Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Look, the way this normally works is that I ask “have you played [name of game]?” and then I sort of assume that you haven’t and tell you why you should. It’s a little different this time though because even though I have played Caves of Qud [official site], I’m hoping you lot can tell me why I should go back and play it again, because I’ve barely managed to scratch the surface.
I think – and I may be wrong – that the main obstacle between me and enjoyment of Qud is the language. Character creation involves deciphering the oddities of the various castes and callings to figure out what kind of person you’re actually going to be, and what skills might be useful to that kind of person, and whether you’re going to die as soon as you encounter a monster. There’s no doubt in my mind that I want to be an Arconaut because it sounds like the kind of thing I’d be good at, Arconautical activity, but what does it actually involve?
Well, it involves talking to a farmer then wandering north and getting killed by the first critters I see.
As does being a Greybeard.
As does being a Marauder.
As does being a Pilgrim.
As does being a Syzygyrior.
In each instance, my equipment is vaguely baffling, my destination is obscure, and my abilities appear to be a combination of occasionally helpful mutations and cack-handed combat skills.
None of this is to say that Caves of Qud is doing anything wrong. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t, the point is that I haven’t been able to get past those first minutes with each character. I should read a guide or just put aside half a day to learn the ropes, but until I do, Qud remains a mystery to me, and a somewhat frustrating one. It’s a roguelike as written by Will Self at his most mischievously obscure.