Golden Krone Hotel Is A Vampire-Slaying Roguelike

If I fancy a session of old-fashioned honest-to-goodness roguelikin’, I usually turn to one of the pillars of the genre, games that have been around forever and a day. I’m talking Ancient Domains of Mystery, Nethack, Dungeon Crawl, Angband. I’m always looking for something fresh to add to the circulation though and Golden Krone Hotel [official site] is a definite contender.

You’re working your way through the wings and floors of a hotel, seeking a master vampire. Along the way you fight all manner of undead creatures and other creeps, and can even turn into a vampire or werewolf yourself. There are potions to identify, equipment upgrades to collect and spells to learn, but perhaps the most notable feature is the modelling of lightbeams shining through windows and a day/night cycle. Vampires burn in the sun, you see.

The game is coming to Early Access on October 26th but I’ve already had a quick play and like it very much indeed. Calculating the movement of beams of light as you move around – it’s all turn-based – is neat, and the more conventional roguelike bits and pieces are all solid as well. The one major simplification is in equipment management – you have a revolver, armour, a melee weapon and a shield. When you find new versions, you’ll keep them and upgrade if they’re better than what you already have, and otherwise you’ll convert them to cash, so there’s no actual inventory to deal with.

It’s similar to the method used in Cardinal Quest and keeps the game ticking along, which suits the slightly frantic nature of the quest. There’s no overworld here – you’re in the thick of it, trying to find and kill your target, and there are foul creatures in every shadow.

Potions work as the roguelike gods intended: you pick ’em up and then you quaff ’em to see if they make you feel better or explode in your stomach. You’re not going in completely blind in the Hotel though; the game lists three or four possibilities when you hover your cursor over a potion. Speaking of cursors, the game is best played with mouse and keyboard, the latter for movement and the former for clicking on potions and the like. It’s a decent interface, allowing you to do everything you need to do without lots of input learning beforehand.

There are some oddities. The vampires have human mercenaries working for them and these don’t attack you on sight, so you can natter with them. They think you might be a new recruit rather than an intruder. But I’ve killed a bunch of monsters in full view of them and they still don’t become hostile. I’m either failing to understand how the relationship works or there’s a bug or gap in the logic there.

But no matter – there’s so much to admire here that I’ll almost certainly be revisiting when the Early Access version launches to remind you all about the game. I reckon a successful run will require some form of mastery of form-shifting, between vampire and human (and other things), which requires use of blood and potions and magic in all kinds of fun ways. Also worth noting is that the game is fabulously stacked with gothic campiness and is therefore perfect for this Halloween-y release window.

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15 Comments

  1. plugav says:

    Vampires are finally becoming in again, I see. There’s this, Vampyr, Slayer Shock, the Paradox-White Wolf deal…

    • Captain Joyless says:

      Paradox bought White Wolf a year ago and has yet to even announce they’re doing anything with it. Don’t think it stands as evidence that vampires are back in…

      • plugav says:

        They’ve yet to announce a videogame project, true, but there’s a big, official event coming in May, 2017, so I’m still hoping they’ll announce something then. I’d hate to see a beloved franchise fail yet again.

  2. PsychoX says:

    That term. “roguelike”. Needs to stop being used. It’s idiotic and has no clear meaning. The game is like a rogue? Why not just call the games what they are? Dungeon crawlers. If not that, there has to be a better descriptor than roguelike. So dumb sounding.

    • LTK says:

      Have I got news for you about a game called Rogue!

    • hilbert90 says:

      Trust me. I’m the first to find the use of the term roguelike to be nonsense for most games. Why on earth someone would call an action adventure game with multiplayer etc a roguelike due to some procedural generation is beyond me.

      But what exactly do you object to for this game? Sure, it isn’t ASCII graphics, but to my knowledge, it fulfills 100% of the high value factors in the Berlin interpretation and most of the low value factors as well.

    • anHorse says:

      Why not just call the games what they are? Dungeon crawlers

      Because dungeon crawlers is an entirely different genre, games like Etrian Odyssey, Stranger of Sword City,and Might & Magic.

      Those are party based games, typically first person where you have turn based combat encounters. Real time variants exist with grimrock but the key is the party system

      Roguelikes are typically top down single character games with combat not separated from movement

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      Minsc_N_Boo says:

      I’m fine with it being applied to games that are “like” the grandaddy of Dungeon Crawlers, Rogue. I think it applies here.

      I dont like when it is used as a way of saying “this game has permadeath” They should stick to calling those “Roguelike-like”….

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Or “arcade”, given that we used that term just fine for years before roguelike became mainstream… Oh for the love of dog, now I’m doing it too.

        • Dare_Wreck says:

          Well, if we’re going to be sticklers for terminology, “arcade” usually implies quick-paced action with minimal to no inventory system. The games that get described as having “permadeath” usually are so because you have a selection of items and skills that you’ve accumulated over the game that are lost upon death. Granted, we’re talking about a gray area here, but “arcade” definitely does not perfectly fit in the middle of a venn diagram with “permadeath”.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Funny, normally this comment is a little lower down. Also usually it’s written by a huffy roguelike purist who actually therefore gets why the term exists in the first place…

      Anyway my point here is that it’s been done to death. We need a word by which to refer to games of a particular type because it makes discussion easier (when used correctly, I’ll concede). On which note, can we let this die and discuss the game?

      It looks like a good game. Vampires are fun. Interesting mechanics can come up from the different ways of killing vampires. Remember the combat everyone hated in the first Soul Reaver? I loved that stuff, it was real interesting to younger me that to permanently kill a foe you had to chuck them on a spike or in a fire or lure their stupid ass into sunlight etc (I never even considered just running past 80% of the enemies which appears to be what a lot of people did…). I would love to see a roguelike take on that work out well, and this will definitely be getting played.

      • Baines says:

        It is also generally written for games that don’t look like a Roguelike. And is written by someone who knows that Roguelike means “like Rogue”, not “like a rogue”.

        As such, my guess is that the posting was a failed attempt at humor.

      • April March says:

        There is a word. Well, three: Procedural Death Dungeon.

        I prefer Procedural Death Maze myself, though. (And thus a schism begins.)

  3. shinkshank says:

    Mouse controls are all fine and good, but can the game be played keyboard only? I’m a stickler for having one hand on the numpad, and even games that have great mouse support (Cogmind, for instance) I still play with just the keyboard.

    • jere says:

      The only thing that is not currently supported by keyboard is tooltips and descriptions. You have to hover to get tooltips and have to click to get monster/tile descriptions. Otherwise, the entire game, including menus, can be played with only keyboard. I hope to add keyboard support for potion descriptions soon.

      The reason mouse and keyboard is usually preferred is that you can do practically everything with your left hand (WASD for movement, E for most actions, 1-4 for spells). Of course, numpad also works out of the box and all the keys are rebindable.

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