Giant skeletal rat bat ghoul lichmummy made real

The Slimy Lichmummy

Author Ulf Åström
Platform Windows (binaries); Mac, Solaris, Linux, BSD (compile from sources)
Version 0.40
Website http://www.happyponyland.net/the-slimy-lichmummy

The Slimy Lichmummy is among the most originally named roguelike games. Game website proclaims it has been so because someone asked the author: “make a giant slimy skeletal rat bat ghoul lichmummy with a severed hand and floating skull”. And so he did. The game delivers on all of the mentioned aspects: from humble ratmen to elder lichmummies.

Continue reading “Giant skeletal rat bat ghoul lichmummy made real”

Lone Spelunker by Barking Dog Interactive

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.

A great adventure awaits for you
A great adventure awaits for you

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.

The entrance to a cave, right into an underground puddle
The entrance to a cave, right into an underground puddle

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.

This shaft was about 230 mt deep. That a long rope!
This shaft was about 230 mt deep. That a long rope!

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.

To prevent getting lost in the caverns, you can use the map (though some players may consider it cheating) or a gyrotheodolite / baromether to find your latitude and depth.
To prevent getting lost in the caverns, you can use the map (though some players may consider it cheating) or a gyro-theodolite / barometer to find your latitude and depth.

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.

Careful! any misstep could lead to horrible death!
Careful! any misstep could lead to horrible death!

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.

There's a website where you can share your selfies and discuss the caverns with other players
There’s a website where you can share your selfies and discuss the caverns with other players

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.

You'll have to plan your moves carefully to get into some locations
You’ll have to plan your moves carefully to get into some locations

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.

The caverns seem to be based on real world locations, you will also learn a bit about spelunking, with the game taking you to wikipedia from time to time for reference.
The caverns seem to be based on real world locations, you will also learn a bit about spelunking, with the game taking you to wikipedia from time to time for reference.

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 by 36Dev

Caves (Roguelike) is an Android game developed (apparently) by Russian studio 36devs.

Title Screen
Title Screen

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).

You may find surprises such as skeletons stuck into the walls
You may find surprises such as skeletons stuck into the walls

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.

Levels are huge, mining is important to avoid conflicts and get treasure.
Levels are huge, mining is important to avoid conflicts and get treasure.

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).

You may easily find yourself into this kind of situations just starting the game.
You may easily find yourself into this kind of situations just starting the game.

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.

This is the area where new characters appear, you can buy equipments and skills using your persistent treasury.
This is the area where new characters appear, you can buy equipments and skills using your persistent treasury.

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 pretty classic roguelike, when you level up you can assign points to skills.
You can always check your status, and when you level up you can assign points to skills.

“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

Microgue by Jason Pickering

Today I’ll be reviewing MicRogue, developed by Jason Pickering and published by Crescent Moon Games. It’s available for Android and iOS.

Title Screen
Title Screen

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.

Exploring the dungeon
Exploring the dungeon

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.

Unique enemies
Unique enemies

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

It... it was a... Hatori Hanzo
It… it was a… Hatori Hanzo

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.

There be dragon
There be dragon

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

What a beautiful day. Let’s kill some ugly monsters!

Fame

Author Piotr Bednaruk
Platform Windows, Linux
Version 8.3 (newest available is 8.4)
Website http://sourceforge.net/projects/untitled-rpg/

City at nightBold adventurer, is it fame you are after? Do you want treasure, fight fierce beasts or just to explore the land? This roguelike game, Fame, does not provide any answers for these questions. An adventurer you are and thats it. A manual bundled with the game also remains quiet about your reasons to wander around the world and whack monsters risking your life many times in the process. I found this lack of introduction incongruent with Fame’s otherwise well done plot. Anyway, who really needs a reason to hunt monsters?

Continue reading “What a beautiful day. Let’s kill some ugly monsters!”

Passive-aggressive plants on the prowl

Author Jabb
Platform Linux, Windows (must compile)
Version 15th December 2011
Website https://github.com/jabb/BileBio/

BileBio is a tiny arcade game with roguelike feel. It started as a 1DRL and had some development later. Every game stage has but one aim which is the same every time: reach the stairs alive. The problem is caused by massive plants growing at astonishing speeds. If something would happen to grow on you – it means death, although BileBio does not explain exactly how you die.

Plants in BileBio are combined of roots, flowers and vines. Each part can spawn more of its kind. Roots are indestructible and can spawn new root in any place at the board. They can also burst producing four flowers around it and lots of vines. Flowers grow new plant parts in chess knight pattern while vines grow into adjacent squares. The last two forms can only grow up two times before decaying and withering. Roots sometimes also wither but it is uncommon event. An active plant segment is highlited in red (beware!); decaying segments are displayed in brown.

An elusive thing hinted at in readme is the nectar. Presumably it is worth many energy points and score but I have to encounter one yet. Having reached up to level 31 with 51440 points of score none were generated. None in all games I played. It might be exceedingly rare or not placed due to some bug. Whatever the reason I never found any nectar.

The game presents player with nine abilities to learn at varying costs. These are organized into three branches in which to acquire the higher ability one must have earlier one as a prerequisite. At any time up to three different skills can be learned. Some abilities center around wall usage. Hiding inside one is possible and grants safety for a time. Jumping over a single wall is very helpful in mazes and also cheap. Dash can be quite boon before the growth becomes dense or in short windows of opportunity right after some parts decay. Attacking a plant can be guarantee of survival in some cases but in other jumping over it may be preferable. Finally one can spawn a wall to hide in. The remaining skills have almost prohibitive cost of attaining them. You need to expend sixty points of energy before you can use any and still need more to benefit or fuel previously learned tricks. These are: extra lives (50 energy each), repellent lasting ten turns (costs 10 energy) and energy tripling from nectar (free, but find any nectar first!).

Obstacle and stair arrangement is chosen from a set of twelve handmade maps. Some have multiple exits and plenty of walls to use wall hop or wall walk. Others are mostly empty relying on growing plant life to create variety. Over longer playthrough lack of procedurally generated levels or at least more prepared maps is weak side of BileBio.

There are two factors that factor into difficulty. How many roots are spawned when the stage begins and how fast the plants of given stage get active. At early stages the plant life may die out if helped a bit but with progressing stages the green infestation gets to expand faster and faster.

A specific weak point of the game is unreliable numeric keypad handling. Orthogonal directions are read fine but diagonals are not recognized on every computer. Vi keys are provided as an alternative. That and requirement to compile the game from sources relegates BileBio into obscurity.

To sum up BileBio is a fun thing to try but it is not going to hold your attention for long.