I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to any game that features the word “rogue” in its genre description. Most do a terrible job of being engaging, instead forcing you back to the beginning and wasting your time, while others give perhaps too much leniency, rendering the experience trivial. Ziggurat may not be perfect in the latter category, but it keeps things interesting, which is what matters.
Framed around some kind of ritualistic test that you must pass in order to be ordained a mage, the player is thrust into randomised catacombs armed with the knowledge of a simple spellblast and another randomised spell. Initially, these will be relatively basic, but each weapon has an alternative firing mode. Your wand can shoot rapid bursts of magic, or charge up a more powerful shot, for example. You don’t just get spells either. You can pick up guns and more explosive weapons to blast enemies away. Increasing in levels also lets you choose cards to augment your character, such as increasing the chance of an enemy dropping an item.
As you make your way through the trial, more spells and items are made available for future runs, as well as alternative characters. Meanwhile, the enemies are not always the kind you’d see in similar fantasy games. There are sentient carrots and charging dodos among the goblins, banshees, and floating skulls. At times the room can be so full of enemies that the action gets a little too frantic, but the colourful visuals and precise shooting kept me coming back, until I reached the final test. In the end, I’m glad I plunged into the Ziggurat.