I really haven't given Caves Of Qud a fair chance. It's a bizarre roguelike, an open-world exploration RPG, and a sort of sandboxy world simulation. A big reason I haven't given it the time it deserves is because there's so much to it that I fear I'd never come out again.
Fortunately, on Saturday its developers Freehold Games released its "biggest update ever", the Tomb Of The Eaters. It's a good opportunity to demonstrate how huge, detailed, and wonderfully strange it is.
The centrepiece is naturally the Tomb itself. It's twelve storeys tall, with about 100 maps, and contains multiple distinct ("historically striated") sections, surrounded by new architecture and archaeological features, all of which are jammed with new creatures, NPCs, and objects. Three more factions have been added, along with a new village and several quests, one of which is tied into the overall main story. It's still in early access, and the devs openly say they have no strict timeline, and it "will remain in Early Access until you can complete the main plot".
Caves Of Qud is big on physical exploration, but that's made far more interesting by its unique and original setting. Creatures tend to form or interact with factions, complete with their own culture and rituals. As such, a massive new building in the world is always welcome, but it's all the bits tied into it that are exciting.
Chief among that is a heap of new things to play with. 16 new cybernetic implants are available, including the "anomaly fumigator", "anchor spikes", and my personal YES PLEASE, a bionic liver. There are new items like "time dilation grenades", a recalculation of movement speed to a linear percentage rather than quadratic, and swimming and pools of liquid have been rejigged to make swimming and wading more natural. There are a couple of new cooking recipes, and a new liquid called brain brine. Brain brine.
This is a game where you might wander off with a sword to fight fish mutants for the local village. It's also a game with patch notes like "Spacetime vortices and rifts now deposit all objects that enter through them into a consistent destination zone (randomly determined per anomaly), rather than destroying non-player objects. Companions sucked into a vortex are unable to rejoin you until you find them." It's a blending of brutish low-tech looter RPG stuff with off the wall technology, a vaguely Mad Max crossed with Dune crossed with Dwarf Fortress affair. And now there's more of it.
Did you know that:
- "Small spheres of negative weight now add to your weight when they're broken or otherwise inoperative"?
- "Having thirst inflicted on you by an attack no longer triggers tongue bleeding from glotrot"?
- "Robotic and otherwise inorganic creatures are no longer made thirsty by thirst thistle attacks"?
It's good news, and I don't know about you, but I'd be near instantly sold on a game in which "Animating an object with Spray-a-Brain no longer causes every object of that type to be recategorized as a Creature."
Honestly, you'd do well to have a look at the two-part patch notes. It's hard to pick a favourite. For a little bit more context, there's also the amusing thought of FPS lover Big Matt trying it out for the first time. He does okay actually, but don't tell him that.