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Freeware Garden: Zagalike

Procedural pixels populating procedural prison-cells.

Michael Brough’s Zaga-33 is an excellent game and Tony Perriello’s Zagalike an excellent homage to said excellent game. And no, it’s not a clone; it’s an inspired and very honest remix. An homage that’s perfectly capable of standing on its own.

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If you’ve already played (and most probably re-played, played a bit more and finally loved) Zaga-33, you’ll be happy to know that Zagalike will indeed offer you much more than a simple reskin of the original. It’s got all new enemies, slight mechanic changes, new spells and a subtly different level creation algorithm, while retaining the spirit and core of Brough’s game.

A classic imminent death scenario.It’s also less cryptic, letting you know what each spell does the moment you pick it up and making enemies’ behaviours easier to read. Apparently, I prefer less cryptic, as it also feels less random and hence more tactical. I also enjoy Zagalike’s different visual tone too. It’s more organic and more varied, and though missing the retro references, Zagalike’s definitely the more atmospheric game.

Now, in case you criminally haven’t tried Zaga-33 yet, what you should expect from Zagalike is a very clever, turn-based, rogue-like game, that can be played in a few minutes and has you deciphering move patterns and navigating procedurally generated mazes. Oh, yes, and casting all sorts of spells.

So here’s what you should do: first (re/)play Zaga-33, then play Zagalike and, finally, come up with a dissertation on the nuances of procedural puzzle design.

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Konstantinos Dimopoulos


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