It’s a bold claim, I know, particularly when the opposition on the ‘Best Free Game’ field includes the likes of Planetside 2, Dwarf Fortress and Dungeon Keeper. Nevertheless, Lamp And Vamp is the best free game that I’ve played today and the best new free game that I’ve played since Tuesday. Created as part of the Procedural Death Jam, and taking first place, it’s a puzzle game in which you play a vampire who is trying to return to his coffin. Pesky townspeople and priests block the way but using your powers (BAT-FORM, MIST-FORM, BLOODSUCKING), you can navigate the streets and find your way home. It’s absolutely splendid.
The light-dodging mechanic reminds me of splendid mobile game Helsing’s Fire but the rest is pure Hoplite. Have you played Hoplite yet? It’s only available on cleverphones and tablets but it’s one of my favourite games of the year so far. A deceptively simple single screen roguelike puzzler, I’ve had it consume a full charge of my phone battery several times. Lamp And Vamp isn’t quite as good as Hoplite, which encourages a more aggressive approach with its three distinct abilities, but it’s a fantastic game. And it’s free.
On the frontpage of the Procedural Death Jam, the organisers have this to say:
The theme is “Procedural Death Labyrinth,” a new way of describing games like FTL, Spelunky, Coin Crypt, The Binding of Isaac, etc, that’s less awkward than “Rogue-Like-LIKE” or “Rogue-LITE.”
Just to spite them, I’m going to refer to Lamp And Vamp as a Hoplite-LITE.