Perish The Thought Of Ignoring Gorgeous Roguelike Perish

By Nathan Grayson on May 15th, 2014 at 2:00 pm.

To begin, I will admit that Perish is not in any way an unheard of quantity in the world of PC games. It’s a roguelike-like with random generation and permadeath. Once upon a time nobody did that for 20 years, but now it’s every videogame. Perish does, however, sweeten the pot with Dark-Souls-inspired biff-thud-whump-*sounds of your own pitiful whimper*-ing and a gorgeously gloomy aesthetic. Basically, it’s Dark Souls meets Spelunky. It’s still pretty early, but there’s an alluringly melancholic trailer below.

Perish’s two biggest touchstones? One-man dev team Anthony Richard explains:

“Perish is a video game, an Action-RPG with permadeath & procedurally generated levels, also known as a roguelike-like. The combat is deadly and deliberate, inspired by Dark Souls. Block, dodge and manoeuvre to get a good opening to damage your opponent, while making sure not to give the enemy an opening yourself. Levels are randomly generated, and the structure of the game as a whole is similar to Spelunky. A full play-through should take about an hour, but is so difficult that you will likely need to play many times to become good enough to reach the end.”

There will also be multiple classes, non-random enemies/bosses, and all that good stuff. Oh, and color. It will definitely have more of that than Dark Souls.

Perish is on Indiegogo right now, and it’s already doubled its goal. Granted, it started off with an incredibly modest request for $1,500 (yes, that comma is in the right place), so it didn’t have too much trouble finding willing wallets.

There’s no release date yet, but Perish still has almost a month left in its crowdfunding campaign. Apparently Richard plans to develop it for at least another few months after that. What do you think? Imperishive or utterly perishable?

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35 Comments »

  1. almostDead says:

    I thought this was Shelter 2

  2. shinkshank says:

    Not to shit on this game, but it doesn’t really look very… spelunky-y. I get the main reason for the comparison is ” not gray and also has random levels “, but I’m fairly certain there’s better comparisons.

    Also, maybe it’s just the trailer, but jeez that running speed seems slow.

  3. CaidKean says:

    Nathan, why call it a roguelike when the developers themselves call it a roguelike-like?

    *Nitpick*

    • jaronimoe says:

      let’s burn the witch!!!

    • thecommoncold says:

      I imagine a day where everything will be measured in degrees of distance from roguelikes…

      “Now introducing: Call of Duty 2 (the sequel of the reboot). It features setpiece levels and no permadeath. We call it a roguelike-like-like-like.”

    • Philotic Symmetrist says:

      My nitpick is to observe the tautological nature of the phrase “roguelike-like with random generation and permadeath”.

    • NailBombed says:

      Rogue-lite. Or Rogue-alike-but-not-completely-similar-in-any-way-nooooooooooo. Or —- procedural death labyrinth. *facepalm*
      ALL OF THE TERMS. WHY.

    • Shodex says:

      Things that make you game a Roguelike:
      - Turn based gameplay (You move, the world moves, etc.)
      - Emphasis on re-playability and challenge (procedural generation and permadeath)
      - Spatial Consistency, No warping to fight scenes or minigames on a different reality like a JRPG.
      - Tactical, not twitch oriented gameplay
      - Control of a single character
      - Grid-based motion
      - Little storyline

      Do some real roguelikes break these guidelines? Yes. ADOM is very heavily story based, ToME has a two scale map similar to Ultima. But if the only thing a game steals is an emphasis on re-playability and challenge than it’s just a hard game that’s re-playable, not a roguelike.

      I recently bought a game called Hero Siege on Steam because it sells itself as a roguelike. I didn’t expect a real roguelike but I expected procedurally generated dungeon to romp through and kill stuff. I got top down 2D horde mode where I fight waves of enemies and nothing else. Why was it calling itself a roguelike? Was it because when you died your character was gone for good? Because despite it making you restart the game your character keeps his level.

      Not. A. Roguelike.

      • Borsook says:

        Yes, but the dev acknowledges that and calls the game a roguelike-like, which is a good genre choice.

        • Shodex says:

          Most of these games can just call themselves action RPGs.
          I feel like we’ve forgotten that action RPGs don’t have to be Diablo clones.

    • jaronimoe says:

      rogue-a-lama-ding-dong(-like)

      • Shodex says:

        Ugh, I’m getting so sick of this. Just stop it.
        It’s not a rogue-a-lama-ding-dong(-like) in the slightest and doesn’t bear any resemblance with rogue-a-lama-ding-dong or any other true rogue-a-lama-ding-dong(-like).

        It’s a rogue-a-lama-ding-dong(-like)-like and you’d better remember that.

  4. Nachtfischer says:

    “It’s a roguelike-like with random generation and permadeath. Once upon a time nobody did that for 20 years, but now it’s every videogame.”

    Well, that’s because, thankfully, we are slowly but surely rediscovering what games actually are about: Decisions and consequences. And to support that we simply _need_ a way to lose (“permadeath”). Also, we need to make sure that the system doesn’t degrade into a puzzle that you just learn the solution to. The latter is the reason why we _need_ some form of randomization to make sure that the player will always actually make decisions instead of just inputting the solution. By far most video games of the last decades were (extremely elaborate) puzzles with little to no dynamic gameplay, most of them trying to be like movies (thereby completely disrespecting the uniqueness of the artform of creating interactive systems). Today we’re finally getting away from that idea. The only reason we associate these “features” (actually they’re just necessities) with Rogue is that roguelikes have been this bastion of actual meaningful decision-making in the gaming world for a long time.

    Anyways, it’s an amazing time to be a gamer! ;)

    • jonahcutter says:

      The Souls series doesn’t have permadeath nor random generation. And it’s one of the most popular and critically lauded series of all time. Dark Souls (1) is held up as a masterpiece.

      You die only to respawn repeatedly in the Souls series. The levels are the same every time. Every enemy is in the exact same place every time. And each encounter is not dissimilar to a puzzle, where you must observe and then master enemy patterns.

      I enjoy both permadeath and random/procedural generation myself. But they are not necessary to creating a great game at all.

      I do agree it’s an amazing time to be a gamer! :)

      • Nachtfischer says:

        Well, you said it yourself: Dark Souls is a puzzle. I obviously agree that you don’t need losing and uncertainty for a puzzle. In fact, they would destroy a puzzle’s purpose. Dark Souls certainly is a good interactive system. But I strongly endorse the notion of differentiating better in the digital realm. Not everything is a game and that’s fine, but it’s important to notice that there are specific systems that involve decision-making that are regaining popularity recently. I mean, we also don’t call a jigsaw puzzle a “game”.

        However, you need losing and uncertainty for a great game. In fact, a system needs it to BE a game.

        • tormos says:

          No true scotsman fallacy ahoy!

        • jonahcutter says:

          I said it’s not dissimilar to a puzzle. I do think it’s a game. A game can have puzzle elements in it.

          Dark Souls is a game. Gone Home is a game. Assassin’s Creed is a game. Kerbal Space Program is a game. Mass Effect is a game. Call of Duty is a game. Euro Truck Simulator is a game. Spelunky is a game.

          All those are games. Only the last one has randomization and permadeath. And -that- is why I think it’s an amazing time to be a gamer.

          • Nachtfischer says:

            The thing is, if all those are “games”, then “game” has no meaning left.

          • jonahcutter says:

            @Nacthfischer

            I’m enjoying gaming nowadays in no small part because the core concepts behind the games themselves are evolving and expanding.

            I might not end up agreeing with you, but it’s interesting to consider: If none of those besides Spelunky are actually games to you, then what do you consider them?

        • MojaveMusic says:

          you have a weirdly specific definition of “game” that I am pretty sure very few people share.

  5. Kein says:

    “random generated”

    CTRL+W

  6. Shiloh says:

    From now on, every time I hear or read the words “roguelike” and/or “permadeath”, I’m just going to say “UnReal World” and leave it at that.

  7. Shooop says:

    The floaty and slow movement makes it obvious from the start this game is going to be a bad joke. But because he remembered to put the magic words “permadeath & procedurally generated” in his pitch Richard is guaranteed press coverage and sales.

    Why did combat in the Souls games work so well? Because it was all based around fluid action and reaction. This game’s movement looks like the characters are suspended in an invisible fluid.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It does looks a bit floaty and arcadey, lacking the weight of Dark Souls combat. Hopefully feedback helps and he can develop the combat system in that direction.

      Though, I’m very interested in any game that wants to create methodical and tactical melee fighting. I backed based on that design goal, in the hopes of helping him realize it.

      • Shooop says:

        Considering it’s a one-person project and the states in which other games have been released, it’s not likely anything significant will happen to it.

        It sadly looks to me like another case of “great on paper”.

  8. LTK says:

    I loved the sight of what looked like a genie in chains under a waterfall. If the game features this heavily I’ll be very interested; it would be fascinating to travel through a world where immortal, godlike entities are imprisoned or banished by even more powerful gods and actually interact with them.

  9. Shodex says:

    This might be my cynicism talking (I tend to get cynical every time I start the morning with a misuse of the word roguelike) but this game and it’s combat looks far too floaty and slow to make endlessly fighting monsters over and over again fun.

    If you’re going to make a “roguelike-like” the combat has to be responsive, it has to be fluid, challenging, fair, and fun. It’s the core mechanic of the game. You can’t get away with the shitty combat that story driven RPGs sometimes have.

  10. Wedge says:

    Well it certainly does look nice. That’s really all you can say though, the quick snippet of combat was not impressive, so I haven’t seen anything that makes it look fun to play.

  11. SillyWizard says:

    Free game idea — play a squire working for an AI controlled knight. The knight, atop his faithful steed, is easily the most powerful single unit in the game. Unfortunately, he has a tendency to be knocked off of Horsey, and requires protection while unhorsed and a great deal of assistance in re-mounting.

    Travel the lands shepherding your sometimes-capable but always-pretty-dense knight into and through the fray, rescuing princesses, searching for grails — you know, the standard stuff.

    (Inspired by seeing a knight on foot in this game, while from what I understand, unhorsed knights were pretty useless.)

  12. jrod says:

    Is it just me or do the sword swinging animations look really clunky?

  13. LimEJET says:

    Granted, it started off with an incredibly modest request for $1,500 (yes, that comma is in the right place)

    Wait, so he only wanted a dollar and a half? (Seriously, what difference would it make to move the comma?)

  14. MojaveMusic says:

    What a tell-nothing trailer.

    I like and respect RPS, and I understand that “hey look at this” pieces like this are in no way unique to this site, but seriously, this looks very bland in every respect except visual style (which has nothing in common with either of the mentioned influences).

    Plus, “Dark Souls” and “roguelike” are at very opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of various types of game. Combining those influences into something that was actually enjoyable (and didn’t just rip off the most superficial aspects of each) is probably not impossible, but first impressions give me the inkling that this is not going to be the game to do it.

    Also, if you’re going for heavy, weighty combat (and I assume you are if you’re citing Dark Souls as an influence), why on earth would you put things in a Diablo-style isometric viewpoint, so far removed from your character?

    It’s just weird, man.

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