On November 11 2017, at the Roguelike Celebration in San Francisco, I had the pleasure of doing the opening talk, titled “What is a Roguelike?, 2017 Edition”, where I explored some of the interpretations on the Roguelike term.
Something interesting I found while doing research for the talk was what could be the first efforts to organize a group of games similar to rogue under an umbrella term. This happened on Usenet, the technological precursor to Internet Forums, throughout which most of the discussion of computer games happened.
My current progress on this research indicates that the efforts to define this hierarchical relationship, intended mainly to facilitate discussion, ended up serving the purpose of creating a community of niche developers and players who through the constant usage of the term ended up giving it an evolving, collective meaning that was relatively stable until the 2010’s decade, with the growth of the indie games scene and diffusion of the more action focused “Roguelike” labeled games.
Kyzrati has finally managed to go through all the process to publish his sci-fi roguelike “Cogmind” to Steam.
While he has decided to release it as “Early Access”, as an indication of his open commitment to continue adding features to the game for several more months, Cogmind is already one of the most complete, stable and cool looking classic roguelikes out there.
With its amazing visuals and complex interactions, Cogmind is a game every roguelike fan should check out. Go ahead and grab it for a discounted price and witness its final steps towards an almost perfect sci-fi roguelike!
A second version of the Roguelike Celebration is going to take place next month over San Francisco, California.
Roguelike games have been part of gaming culture for over 30 years! They have a deep and special place in our hearts. There are so many fans across age groups and around the world that there should be a place for all of them to get together and celebrate these unique games.
We were inspired to do this by the International Roguelike Development Conference — and instead of a focus on development, this was for all of us — the players!
Last year over 200 people, developers and players, got together to celebrate the roguelike genre. This year it’s going to be two full days, for added awesomeness. Read more about last year event at Slashie’s blog
If you live near San Francisco, or if you can make it there, this is definitively something you shouldn’t miss, get your tickets over the Eventbrite site.
Last weekend I had a chance to share a trip to the Colombian Coffee Area with Glenn Wichman, one of the creators of the original Rogue (along with Michael Toy and Ken Arnold) and a veteran of the video games industry.
On Sunday we did this small but hopefully interesting interview, in the middle of the Colombian nature. Some of the topics we talked about are:
Game Design challenges when incorporating new technologies.
“Roguelites” and diversity on game design elements.
Issues with current videogame distribution channels
The role of the Game Designer and some other related disciplines.
Are you sick of hacking thru endless dungeons looking for ancient artifacts to save the world? take a look at Barking Dog Interactive’s in-dev game: Lone Spelunker.
In Lone Spelunker, you explore dark caverns in a turn-based, puzzle fashion, hoping not to die by falling from a cliff into a horrible dead. And you do all this just for a reason, to take cool selfies of yourself, deep under the ground.
In these caverns, you’ll find no goblins to smash, no magic loot nor evil balrons… it’s only yourself and your curiosity, hoping to discover as much as possible of the cave, while using your tools at hand carefully and patiently.
The movement commands may seem overwhelming at first, but they are rather easy to get accustomed to after a while; you’ll be mostly moving around, jumping and griping into walls, hammering pitons into the walls and shooting ropes from them, ziplining and rapeling to move quickly between the vast, beautifully rendered underground locations and lakes.
For your first sessions, I think it’s a good idea to keep the instructions on a separate screen all the time, so you can refer to them when needed.
This game is beautiful, it’s completely rendered on colored ASCII, and you will find it lacks a “look” command because most of the things in the screen are just aesthetic. With the exception of the solid rock, mud, water, your ropes and the hammer-able walls, the rest is just beautiful and colorful underworld.
You can play the game on any computer since it’s web accessible, just create an account and start playing. Have in mind however, that the game is currently in open beta, so some things may not work perfectly.
The games comes with a set of both randomly generated and fixed cavern complexes; for the fixed caverns you will find they have a list of challenges you may want to complete. They consist basically on finding something special and shooting yourself a selfie with it. The randomly generated caverns, on the other hand, allow yourself to take selfies just for fun, in the cool locations you’ll find underground.
As the game is still on beta, you’ll find some small details (for example, I was unable to change facing since Alt + Left caused my Chrome browser to go back, thus deleting my adventure :/). These are however small details since otherwise the game is very enjoyable right now.
I felt the game could have better lighting effects for both aesthetics and gameplay, I guess the developers choose to leave it this way for practical reasons. Also, providing ambient sound and sound effects (with lots of echo?) would add a lot to the atmosphere.
Now here comes the mandatory question: would you consider this game a roguelike? certainly there’s no hack and slash here, but its turn based (almost completely, with some things like oxygen drop happening in real time), grid based, single character with permanent failure and procedural environments. There is no conflict/combat nor inventory (and thus no resource management), and there’s little in the way of random action outcomes (although sometimes you could save yourself from death by doing a “miracle grip”). But most of the factors are here, plus it’s got ASCII display 🙂
Play Lone Spelunker now for a different cavern crawling experience!
Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike
Caves (Roguelike) is an Android game developed (apparently) by Russian studio 36devs.
There is not a lot of context around the game, but you’ll find yourself exploring a system of caverns. When you are creating a new character you assign your stat points to Strength, Agility and Luck, and your equipment is then randomly chosen (You always start with a melee and ranged weapon, but those may vary between knifes and pistols).
Mining is an important feature of the game, you can mine almost all of the level except some unbreakable walls, there you may find treasure or just create pathways to avoid unnecessary conflict.
The game is a bit too hard and may need some balance; you can easily find yourself in hard to survive situations just against your first enemies (Say an armoured skeleton able to deflect all of your attacks, backed by two skeleton archers tearing you from the distance and a goblin stabbing you quicker than you can react).
Survival is hard since health crystals are expensive and potions require quaff-identification in order to know their effects, most of the times you’ll find yourself giving up and just mining gold and crystals, since there’s persistent advancement thru the games and after dying you can then use these to buy equipment for your next character.
Your best bet may be staying off open areas and dig thru instead, hoping to find a good treasure (armour, weapons, useful potions) while fighting weak skeletons buried in the mud. You can also use some sort of special power allowing you to double your speed and escape dire situations which is very handy.
“Caves” is a classic roguelike with a great mobile UI, it is currently a bit unbalanced and too luck-based, although some strategies may help you get around it. The game seems to be still in development so be sure to check the updated. It’s also free (supported by ads), get it now!
Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike
Today I’ll be reviewing MicRogue, developed by Jason Pickering and published by Crescent Moon Games. It’s available for Android and iOS.
MicRogue is a puzzle game with roguelike elements, similar to Hoplite, where you have to explore a 10 floor tower to find the treasure and return back with it.
Each floor is contained on a single screen about 9 x 5 tiles, where you have to get to the stairs up. You will find traps like spikes, rising floors, sudden flames and more. And of course different enemies preventing you from reaching the stairs.
The enemies are the highlight of the game; each one has an unique pattern of attack and special effects. Some enemies for example can only attack and move diagonally, where others are just impossible to defeat by your own, and you’ll have to drive them into traps
The game is pretty fun and replayable; the free version is supported by Ads but they are not extremely intrusive; I noticed however they make the game crash in some devices.
The player (no class selection) can move or attack two squares in any direction, and can block up to 3 attack with his shield (which can be replenished in-game). The enemy AI is simple and sometimes easily exploitable, but that actually works well given its puzzle nature.
There is also a nifty feature to show the turn order of the enemies so you can take your best choice.
The User Experience is optimized for mobile devices and is pretty comfortable to play. It also helps that the game is not a traditional roguelike, so there’s no inventory, skills or stats to meddle with.
MicRogue is a simple and fun puzzle game with roguelike elements (permadeath, random generation, grid based, turn based), which works great for short gameplay sessions; you will find yourself wanting to give it just another try just to find yourself dead after a small mistake. If you liked Hoplite, but wanted a simpler and more relaxed set of rules, go ahead and play this game!
Reviewed by Slash, priest of Temple of The Roguelike
This year we had 249 entries, 133 of which ended up with a finished entry. The reviewing committee swiftly went through them with 308 assessments, evaluating 56 of these entries with a 2+ score. You can check the results here