Tuesday, 11 July 2017

The Burning HOAK tree!

I was exploring the joys of Crawl's Hill Ork and Abyssal Knight (HOAK) combination, having stepped out of the Abyss, commanded by my deity Lord Lugonu to spread my corruption - when I got into a spot of bother.

I was being hounded by my fellow orcs, and their Beogh Priest, and they'd brought a menagerie of Phantoms, Yak's and Centaurs along for the massacre.

Desperately seeking shelter in my inventory sack, I fumbled out an unknown magical potion and quickly guzzled it down! It transpires (pun intended) that it was a potion of Lignification, which roots me to the spot and turns my body into a Tree! These orc puppets of Beogh are now gnawing at my bark, but doing very little damage to me.

I'm not entirely sure this pause in the pounding will last long, and without any other course of action available to me, I commune with the Lord of the Abyss himself. Lugonu answers my call for Corruption, and he claws at the very fabric of reality around me spreading his Hand of Corruption across the very ground where my roots where so firmly planted! From the Abyss, in pours an army of Abyssal Creatures!

The Green Very Ugly Thing being most prominent to my pitifully paralysed awestruck knot-like eyes!

All manner of unmentionables turn up, with the Worldbinder bringing more and more creatures of suppuration and demise to the fore. These minions of the mortal dungeons did not know what hit them! They were suffocated with the noxious fumes of pestilent death oozing from Lugonu's summoned horde.

If I could move anything, I would have cracked a smile through my pithy canopy and let some sap ooze out to show my glee. Revenge is sweet and sticky.

Amidst the brutality displayed by the thrashing horror and others, I fumbled around trying desperately to find anything that could treat my wooden wounds. I had no idea how long my preserving bark would last, nor whether the creatures of the Abyss would look favourably upon a lowly Hill Orc minion of Lugonu.

Foolishly reading out a scroll of immolation, I almost burn myself to the ground, but the fog of the Abyss soon dissipates the heat, luckily.

As the Corruption fades away, the dark forms shift and meld back into the night of the Abyss, my lignification also falls away.

I am dumb-founded at what just happened.. on the brink of death, I turned into a tree, called forth an army of unspeakable hate that laid waste to my attackers, and then as I uproot myself and take on Orc form once again, the death lays about my feet, along with a lot of loot, and a hint of satisfaction at witnessing Lugonu's power to protect his own.

The self satisfaction was short-lived though, as Ogz the HOAK went on to be frazzled by a pool of Electric Eels on the same level.

2806 Ogz the Fighter (level 9, -8/83 HPs)
Began as a Hill Orc Abyssal Knight on June 30, 2017.
Was an Elder of Lugonu.
Killed from afar by an electric eel (10 damage) ... with a bolt of electricity ... on level 8 of the Dungeon on July 7, 2017.
The game lasted 01:11:30 (8227 turns).

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Two Accessible Roguelikes: Midboss & Cardinal Quest 2

It has been a while since I've managed to pen something regarding roguelikes, and immediately I need to bring to your attention the possessive phenomenon that is Midboss.

Midboss is a gorgeously animated isometric crawler where you fight, defeat and possess other creatures, in order to take on their powers and become stronger by surgical selection of leeched powers.

Midboss recently released on Steam, and there was a whole episode of Roguelike Radio dedicated to it, in conversation with the developer Eniko over at Kitsune games.




Now, I also have to mention my return to the 4 directional action of Cardinal Quest 2. I avidly played the first installment of the game on mobile, but the further refinement of the game's core ideas into the sequel left me a little cold initially. I think I was too set in the extremely streamlined mobile centric ways to appreciate the work done on the sequel.

The early more "open" levels of the game, not speaking to the dungeon crawling desire.

Well, I'm happy to say I have returned to the experience, with a more open mind, with the freshness that only a break from genre can bring. CQ2 keeps the essence of the streamlined more accessible game, but it enhances the overall action with more options and much more variety in terms of environments and monsters.

I'm pleased to say, Cardinal Quest 2 seems to be taking up the mantle of accessible complexity for a new generation of traditional roguelikers.

With the Steam sale in full swing it could be time to harvest all those lovely new and not-so-new roguelikes as a long-term investment for the future.

Monday, 24 April 2017

7DRL - Brazen Berry Bonanza

It seems such a shame that the 7DRL challenge is over so soon, even with the few weeks afterwards awaiting the reviews, and then it all goes quiet again for another year.

I thought I might do some posts extending the exposure of some of the titles developed, and an easy start to this would be to present the ones I reviewed, whilst gathering whatever information I could on them..

So, here's the very first one I reviewed in my batch:

Brazen Berry Bonanza

by Ethan Hoeppner

Information and Download (Windows)


Playable on Web:


BBB is a puzzle game with roguelite tendencies, it centers around land expansion and berry growth, both affecting where the player can go, and how important an area is to protect from the encroaching enemies. You harvest the berries for points, and the seeds for resources to use to continue growth, or to destroy the enemy infiltration and their berries. if the enemy ripens 5 of their berries you lose. So there is a competing balance between protection of you crops and sabotage of the enemy harvest.

It provides for interesting placement decisions and emergent offensive/defensive play.

Completeness: 3

Well put together game, can leave player in no possible move situation, relies on enemy progress to end game

Aesthetics: 2  

Solid colour blocks, with pixel fruit, and the all important @ make it minimally satisfying and easy to see terrain assets and incoming dangers, needs a hint of more personality.

Fun: 2

I enjoyed the exploration of interactions between mechanisms, limited grow/seed resources makes for an interesting and emergent puzzle.

Innovation: 3

Environmental growth (organically builds map) & seeding, to harvest resources to gain points and push back/hinder the enemies.

Scope: 2

Bite sized terrain acquisition/defense puzzle, there is a seed to an interesting mobile title here if developed further

Roguelike-ness: 2

@ symbol, procedural terrain generated by grow/seed mechanics, seed ripening competition, real time expansion, more mechanics puzzle terrain/resource acquisition/defense game.

Searching for more info on the title, as luck would have it, I managed to find a Youtuber known as Deadly Habit who had covered the game, so I'll urge folks interested in the game to take a look at the video below and the channel.

If all goes well in the future, I'll document the titles I reviewed and will hopefully have some time to do some more 7DRL titles from this years batch.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

7DRL roundup & Roguelike Radio

I've been a busy @ recently, taking part in the reviewing process of the 2017 7DRL Challenge, and then I was kindly invited to join Darren Grey and Chris Haner on an episode of the Roguelike Radio Podcast to discuss some of this years entries.

So here is an inventory list of places to visit to level up your 7DRL rogue:

It was a real honour and a pleasure to take part in the reviewing process, and a dream come true to actually feature on the Roguelike Radio podcast. A show that I have listened to intently for a good number of years.

Thanks to Darren for the invite to put back a little something into the 7DRL roguelike community, and thanks to Chris Haner for his extensive video coverage of the 7DRL entries.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Quest of Dungeons

I have been meaning to do a quick look-see at this streamlined accessible roguelike, that is now out on many platforms (mobile, PC/Steam, PS4, Xbox One). Here I play a Mage finishing up dungeon level 1 and meandering into level 2, on the PS4 version.

The game has four classes to play:

  1. Fighter (bump to kill)

  2. Mage (burny burny tingly fingers)

  3. Hunter/Archer/Ranger (plink, plink)

  4. Shaman (scarey fear!)

Although the game is a very streamlined pixel roguelike, I think it is an ideal gateway into the "proper" roguelike genre - leading new players in gently, but still spanking them enough so that they learn lessons on what to do over time, how to horde what you need, how to switch on the "Stop and think" mode when you encounter a tricky boss.

The positive feedback with the plentiful looting, and bashing of room objects is a constant drip feed of acquisition. But when you meet a merchant, you need to know what to sell, and what trinket or bauble you need to buy at very elevated prices to ease your quest/door/chest opening burden for the future.

It can be quick play, sweeping around as fast as you want, but there are times when the smooth loot collecting is interrupted by REAL DANGER, and you must slow down and think about how you are going to live through this challenge.

You can stumble upon a boss early, and it's lights out. But usually, you're comfortably levelling up and upgrading equipment by the time you're seriously tried. The Archer seems the easiest to begin with, because everything is distance kill.. I've found the Shaman to be the most taxing, because his initial spell is simply a one or two turn "scare". There is diversity enough in the game, to keep playing.

So, if you're roguelike curious, this game is worth considering. It's only a few quid, and you might find it opens up the door to a myriad of roguelike gaming in the future! Plus the music by Aaron Krogh is cool.

Quest of Dungeons

The Haunting

So, I'm bull charging my way through Crawl with an impulsive axe wielding Minotaur named Bowson.

And he's blowing through level 6 of the Dungeon in a raged temper steaming out of his bovine nostrils, when he stumbles upon a ghostly elven figure who happens to be the vexed apparition of our very own Zax!!! Resurrected in torment to wander these caverns for all eternity exacting an ectoplasmic revenge!

The ghost of Zax passed, has even brought his White Imp with him...

So Bowson engages the familiar friend gone sour, with his usual horned gusto!

The nebulous Zax casts a spell and begins chanting.. whilst his Imp shouts out "Fly, thou unmuzzled tip-merry gudgeon!"

Bowson, the bull is poisoned. But calls upon the spirit of Trog, and tips into a Beserker rage!

and headbutts the spirit of Zax long gone, back into the neverworld once again!

Sick and Exhausted the fevered rage subsides...

(ooc: I know this is a regular unsurprising occurrence in the roguelike world, but still, there is something exciting upon meeting an old friend, that once kindled my imagination so many moons ago)

Bowson had a good run, cleaving Sigmund not shortly after..


and Crazy Yiuf with relative ease, these two being the bane of novice adventurers delving into the early levels of Crawl..



but also coming across the gluttonous wizardy slug, Gastronok the Ponderous.. a nasty slime with an array of spells at his command.



With Trog and the zerker rage on your side, Gastronok was no match for the Bull!



Sadly, Bowson's relentless slaying was on a timer, and by Dungeon level 10 that time was up. After unleashing a horde of small and large Abominations, he was eventually swamped by the sheer numbers of them.

They Zerged the Zerker. 

RIP Bowson, till we meet your vengeful ethereal corpse once again.

The Hunted become the haunted.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

7DRL incoming

A quick "infomercial", detailing the upcoming 7 day RogueLike (7DRL) challenge!

The 2017 Seven Day Roguelike Challenge invites developers to produce a complete roguelike game in seven short days. The challenge dates are set for 4-12 March 2017. Participants are challenged to complete a game in a 168 hour window within this time period.


  1. Go here: http://7drl.org (soak up all the information)

  2. Go here: http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=7DRL_Challenge_2017 (read everything)

  3. Visit the Temple http://7drl.roguetemple.com and marvel at the giants whose shoulders you may stand upon to reach higher

  4. Take a peek at the ones who made it on itch.io https://itch.io/games/tag-7drl

  5. Trawl the 7DRL twitterati for nuggets of extra info https://twitter.com/hashtag/7drl & spend some facetime with facebook https://www.facebook.com/7drlc/

  6. Listen to Roguelike Radio's new 7DRL episode for inspiration: http://www.roguelikeradio.com/2017/02/episode-133-how-to-make-traditional-7drl.html

  7. Peruse here for community tidbits and information: https://www.reddit.com/r/roguelikes/

  8. Converse with the experts and rockstars of Roguelike Development: https://www.reddit.com/r/roguelikedev/

  9. Learn how to code a RL http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=Roguelike_Dev_FAQ or http://www.roguebasin.com/index.php?title=Complete_Roguelike_Tutorial,_using_python%2Blibtcod or https://gamedevelopment.tutsplus.com/tutorials/how-to-make-your-first-roguelike--gamedev-13677 or https://unity3d.com/learn/tutorials/projects/2d-roguelike-tutorial or http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/JoshGe/20170207/290928/Two_Years_of_Roguelike_Development_FAQs.php or watch this https://youtu.be/9yJflbg0V38 or google "roguelike development coding"...

  10. Sign up, Get creative, Make something, Live the roguelike dev dream!!

P.S. Featured image is from a previous 7DRL created by Jeff Lait (yep, the guy on the latest Roguelike Radio episode) called Viscious Orcs.