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Vagante Is Spelunky: The RPG And There's A Free Alpha

A rogu-- I mean, a procedural death maze

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.

The alpha does have sound, though this video does not:

Let's lock it in a dungeon with Catacomb Kids and make them fight for our affections.

In the 20 minutes of Vagante I've played so far, I've died maybe seven or eight times. A couple of times it's because I failed a tricky bit of platforming and fell on some spikes. A couple of times it was because I failed to spot traps - darts, falling blocks, pressure-triggered enemies - and was quickly battered. One time it was because I triggered some sort of level-crossing deathworm, forty times the size of me or any other enemy I'd seen up until that point.

The platforming seems less physically satisfying than Spelunky, shifting the focus instead to its potions and powers. Those seem compellingly varied. The unmarked bottles I've downed so far have turned out to be time-limited dash abilities, chicken-related float powers and so on, while I've unlocked skills that allow me to slip into stealth mode by crouching and magic staffs that shoot freeze blasts at the various slimes and bats and other deadly creatures that mean to kill me. The two available characters both have completely separate sets of upgradable skills, too.

I stress, this is what I've seen while just fumbling around on the first level, so I can only assume there's much more to discover should I eventually progress. For a first release, it's mighty impressive. The latest version of Vagante can be downloaded from IndieDB, where its developers are keen to receive feedback so they can make the game better. It's only 12MB, too.

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Graham Smith avatar

Graham Smith

Deputy Editorial Director

Rock Paper Shotgun's former editor-in-chief and current corporate dad. Also, he continues to write evening news posts for some reason.