It's been exactly one year and a day since our Adam went to have a good old poke around the clearly haunted Golden Krone Hotel. At the time, the vampire-themed roguelike was already two years into development and officially entering early access. Perfectly on schedule, the final game was released yesterday after one year of additional community-driven tweaking and refinement, and it's a lovely little thing indeed.
Golden Krone Hotel leans right into its world of vampires, werewolves and other traditional Hammer Horror creatures. Light and shadow, sun and moonlight, fire and blood - they all play huge parts, mechanically. Vampires burn in sunlight, wolves bathe in the moon, and humans are at a distinct disadvantage in the dark. It's intuitive stuff, all building on classic monster lore, seared into our brains from childhood, and makes for an immediately accessible setting.
A clock tracks the time of day and the position of the light streaming into the building, letting you know exactly when the sun is at your back, just beyond a dense stained glass window - a single well timed bullet can clear an entire room full of vampires that would have otherwise ripped you to shreds, if you're careful and smart. A ubiquitously satisfying move.
While you'll still occasionally need to remember keyboard commands, this one if definitely more accessible than Nethack, ADOM and their ilk, offering hints and mouse controls for many basic actions. Sprites slide, hop and bounce around neatly, and combat is accompanied by some crunchy NES-like effects and a little screenshake. It's all tied together with simple yet communicative sprite art, and a nice soundtrack to boot, although I'm still tempted to replace everything with Castlevania effects and music.
Golden Krone Hotel's time in early access has been well spent. You can see the full breakdown in the update logs here, with especially cool bits being an endless underworld, and a difficulty setting so intense that it changes the title screen from a full moon to a blood moon and adds "gnarly" music. While normally locked to 4-way movement, giving the game its own feel, you can now opt to allow diagonal movement throughout the entire game for players and monsters. Between this and a multitude of difficulty settings, I'd say there's something here for most RPG fans, even if roguelikes aren't normally your cup of tea.
Golden Krone Hotel is available on Steam for £7/$10, minus a 20% launch discount until the end of the Halloween sale.