, monsters, and items unlock. It’s hard to describe, but it makes the game easier and harder at the same time.

    Also, Derek Yu, the guy who did Spelunky, has also done a tileset for this which is fabulous–which I think someone has mentioned earlier.

  26. malkav11 says:

    Three runs so far. Run one (human fighter) ended when I inadvertently sacrificed all ten of my max HP to my new god. Whoops. Run two (human fighter) was a slow, bloody, fireball glyph intensive slog through meat man after meat man, but I finally toppled the goblin boss. Run three was a dwarf priest vs. a map consisting almost entirely of zombies and wraiths. Mana burn was a pain in the rear but, I mean… 200% damage against almost every enemy on the map. I rocked face, destroyed the boss (another zombie, this time with 636 hp), and retired. Neither winning character got to level 10.

  27. Supertonic says:

    For the linux-heads among you, it works fine on NVIDIA through Wine, will probably work on ATI proprietary but at present doesn’t work on ATI open drivers. I reckon a couple of releases will sort that though :P

  28. JuJuCam says:

    My personal favourite roguelike du jour is Transcendence, a SubSpace / Flatspace esque space based pseudo-roguelike. It just hit version 1.0 recently although I hadn’t heard about it previously. Definitely needs some RPS love.

    Plenty of mods available from what I can tell, too, although I’m still poking through vanilla and finding new things each playthrough.

  29. Lucas says:

    Thanks for the tip! I looked at Transcendence a while ago but decided to wait for the 1.0 release.

  30. terry says:

    Crumbs, this is rather addictive, isn’t it? It doesn’t so much have that “one more shot” vibe so much as “its a single goddamn screen! how hard can this be? DAMMIT! Okay, this time!” vibe.

  31. Richard Clayton says:

    “something you can burn through in 10 minutes”, my arse. Where did my afternoon go?

    I’m somewhat addicted.

    Just going to have one more game…

    • Sanns says:

      Haha; I’ll hear that. My games are more like 20-30 minutes each, and of course you can never have just one.

      Very well made–particularly how each class is subtly different enough to demand a unique playstyle to be successful. (I’m still trying to figure out how to win with a Wizard…) I just wish there wasn’t that “Oh sorry you actually can’t win this round” element to it.

    • Richard Clayton says:

      @Sanns: Yes, some kind of algorithm to ensure a winable map would be an advantage. I wonder what the ratio of winnable vs. unwinnable maps are from a random generation.

      Overall love it though. My progress is just too slow and I don’t seem to be learning. Not sure how much is to do with the randomness or my shody strategies!

      I can’t see me stopping anytime soon though. Great stuff.

  32. Lambchops says:

    Having played this a bit more I’ve got to say I’m very impressed with how the unlock system works. Too often unlock systems are just tagged on or end up either overpowering you or making the game a grind to get enough unlocks to play it without struggling.

    In the case of this one though the unlocks reward you, add more challenge and force you to rethink tactics. So far it’s just seemed incredibly well balanced and keeps me wanting to go back for another go.

  33. Pie21 says:

    Woo! Won on my first run through, default Human Fighter. It came down to the last click, and just like Kieron, the resist killing blow thing saved me. I actually thought I was going to die, but couldn’t do anything about it, so I thought “meh” and clicked him anyway.

    Also I love the tallying up of bonuses at the end – reminds me of Goldeneye multiplayer. The end was always the best part :).

  34. Eric says:

    I agree that roguelikes are great, but 75% of the games you listed are not roguelikes.
    -Spelunky is not a roguelike – it’s a platformer.
    -DROD is not a roguelike – it’s a puzzle game.
    -Desktop Dungeons is not a roguelike – it’s a puzzle game.

    POWER is a roguelike and a fun one too

  35. Eric says:

    the reply button doesn’t seem to work so i’ll try this again:

    I agree that roguelikes are great, but 75% of the games you listed are not roguelikes.
    -Spelunky is not a roguelike – it’s a platformer.
    -DROD is not a roguelike – it’s a puzzle game.
    -Desktop Dungeons is not a roguelike – it’s a puzzle game.

    POWER is a roguelike and a fun one too

  36. Wowch says:

    Holy crap, I just lost 5 hours :(

    Powder was the reason I picked up an R4 card in the first place – the £15 cost for the card was a bargain for the number of hours I’ve put into it (in hundreds of tiny 10 minute chunks…).

    I also really enjoyed Gruesome, a neat little coffee-break rogue-like that makes you feel deliciously wicked!

  37. Auspex says:

    OMG ARGH ITSBLOOMING1AMIHATEYOURPS!

    Ahem.

    I am not sure if I love or hate this but I have a dissertation to write!

    Ooh I unlocked “Library” level!

  38. Tay Guan Lik says:

    The only rougelike game i ever like is ZAngBandTk! This remind me a lot of my childhood~~

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>