Vagante Is Spelunky: The RPG And There’s A Free Alpha

By Graham Smith on July 2nd, 2014 at 8:00 pm.

The sprite art is gorgeous, too.

Adam has reclaimed the word ‘roguelike’, having clutched it in his elongated claws and buried it beneath the bracken lining his cavernous sett. That makes it hard to describe Vagante, a 2D platformer that moves closer than Spelunky towards that oft-cited genre, containing not only random levels, permadeath and an unforgiving world, but other familiar features like character types, skill levelling, unidentified potions, and weapons and magical skills with varied stats.

Probably it’s best you just play the game, because the first public alpha is out, free and very promising. Video below.

The alpha does have sound, though this video does not:

Let’s lock it in a dungeon with Catacomb Kids and make them fight for our affections.

In the 20 minutes of Vagante I’ve played so far, I’ve died maybe seven or eight times. A couple of times it’s because I failed a tricky bit of platforming and fell on some spikes. A couple of times it was because I failed to spot traps – darts, falling blocks, pressure-triggered enemies – and was quickly battered. One time it was because I triggered some sort of level-crossing deathworm, forty times the size of me or any other enemy I’d seen up until that point.

The platforming seems less physically satisfying than Spelunky, shifting the focus instead to its potions and powers. Those seem compellingly varied. The unmarked bottles I’ve downed so far have turned out to be time-limited dash abilities, chicken-related float powers and so on, while I’ve unlocked skills that allow me to slip into stealth mode by crouching and magic staffs that shoot freeze blasts at the various slimes and bats and other deadly creatures that mean to kill me. The two available characters both have completely separate sets of upgradable skills, too.

I stress, this is what I’ve seen while just fumbling around on the first level, so I can only assume there’s much more to discover should I eventually progress. For a first release, it’s mighty impressive. The latest version of Vagante can be downloaded from IndieDB, where its developers are keen to receive feedback so they can make the game better. It’s only 12MB, too.

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12 Comments »

  1. Wedge says:

    Well yes this a thing that should happen. My first playthrough I found a pair of spiky boots that let me multi-stomp enemies below me, got a kerchief that gave me a fireball shooting familiar, and throroughly abused enemy ai and the terrain to defeat a rather angry looking berserker type fellow. Then I got curious about what the pair of gloves I had that allowed me to walk through walls would do… and walked through a wall into the instantly fatal edge of the map.

    • ersetzen says:

      Your comment made me realize how similar this is with the current development status of catacomb kids. Obviously stuff like spike boots or move-through-walls-spells but even more on the conceptual level. At the moment catacomb kids gives you two status points each level and every time you upgrade a stat it allows you to spend one to choose between two perks. Like going into stealth when pressing down or aiming your throws. I like Catacomb kids version slightly more at the moment since it allows for more choices instead of going down a set direction- for example whether you want to have a charge attack or be super strong and do stuff like throwing giant boulders to go all reversed Indiana Jones on your enemies.

      Vagante has great potential for future classes since so much changes with each one. In Catacomb kids each class has other possible orders of the 60 traits you can choose from which gives customization that way, but the class only has one ability that you can upgrade instead of investing into spells. Like, upgrading taunt on the glass cannon melee character is a good alternative for magic but it makes stealth difficult. But this means overall less differences between classes. On the other hand, Kids also have the ability to gain other traits and weapon skills that would be part of the characters in Vagante. It’s gonna be really interesting how these two games will play out. So far I prefer the great interactions you can get in catacomb kids while Vagante feels somewhat less alive but with more secrets and stuff to find. And Catacomb Kids is polished but Vagante feels way more complete with stuff like mouse control and the ability to set Controler support on and off.

      Here is some the Catacomb Kids dev had to say about it: http://tmblr.co/Zvhxhv1KRB8ki

  2. shinkshank says:

    Yeah, that definitely is reminiscent of Catacomb Kids, no doubt about it. Still, looks pretty swanky, I’ll have to give it a round when I can.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Big Murray says:

    Are there any new games out there which are being released finished?

    • Wedge says:

      Well looking at Steam’s release list, we’ve had a F2P asian MMO and THREE ports of EXCITING mobile games come out just today! Would you rather RPS be covering those?

      • frightlever says:

        Magicians and Looters seemed to have been released on Steam today.

        edit: actually no, it released on July 1st.

  4. staberas says:

    ” because the first public alpha is out, free and very promising.”
    HERESY, i say, a FREE ALPHA game? !!!!

  5. Froibo says:

    I have been playing this game for a couple of days now and actually beat it with both classes today. It is great, but a bit short. Leaves you wanting more.

  6. Premium User Badge

    Jackablade says:

    Vaj-aunty?

    • Lord James Arthur Cthulhu III esq. (of the Windsor Cthulhus) says:

      I wonder if they’ve raised the vag ante since Revision 3.

  7. lordfrikk says:

    Some of the controls need a bit of fine tuning but otherwise a really solid game even in its current state. Looking forward to its full release.

  8. spiche says:

    There’s some heavy Final Fantasy Tactics look with the color pallette and the character sprites, and I love it!! On the other hand, I do agree on the not that pleasant platforming, and the limiting combat mechanics, though tense and challenging, seems broken on certain situations (at least without spiky boots and a bit of luck)
    Looking forward to see more beyond its charm!