Catacomb Kids Will Win You Over Within 55 Seconds

By John Walker on November 27th, 2013 at 12:00 pm.

Here are my thoughts during the first 55 seconds of the Catacomb Kids video:

“Looks nice, but sure looks like yet another pixel roguelike.”
“He’s got a really decent jump. That’s neat.”
“Wait, distractions? There’s more happening here.”
“Oh. Oooohhhh. Oh, okay, yeah, I’m posting about this.

I think the best thing is to watch this video for yourself:

See? SEE?

It is, inevitably, being Kickstartered. But after that it would seem a manner of madness if it weren’t immediately funded – I’m not sure how it’s taking so long. Developer FourbitFriday is asking for $20,000, and is currently over $14k with a fortnight to go. I’d suggest he switch the current pitch video for the one above, though, and I think he’ll see the cash come pouring in.

The game is, he estimates, 18% complete, so there’s obviously a long way to go. But blimey-o-crikey, that 18% looks intriguing. He wants to put another 8 months into it, and that’s what the $20k should cover, along with paying for music. $10 gets you the finished game on release, while $16 gets you access to the alphas and betas when they happen.

Of course there’s a Greenlight,

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113 Comments »

  1. ZIGS says:

    It’s the Deus Ex of indie 2D roguelikes!

  2. EOT says:

    I’m trying to think of what the character animations remind me of and all I can think of is the Wacky Waving Arm Inflatable Tube Man. The main character’s limbs just seem to be pin-jointed to the torso leading to a spastic, flailing appearance. It’s quite off putting.

  3. Grey Poupon says:

    Looks more like a platformer than a roguelike.

    • Kitsunin says:

      Could you people give up already…

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        jrodman says:

        Nah, the people who are wrong should give up.

        • Kitsunin says:

          The people who call their games roguelikes when they don’t fulfill the Berlin interpretation are just using the only name they have, and the one that will sell their game. Binding of Isaac, Spelunky and such’s widespread popularity, calling themselves roguelikes, for lack of a better term, has led the terms meaning to where it lies today. Every person that uses it is only going along with the flow. It’s annoying to constantly hear people complain about how the definition is being misused when they can’t offer a better alternative themselves that’s actually marketable.

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            jrodman says:

            Where the term’s meaning is today is not really changed.
            There are just some people using it incorrectly.

            The broad population using “passive aggressive” to mean anything they feel like has not removed the actual meaning of passive aggressive as acting out aggression through passivity, inaction, or assumed helplessness. There’s just a lot of poeple using the term incorrectly.

          • killias2 says:

            Words aren’t defined by lone crusaders commenting on Internet Web pages. They’re defined by their usage over time, which is why words sometimes change meaning.

            Get red in the face about this all you want. Nobody gives a shit.

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            jrodman says:

            Uh, if anyone is getting red in the face it’s you.

          • Berzee says:

            But killias2, if your position is that words are defined by how “people” use them, you must at least be sure to factor in the “lone crusaders” usage along with all the other usages when determining the amalgamated meaning of “roguelike”.

          • Baines says:

            The Berlin interpretation was created because people had been arguing over whether certain games were Roguelikes, and whether certain features excluded a game from being a Roguelike. That should be a warning sign there, as the people arguing the strongest for an official definition were generally the people who wanted the most restrictive definition. They weren’t out to define Roguelikes as much as to create justification for saying “X isn’t a Roguelike”.

            This of course led to a degree of fun as definition makers tried to come up with a set of rules that discounted various undesired games without also accidentally discounting games like Nethack. (The same thing later happened in the fighting game community, except never in some “official” sense, where people would try to come up with definitions that would exclude Smash Bros without excluding “accepted” fighting games that implemented some mechanics similar to the big complaints about Smash, while at the same time trying to come up with definitions that sounded like something more than a petty grudge.)

            Afterwards, the Berlin interpretation was posted online. Some people not present at the creation (as well as at least one who I believe was) immediately poked holes in it and made counter arguments against certain points, but those arguments were ignored.

            The whole thing was really a pointless exercise anyway. What was accepted as a Roguelike, and in a Roguelike, had already been changing over time even before an effort was made to make an official definition. Something that one year would be considered a discounting feature all by itself would years later be accepted (largely because a game like Nethack would implement it.) Examples being graphics as well as mouse support. The definition of a Roguelike was already fluid on details, while the Berlin interpretation was designed to use details to exclude certain games.

          • killias2 says:

            @Baines
            Yeah, I love how people try to cite the Berlin Interpretation, as though it has any authority to control language at all.

            @jrodman
            ;-)

            @Berzee
            Yeah, they do count in the amalgamated whole, but they don’t get undue weight just because they take things too seriously or complain a lot. Otherwise, Steam would be long dead.

          • RichardDastardly says:

            You don’t need the Berlin interpretation to define a Rouguelike. The game is not a rogue like. Neither is Spelunky and a lot of games given the name. The last true Roguelike to come out in recent memory is Sword of the Stars the Pit. Rougelikes have turns in them. Cardinal Quest is a Roguelike. The Binding of Issac is not, though it’s damn close.

    • Squirly says:

      Amazingly enough, it can actually be both.

      • Grey Poupon says:

        Yet it’s not. Games like ADOM and Sword of the Stars: The Pit are roguelikes. Would just be nice if at least games journos would be interested in genre definitions.

      • dE says:

        A roguelite, if you want. Hey, why not just use that term? It describes everything perfectly and makes it clear that the game is not a roguelike – but a game that picks up a small amount of roguelike elements and incorporates them into something else.

        • Kitsunin says:

          A roguelite is a rogue demo…a roguelike, following the definition of only games like ADOM and Elona fitting, sounds like a rogue-clone to me. There’s just as much logic behind one definition as the other.

          That said, I can understand why it’d be frustrating to have this whole new big thing tail on to your already-established term, but it’s not going to go away until someone actually thinks of a good term. No, roguelite is not a good term, and roguelike-like is an even worse term.

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            jrodman says:

            Roguelike has 30 years of established stability. It doesn’t mean this new thing just because some people are wrong.

          • Kitsunin says:

            Anything can mean anything if enough people believe it.

          • dE says:

            What? Roguelite is precisely the correct term. It denotes a game that uses some, but not all of the elements that make a roguelike (see Berlin Interpretation). How is this the wrong term for platformers that dip into random generation and perma-death but ignore turn based gameplay? Doesn’t need any other definition. It fits perfectly.

            It’s only ever come under fire when people with no idea about the genre, started using it for things that were in fact not roguelike. You don’t just go and call Call of Duty a RPG, because it has items and level ups in it. That’s absurd.

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            jrodman says:

            Thank you for your useless chestnut.

            From now on Kitsunin shall mean “overworked seamstress”.

          • Kitsunin says:

            What? It’s true. When you’re talking about semantics, being wrong and right has absolutely no bearing on anything. Forte is actually pronounced exactly like fort, but if you pronounce it that way people will think you’re a pedantic arsehole.

            The problem with the “roguelite” moniker, is that the lite tag implies taking a game, chopping of some complexity, and that being your new game. For example Divekick is a fighting game lite, Awesomenauts is a MOBA-lite. Dungeons of Dremor would be a roguelite. The point is, it’s not a marketable term, mostly.

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            jrodman says:

            I think all that sewing is getting to you.

            Semantics is the matter of what words mean. You can be wrong in this topic area. If you insist that “fruit” is actually prounced “vegetable” and means something about a rotational axis, you’re making assertions about semantics. Those assertions that are just wrong.

            Because language has no central authority that arbitrates these things (though some have government arms that try, but they have limited influence), it drifts and changes, which makes these things muddy at times. To conclude this inexactness means there’s no right and wrong usages is a foolish error made by neophytes.

            Forte is a good example. It’s more or less a wholly invented word in English. It sure seems like it has roots in the French word for strong, but it’s not spelled nor used in the same way (it’s gotten an accent even for decades), and so we have to treat it as a wholly seperate word. People who insist it should be pronounced like the French word it resembles are making things up. Sometimes making things up wins to the extent that the language changes, but in this case it has not happened, and if you look at the history and etymology there’s no actual substantiation for the idea that it should be prounced “fort”. Essentially that’s a sort of pronunciation cousin to a folk-etymology.

            That doesn’t mean that all interpretations of terms are correct.

            At my company, a large number of people began to think that “deprecate” meant “removed” or “turned off entirely”. That was wrong. They had a working private definition of this word that they could use to communicate among themselves. However, by using this word they were saying not what they meant, but something else. They created non-meaning and wrong-meaning. This caused practical issues for customers. It took me around 6 months to successfully educate the staff of the correct meaning of the term, although mostly I hoped to encourage the use of more easily understood terms like “removed”, “ignored”, “not recommended” or “superseded”.

          • DrollRemark says:

            This argument reminds me of how my teenage best friend used to hate the “indie” music genre name, purely because most bands in it were no longer independent artists. Obviously he had an amazing success there, since we no longer call it that, right?

            Kitsunin is completely right. The specifics of a language are almost entirely determined by how the majority of those speakers choose to use it. Usage controls definition, not the other way around.

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Except of course when it doesn’t. I’ve already given two counter-examples, so the additional chestnuts… well.. roast em.

            The “indie” scenario is entirely dissimilar in any event. Indie gained broader recognition at a time when indie music had a recognizable sound. The term ended up tracking the sound instead of the status. Yes, the term was being used in a way that was factually inaccurate as far as the meaning of the word mean, but what was being *described* was the sound of the music. This is standard practice for music which is full of crazy terms like “Intelligent Dance Music”. If you try to make the genre names fit into a rigid logic you’ll go nuts. But that doesn’t mean you can say your new smooth jazz albumm is “intelligent dance music”. I mean you can say it but you’re just being ridiculous and wrong.

            We have our local corollaries in gaming, like “Role Playing Game”, which hasn’t got much to do with the original words. We just have to accept that RPG refers to certain earmark elements of a particular genre and its related works in our context. People argue it at length on forums but no one really is proposing that we return the term to things like “Scenario, you are a policeman. and you over there are a criminal breaking into the museum… GO!” The useful component of using the term “RPG” in gaming is that it has a stable meaning. If you change it every year then it’s kind of pointless.

          • grimdanfango says:

            What does the word “nice” mean to you? To me, it has a pretty clear and undebatable meaning. Someone could use it to call someone stupid, but we both *know* that would be a clear and obvious misuse of the word.

            Now look up the etymology of “nice”.

          • Berzee says:

            jrodman, owing to your many and colorful analogies about seamstresses and rotational axes, you are my favorite-person-of-the-day. *thumbsup*

            grimfandango: “Very true, and this is a very nice day, and we are taking a very nice walk; and you are two very nice young ladies. Oh! It is a very nice word indeed! It does for everything.”

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            jrodman says:

            The weird part is I don’t disagree with the idea that usage defines language for the most part, though I pointed out some exceptions. I just am pointing to 30 years of usage that is still current and ongoing.

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            Dare_Wreck says:

            jrodman – and yet, you don’t seem to have a problem with the flexible definition of the term “beta” over in the InXile/Wasteland 2 article. Very weird.

          • Moraven says:

            For awhile I used to argue the merits of differentiating various electronic music, since a lot would simply be bundled as “Techno”. I have been convinced by another with a better ear to music that really, no one cares.

          • Berzee says:

            {reply fail}

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            jrodman says:

            Again you seem to be imagining a position I don’t have.

            The point is that roguelike does not actually have a common usage that describes “action platformer with twitch elements, moderate complexity and randomization”. The only thing that is sort of on the rise is using the word “roguelike” to mean lots of different vaguely related games which are highly dissimilar to each other. It’s a classic case of new users of a term who don’t know what the term means misapplying it all over the place. When new users of a term misapply it in a consistent way you get new usage. When they misapply it in random ways you just get nonsense.

            That *happened* for “beta” in software development, and those people were wrong. But over time a clear new meaning dominated which was “when we show it to people”.

            Again the point is not “language change is not allowed” but that not all misunderstanding of words is language change that is either cemented or conveys meaning. Most language variation goes away shortly, before it ever becomes standard usage, so to argue that a new pattern of use that 1 – has not conveyed any new idea 2 – does not have any internal consistency, 3 – does not have broad cultural adoption; is the new “standard usage” is farcical. That’s entirely consistent with everything people have said in rebuttal. Or non-rebuttal as I see it.

          • The Random One says:

            ” Roguelike has 30 years of
            established stability. It doesn’t mean this new thing just because some people are wrong.”

            You do know “car” meant “carriage” for hundreds of years, right?

            Also, if groups of people everywhere start to pronounce fruit “vegetable” and use it to refer to something related to a rotational axis, and you say that’s not the correct way to use the word, then no, it’s you who are making semantic claims.

          • Jack Mack says:

            Geeze, people really care about having proper categories for things. I don’t understand it at all.

            The way this medium works is that someone makes a game, then a lot of people take the elements they like out of it and mix-and-match them with elements that come from other games or their own ideas. Games are all, inherently, a hodge-podge of ideas from everywhere. Genres are vague, simplistic things we apply after the fact.

            It’s useful to say “This part of this game comes from Rogue”, but why is it useful to spread a definition across an entire game and say “This game does not take enough parts from Rogue to be called a Rogue-like”? What is the benefit of having this discussion?

            It seems like the most petty goal in the world, honestly. Say you win, everyone agrees that Roguelike means turn-based etc etc – then what? Are you actually going to do anything with this victory?

    • Niko says:

      Those are not mutually exclusive, plus, genres merge, mutate, borrow from each other, it’s natural. Can’t keep to the old definitions forever.

      • Berzee says:

        Or one moment longer than strictly necessary. ;) Hopefully by next November we’ll have a shiny new name for procedural generation and permadeath in games (Spelunkylike is a nice-sounding word, anyhow!).

    • cckerberos says:

      To be fair, the developer himself refers to the game as a “roguelike” so it’s not surprising John used the term.

      Yeah, people are tired of this argument but the misuse of the term bothers me as well. Rogue was the first PC game I ever played, so it has a special place in gaming history for me. Personally, if a game doesn’t have most of the following elements, it’s hard for me to consider something a roguelike:

      1. ASCII or tile-based graphics
      2. fantasy theme
      3. procedurally generated levels
      4. high difficulty
      5. permadeath
      6. long time required to complete
      7. turn-based combat

      • Premium User Badge

        jrodman says:

        Many of these are essential not just typical.

        For example, if it hasn’t turn-based combat then you simply can’t have the same relationship with the high challenge and randomization. It’s a fundamentally different game experience.

        In a roguelike, when you get into trouble you slow down and consider your actions carefully. In one of these platformer things that isn’t a reasonable thing to do at all. The way the features interact results in a completely dissimilar design and game experience, they’re not even in the same genre. It’s just some lifting of ideas and mechanics.

        Cross-pollenation is fine and all, but this is like calling pacmania a “platformer” because it has jumping.

        • danijami23 says:

          Quick! Someone call the genre police!! we may have a breach!

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            _Nocturnal says:

            Those irresponsible fools! Soon they’ll start using the word “comedy” for things lacking essential characteristics like “occurring in Ancient Greece”, “featuring musical performances by a chorus” and “involving exclusively male performers”! It is the End Times, I tell you!

        • Nevard says:

          This seems pretty clear to me, this game contains some of the elements of the game Rogue, but not all of them.
          If it was the same game as Rogue I suppose I would call it a “Rogue”, as it is merely similar to Rogue I guess I would describe it as similar to Rogue, or “Rogue-like”

          • Berzee says:

            But also: it’s a Mario-like. Sort of a Mario meets Rogue.

            “Meets meets meets” > “-like” ???

          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            The first roguelike was called “hack”. It was intended more or less as an exact clone of the mechanics, similar to if you wrote your own version of Pac-Man and called it Hack-Man. It was called a ‘rogue-like’ since it it was intended to be a version of rogue.

            Other games also were written around the same time. The other early entrant was Moria, which was not intended to play exactly like rogue, but to be a very similar game.

            Over 30 years, people have expanded the space of what you can do with a game with a very similar style of play, control, experience, format, interface, and structure. But yet, all the games being made in the space contained every single one of these elements. That is what roguelike means.

            This is why some developers have called their creations “rogue-like-likes” which is a pretty ungainly term, because they are intending to make a game that is similar in some ways but very different in others.

            I hope this explains why saying “it’s sorta like rogue in a few ways” is not really a sufficient reason to classify a game as a roguelike for the established meaning of the word.

          • Nevard says:

            Rogue and Like both have pretty well established meanings, mr jrodman, it’s pretty disrespectful of you to be trying to stamp them out like this.

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            jrodman says:

            So you are trolling then. Sorry to have wasted your time.

          • wu wei says:

            But also: it’s a Mario-like. Sort of a Mario meets Rogue.

            This makes it a red-rogue-like.

      • kftrendy says:

        The dev doesn’t call it a roguelike – he calls it a “platformer roguelike.” Some of the elements of your list don’t apply to that – namely, turn-based gameplay, which is usually considered to be incompatible with a platformer.

        Now, we could quibble over whether his order of words was correct – I’d say this looks like more of a “roguelike platformer” than “platformer roguelike” – but we shouldn’t be arguing over whether or not this is a misuse of “roguelike,” because it’s being used as an adjective here. When you mix genres, you’re going to have places where one genre’s elements override the other’s.

      • The Random One says:

        2. fantasy theme

        So NetHack is a roguelike, but the NetHack expansion SLASH’EM is not because it has guns?

    • danijami23 says:

      Looks more to me like a video game than anything else, since you’re going to be pedantic about it. It isn’t a platform, neither is it a dishonest or unprincipled person, so it isn’t a roguelike either. Get a freaking grip and learn to enjoy the little things in life :)

    • derbefrier says:

      Language evolves get over it.

    • Premium User Badge

      VelvetFistIronGlove says:

      If everything in this game is as interactive as the “rock” video shows, then maybe we should call this game a Nethacklike instead of a Roguelike?

      (And as TheBlackBandit points out below, they’re all Procedural Death Labyrinths anyway)

    • Wulfram says:

      If we could refer to this sort of tihng as a “new-style” roguelike to contrast with “classic” roguelikes like Angband, Nethack, ADOM etc, that’d be fine.

      But it is annoying to have the word just outright co-opted by what are (to me) very different games.

      • Kitsunin says:

        Honestly I think until we can think of a better name we should just call ‘em roguelikes and differentiate rogue-clones as “true roguelikes”. Seems like a win-win since the exclusive little niche gets to be “true” and everyone else can stop having to deal with the inevitable whining whenever someone new decides to call their game a roguelike because there’s no better word.

    • Turkey says:

      I was wondering why this story had 80 comments. He says: “roguelike platformer” in the video if that helps.

    • lautalocos says:

      remember when we combined 2 genres to explain how a game was? like strategy FPS, action RPG, and things like that?

      well, this game is a roguelike platformer, or platformer roguelike.

      is it that hard to do that?

      • The Random One says:

        Hey, people grumble about how Zelda isn’t an RPG to this very day.

  4. Premium User Badge

    JiminyJickers says:

    My thought process watching that video:
    -Hmm, looks pretty generic
    -Distraction, interesting but not sold yet.
    -Sets monster on fire, looks cool, may grab it if it is cheap.
    -OMG!! did he just tackle the monster into the water and drown it, TAKE MY MONEY!!!

  5. TheBlackBandit says:

    I really like the look of the mechanics and the setup, but I’m finding the physics really offputting. It’s as though everything is floating around in lower gravity.

    (Also, the “is it a roguelike” argument is terribly boring. Everyone knows these are called Procedural Death Labyrinths.)

  6. cookieheadjenkins says:

    Dear Santa,

    For Christmas please can I have a rock.

    Thank you.

  7. grimdanfango says:

    Yep, the pitch video looks pretty generic, but this one has a rather superb escalation of “holy-crap, did he just…?!”
    Looks absolutely wonderful. If he can keep up that level of dynamism throughout, it’ll really be something special. The fluidity actually reminds me of the original Flashback, or at least, what Flashback was pretending to be :-P (Where you actually had to be explicitly precise to pull off any of the moves or they just wouldn’t work)
    I’ve been waiting for more games like that ever since, and no decent ones ever came along!

  8. Marmalade Man says:

    I watched the Kickstarter video and thought it looked fairly generic and boring.
    Then I watched the Youtube video and realised it was actually pretty cool and interesting.

    I’m interested in what makes a good Kickstarter video, so did anyone else have a similar experience?

  9. ran93r says:

    Can’t say that I’m really feeling it and I already have two platforoguelike kickstarts waiting to be released. Will keep an eye on it but will almost certainly pass.

  10. Vexing Vision says:

    It actually took me until 1:40 to convince me (distracting the fish with the bloodied rock). I am a hard-heartened cynic, but golly does that look interesting.

  11. Niko says:

    I find I am attracted to the dungeon architecture, the spacing of it. There’s something outstanding about it, although it is similar to, say, Spelunky, but yet different. Maybe it’s about smaller rooms and the lighting.

  12. Jams O'Donnell says:

    I have a sudden desire to listen to Aesop Rock. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JyWS4VM8MTw

  13. Themadcow says:

    I like the look of this. I enjoy Rogue Legacy at the moment. I enjoyed Rick Dangerous as a kid.

    I haven’t played Spelunky. I should play Spelunky shouldn’t I?

  14. cluster says:

    jrodman is on a very interesting crusade *yawn*

  15. katheb says:

    This looks pretty good, I like I like.

  16. Commander Gun says:

    Looks good, but i am very tired of supporting Kickstarter projects atm. Looking forward to the review here on RPS though!

  17. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    Where’s my comment? :( I made a lovely long comment and it’s not here but I can’t post it now because I’m told I would be posting a duplicate, wah.

  18. GameCat says:

    Come on people.
    This rocks.

  19. Berzee says:

    It looks fun and I’m heartened that there was no countdown timer on the levels (that I noticed) — that’s the thing that always put me off Spelunky. I’m still not sure how much interest I can have these days in a game that’s entirely “beat the enemies” with no [story and writing AND/OR level-up stats-tweaking] to amuse me between fights, but something with this many colorful approaches to danger could be the thing to change my mind. =)

    P.S. I like these arts.

    • The Random One says:

      The countdown on Spelunky exists because without it the optimized way to play the game would be to be incredibly careful and dig out every single treasure you can as long as you don’t waste too many resources. There are some people who are wired to play games always in an optimized way so those people would end up not enjoying it. The countdown means recklessness and abandonment are sometimes necessary, so these features of the game appear even in high-level play.

      A game that takes a different approach to the concept would certainly be welcome, though, and this appears to be it.

  20. Moraven says:

    Rockface

  21. Turkey says:

    I already have 55 hours on Spelunky. I don’t know if I can handle any more of these. Looks so good, though.

  22. firefek says:

    Nooooo!
    Kickstarter, please! I’m only a poor student.

  23. Premium User Badge

    JamesTheNumberless says:

    For me, the important aspects of a roguelike are permadeath that you can’t recover from, no reloading of old saves, procedual levels/worlds and some level of complexity and immersion in one game mode and one character (or party, or starship crew)

    I know this isn’t the full Berlin Interpretation, but I’m not sure that restricting a roguelike to turn based and grid based is really the healthiest thing for the genre. RPG for instance encompasses many control and gameplay mechanics without compromising its RPG nature.

    The Berlin Interpretation is paranoid. The intention is not to prevent games from being classified as roguelike, but to distinguish rogulikes as a distinct genre and prevent them from being absorbed by another (e.g. RPGs) or people just losing track of the formula for making such games.

    One argument for calling games like this one, roguelikes, is identification with the mechanics that roguelike players love and which ties a set of games related interests together.

    I’m a huge fan of Angband and if it wasn’t for the comparison made between some of these games and Roguelikes, I would just dismiss a lot of things that don’t otherwise look like my cup of tea (e.g. I’m not so much a fan of platformers)

    However I will concede that I think games like FTL with a pause mechanic, and where everything does, essentially, happen in “turns” – or at least in well defined time units – make better roguelikes than games that are realtime. It’s all about the amount of complexity you can have.

    • Premium User Badge

      JamesTheNumberless says:

      Yess!! I had to completely rephrase everything, it to get it to post :)

      Trouble is that it’s now far too late for anyone to care :(

    • Shadow says:

      I care, I guess. For me, aside from features like permadeath and randomly-generated* levels, a roguelike never guarantees you’ll beat the game, and that’s something that discards examples like Rogue Legacy. That one’s soft enough it somehow feels obligated to give the player better chances for next time every time they die. Rogue Legacy is I think defined as a “roguelite”, which thanks to it I’ve come to interpret as an easy/casual/lesser roguelike. Seems like a strong contradiction in terms.

      For me, in synergy with most classic roguelike features, perhaps the most critical attribute a roguelike has to have to be called such is a proper balance between skill and luck. A great roguelike has you building actual player experience as you play, experience that gets you through deadly situations that would normally kill an equally-equipped but less skilled player. Luck is only a secondary factor, which has had me frown upon The Pit, in which progress seems to be heavily dependent on the RNG’s favour. That one still qualifies as part of the genre, albeit as a bad entry.

    • Shadow says:

      Graphics don’t define a roguelike, and neither does the fantasy theme. Turn-based combat… well, it’s debatable. The definition of the genre, being “like” a particular game, allows for some (reasonable) wiggle room. Is losing the turn-based combat going just that one step too far, after which “like” becomes “unlike” Rogue? Who knows, maybe. Probably a shift in perspective to, say, platforming or first-person would be more disruptive, but then you can combine genres and define them like so.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        I completely agree with all your points in both posts! I… I thought this was the internet, yet I agree with somebody??

        A roguelike should definitely not hold your hand, it should also distribute its content evenly throughout the game experience, meaning there’s much more to progression than just watching numbers go up. It should be extremely unlikely that the player ever beats the game and almost impossible they they ever see everything it’s possible to see in the game. I have definitely never beaten Angband.

        • Baines says:

          You may never have beaten Angband, but if you go back to the 90s you’d find some people wondering if Angband should be on the borderline of being a Roguelike, with a few wondering if it should be excluded from being a real Roguelike. Why? Because it lacked a limited resource/time pressure. Angband had a food system, but both food and alternative solutions (Satisfy Hunger) were so easily obtainable, stackable, and restorable that the hunger system very quickly became largely a non-factor.

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            JamesTheNumberless says:

            I went to the university where the game was made, in the 90s, and hacked about with bits and pieces of it and never once heard these arguments against the inclusion of the game in any “canon” of roguelikes. In fact all I remember is that people who played and worked on Rogue and Moria (etc) were pretty enthusiastic and supportive of Angband and certainly nobody was obsessed with any kind of protectionism or the “brand”. Those people you mention sound like very sad, petty, and probably quite jealous individuals. If the makers of Angband thought Rogue was perfect and complete they would never have been motivated to make Angband, they’d just have played Rogue – a game that was also very popular in the CS labs at Warwick in the 90s!

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            JamesTheNumberless says:

            Also, not everyone plays Angband as an Elf Wizard :) I’m always either a Dwarf or a Troll, it’s much more of a challenge when you don’t have all the spellbooks.

      • Shadow says:

        Exactly. It’s something, for instance, that Spelunky does really well despite being a platformer. It hits a lot of roguelike notes just right.

        And albeit somewhat tangential, I had another chunk to post. But I gotta hate whatever gremlin’s at work randomly eating up comments. Had to mince the two bits I did manage to post in all sorts of ways for the system to accept them. Some feedback about what the hell is wrong with the text would be nice. It’s really inexplicable.

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        JamesTheNumberless says:

        And yes, combining genres is still a valid thing. One can define a game as an “action RPG” which means it is both, not that it is neither. To one player it can be their favourite RPG and to another their favourite action game. So I don’t see why we can’t have a roguelike platformer. It’s never going to be my favourite roguelike but it has a decent chance of being among my favourite platformers (although Super Meat Boy and Sonic are both pretty stiff competition)

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        jrodman says:

        The difficulty thing is wildly varying even in the canon. Nethack is far more difficult than rogue unspoiled, though it’s far less difficult fully spoiled. Angband is mostly just long. I’ve won angband 4-5 times without being amazing at it, just fairly persistent. Some versions of crawl are quite approachable. ADOM is a beast. Nearly anyone with the inclination can beat Larn.

        • The Random One says:

          I agree assigning “difficulty” as a defining feature of roguelikes sounds like a flaw, since different people find different things hard. It’s not as bad as the Berlin interpretation’s ‘discovery, though.

          I imagine there might be a way to define games that go for the roguelike ideal by not holding the player’s hand but being completely fair – I am reminded of how the elevator pitch for Don’t Starve describes it as ‘uncompromising’, and might seems to be the word I’m after..

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  25. FourbitFriday says:

    Hey all, creator of the game here. Thought I’d jump in to clarify some things:

    It is not a roguelike. It is a roguelike platformer. ‘Roguelike,’ when preceding another genre name, is just a way to let people know what to expect from the game in fewer words than: “procedurally generated permadeath dungeon crawler with high difficulty and limited resources”. That’s a bit of a mouthful. It’s similar to calling a game an “FPS RPG” or “Puzzle Platformer”: each term on its own is not enough to accurately describe the game in question, but when combined they define something new.

    As for the roguelikeness of Catacomb Kids, I’m shooting for the definition laid out here http://www.roguetemple.com/roguelike-definition/, excepting of course the turn-basedness and character-based display. I don’t like the Berlin Interpretation very much.

    Again, I have no intention of declaring the game a straight up ‘roguelike’ without any qualifiers.

    • Listlurker says:

      Back on topic: your game looks surprisingly fun. I hope to give you some of my money for it, either as funding, or as payment for the finished game. Thank you for sharing what you’re making, sir.

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