Vagante has left early access after four years, so who better to take a look than someone who can barely get off the first level of this ultra-hard rogue-lite platformer? Everyone else, that’s who! Read the rest of this entry »
RPS Feature Seriously hard spelunking
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.
RPS Feature Descent of a Woman
Each week Marsh Davies shuffles apprehensively into the dank catacombs of Early Access and returns with any stories he can find and/or a faceful of cycloptic bat guano. This week he quaffs an unidentified cyan potion and throws himself onto a bed of spikes, repeatedly, in procedural permadeath platformer Vagante, a particularly Roguish Spelunkalike.
Did you play Spelunky and think, “What this really needs is to be a lot darker, with several additional layers of complication and a much less parseable tileset”? Somebody out there did, and judging by the wholly positive Steam reviews, at least 68 other folk did as well.
I can’t claim to be one of these strange, troglodytic creatures, but then I also must confess that it took me many concerted attempts before I finally fell beneath Spelunky’s subterranean charm. Maybe it’ll happen with Vagante. It hasn’t quite yet – although some several dozen misadventures later, I am warming to it. It manages that rare trick, as Spelunky did, of making failure the most entertaining part. It’s certainly the most plentiful. My sorties into the underworld have ended in the digestive cavities of man-eating plants, as demon-dog dinners, beneath boulders, in spike-pits and in pieces, thanks to the Bandit King’s axe. But throughout, my most dangerous enemy has been myself – my incaution, my stupidity, my insatiable desire to immediately glug every pungent, bubbling concoction I find in the bottom of a barrel. If I discover a helmet made out of jelly, I’m wearing it. And then, when I realise it’s cursed, I’m going to drink my unidentified inventory dry, set myself on fire, and teleport into a pool of piranhas.
When I last wrote about Vagante, I called it “Spelunky: The RPG”. Well done, past me! That’s a good way to describe the game – a procedurally-generated platformer with permadeath but also potions, item stats, hitpoints, etc. – and to do so in a way that will draw in the people who will like it. Are you one of those people? Then you might be interested to know that the previously free alpha build is now a demo for a just-launched Kickstarter project. The development team are looking to secure $50,000 to fund completion of the game.
Adam has reclaimed the word ‘roguelike’, having clutched it in his elongated claws and buried it beneath the bracken lining his cavernous sett. That makes it hard to describe Vagante, a 2D platformer that moves closer than Spelunky towards that oft-cited genre, containing not only random levels, permadeath and an unforgiving world, but other familiar features like character types, skill levelling, unidentified potions, and weapons and magical skills with varied stats.
Probably it’s best you just play the game, because the first public alpha is out, free and very promising. Video below.