4 years later, platformer roguelike Vagante launches

A soon-to-be-dead wizard, yesterday.

As someone who can barely plan their own life a month ahead, I hold a boundless wellspring of respect for indie developers who can churn away at a passion project for years on end without any firm promise of success at the end of it.

The latest slow-cooked project to come out of the oven is Vagante, a remarkably technical platformer-roguelike blend that RPS’s Marsh Davies took a lengthy look at back at the start of 2015, during its early days in alpha testing. Needless to say, it’s grown a bit since then.

Update: The developer pointed me to the most recent trailer for the game, which you can see below. It’s still a few years old. Apparently a new one is in the works.

At first blush, you could be excused for mistaking Vagante for Spelunky. A similar control scheme and art not dissimilar to Spelunky’s earlier, pixelly iteration make it an easy point of reference, but there are significantly more layers to this particular onion, most of them resulting in tears. Where Spelunky was about learning the precise usage of a very controlled pallette of enemies, environments and tools, Vagante aims to pattern itself after Nethack, the venerable great grandaddy of modern roguelikes.

What this means is a lot of items with possible alternative uses, a lot of creatures, and a lot of environments to learn, leading to a long learning curve but potentially great satisfaction if you stick around long enough to figure it all out. The launch patch-notes mention that the v1.0 release of Vagante adds a final zone, reworks the tutorial and includes a long-term progression and unlock system, and promises that development will continue at least some ways into 2018, but all the planned core content is now present and correct.

As for the other 50+ sets of patch notes between now and when we last looked properly at the game, you’ll just have to dig in for yourself, but I think it’s safe to say that Vagante has been polished and refined a lot over the past three years. The full game offers singleplayer and local multiplayer, and a feature that few indie platformers dare tackle: Online multiplayer. The game seems well enough populated at the moment, too, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find an adventuring buddy or two.

Vagante is out now on Steam and will put a £11/$15-sized hole in your wallet. Rather than do a launch discount, the developer has opted to raise the price a bit after the 25th, so if you’re sitting on the fence on this one, now would be the time to hop off it.

21 Comments

  1. Raoul Duke says:

    Bad name.

    • dontnormally says:

      Also,

      > Rather than do a launch discount, the developer has opted to raise the price a bit after the 25th

      I think it’s generally assumed to be better to have sales…

  2. BradleyUffner says:

    Is that video sped up from normal gameplay? This looks like fun, except for it looking way too fast for my reflexes and enjoyment.

    • Imaginary Llamas says:

      That video, as well as showing a much older build, is sped up a lot, yes. During normal gameplay you can usually explore at your own pace – in fact, the number of nasty and occasionally instakilling traps means that going at a cautious pace is a good idea!

    • Dominic Tarason says:

      As mentioned, the one on the Steam store page is far more representative of the game. Unfortunately, we can’t embed Steam videos on RPS.

  3. Lord_Santa says:

    You had me at ‘local multiplayer’. Never play with/against anyone who is outside of your punching range.

  4. Ser Crumbsalot says:

    “Rather than do a launch discount, the developer has opted to raise the price a bit after the 25th”

    A rather poor decision on their part, I find – they way they did it, there is absolutely no indication on the store page that a price change is coming. I assumed they opted to leave the price as is, and if you didn’t mention it here, I wouldn’t have found out, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

    Weird that they didn’t just raise the price & discount it to the current one until the 25th. That said, the price change is rather small (it’s just 3$), so whatever, I guess.

    • Josh Grams says:

      I gather Steam has a bunch of rules about how often you can change the price or have sales. I would think that leaving early access would be one of the exceptions, but maybe you still can’t both increase the price and have a sale at the same time? Or yeah, maybe it’s just be a poor choice on their part. :)

      • Landiss says:

        I’m guessing they already plan to have a promo later on. There is some limit of how many promos a game might have in some specific amount of time, or something like that.

      • Bobtree says:

        > maybe you still can’t both increase the price and have a sale at the same time?

        This is not the case. Heliborne did exactly that when last summer’s Steam sale started: new higher price + a discount to the previous price.

    • mishapsi says:

      We assumed we could raise the price and offer a launch discount at the time. But we learned, as far as the terms of service go however you aren’t able to offer a discount within 30 days of a price change. Ideally the former would of been better, but this was the best available option.

  5. ersetzen says:

    So has anyone played enough of spelunky, towerclimb, vagante, caveblazers and catacomb kids to compare them?

    I have real trouble differentiating between vagante and caveblazers.

    • Turkey says:

      It’s somewhere in between Spelunky and Caveblazers. There’s character classes and a bunch of rpg mechanics like in Caveblazers, but the gameplay feels more tight and deliberate like in Spelunky.

    • DingDongDaddio says:

      I’ve played a lot of all of them other than TowerClimb (on my wishlist but it just seems a little too odd to pull the trigger on)

      Vagante and Caveblazers are so similar, but the pacing flips the dynamic completely. Caveblazers is fast and spontaneous in that Spelunky way, and Vagante is slow, methodical, deliberate, sorta’ in that Dark Souls way.

      • Bobtree says:

        TowerClimb is wonderful.

        • Dominic Tarason says:

          I gather there’s a new expansion in the works for Towerclimb, too. The most stressful platform-roguelike will only get scarier.

  6. April March says:

    The real question is: between this and Brigador, which is the best roguelike named after a single word that sort of makes sense for a Portuguese speaker but would never be used in actual conversation?

    • vahnn says:

      Tough call. I love both, but Vagante has multiplayer modes which add a lot of fun and longevity to the game.

  7. vahnn says:

    I loooove love love this game. It’s come a long way since I first picked it up a few years ago.