I can't imagine a combination of words more targeted to my interests than "rhythm roguelike". Maybe "chicken ice cream", but that would be disgusting. Crypt of the Necrodancer, however, is a sublime game—tying turn-based dungeon crawling to the beat of a Danny Baranowsky soundtrack. Even better, it will be available at the end of the month, with the Early Access version launching on 30 July.
What’s a roguelike? It’s getting harder to find an answer these days, with more and more games taking the basic idea of randomly generated worlds and adding enough of a spin that a single pseudo-genre can’t really cover it. Shattered Planet features most of the tropes, including randomised worlds full of painful death. You play as a series of disposable clones, sent down from a spaceship to Planet Hey, Isn’t This Bastion? to document wildlife and hunt for treasure on behalf of an occasionally generous employer. Where most roguelikes treat each life as a fresh, all-inclusive experience, here the currency found on each jaunt can be spent on permanent character upgrades. Does that disqualify it? Who knows. But it certainly helps when facing an army of killer aliens for the fiftieth time.
The Nightmare Cooperative has come a long way since its clever browser-based prototype back in March. It's still clever, but now it's gorgeous too, boasting a lovely angular art style that fits the turn-based puzzling like a glove. This new version of the single-player co-op roguelike (I'll get to that in a moment) now has a trailer, along with a release date: Wednesday July 16th. Thoughts and moving images after the break.
Spelunky HD earned our Game of the Year award last year, thanks to its systemic difficulty and new Daily Challenge mode. But, should its smooth and unpixelated graphics feel like an afront to the almighty retro gods, you can now enjoy a modification to the game's original (and free) incarnation. Called Spelunky SD, the mod not only offers fixes, but also introduces a 2-player online co-op mode.
A public service announcement: Videogame characters; sure, delving headlong into an unexplored cavern might sound heroic, but caves are the first sign of a roguelike. Remember: if you see a cave entrance, think! Walk on by, and find something safer—a hidden object game or a point-'n-click adventure. No, not the Sierra ones.
With that out of the way, let's take a look at Vagante. It's a... oh, it's a cave-based roguelike. I don't know why I bother.
Nobody would blame you for having had your fill of sidescrolling, procedurally generated platforming roguelikes, but Crystal Catacombs might be worth a curious glance before you swear off the sub-sub-genre forever. For one thing, it's gorgeous, employing tiny yet detailed and colourful (but not garishly so) pixel art to bring its neon cavey world to life. It's a slightly different breed of game to something like Spelunky - the physics are nowhere near as delightfully precise - but you should find something to enjoy here if you traversed your way through Super Metroid or Symphony of the Night back in the day. Details and demo link after the break.
It's rare to find something genuinely fresh in a roguelike, what with 74.8% of the genre being both top-down and ascii-based, but We Need to Go Deeper is the rare example of a RL that grabbed my attention out of left-field. First there's that visual style, which presents an illustrated storybook world of giant squids, sharks, crabs and soggy mermen. Then there's the setting: a Beatles-style yellow submarine under the sea. Lastly there's the promise of an AI director guiding the two-to-four-player, co-op-heavy experience. You'll find a rather exciting trailer 20,000 leagues under the break.
Brutal sci-fi roguelike Teleglitch: Die More Edition has just updated with a brand new mode. Where in the main campaign, a handful of enemies would expectantly jump out at your frail, unprepared body, now you can turn the tables with the cathartic Arena mode. It lets you choose from a variety of weapon loadouts, and asks you to survive against a horde of the game's monsters.
What if Megatron was a first-person shooter and Devolver Digital slipped him way more drugs than he could handle? What kind of power-up do you get from wearing high heels? Do you really need more ammo than what a single revolver can hold? Heavy Bullets, out now on Steam Early Access, aims to answer these important questions.
Klei's season-survivor Don't Starve excels as a single-player experience, where a world full of dark forests, Moose-Goose, and warm beards tickles that roguelike itch in all the right ways. A missing and seemingly expected element of the genre—and a subject of heated debate across multiple closed threads on the game's official forums—is multiplayer support so friends can huddle together against winter's chill or place hats on neighboring pig-folk. Surprise: Klei's planning a multiplayer expansion out this summer and free for current Starvians.
As much as we love roguelikes (and really, we do), it seems like we’re up to our ankles in them at the moment. To stand out, an indie roguelike has got to have a great setting like FTL, a great premise like Curious Expedition, or great everything like Spelunky. Echoes of Eridu hit Kickstarter last week as a rarer creature: the multiplayer roguelike. Eridu borrows heavily from the Mega Man universe for its look and feel, but the co-op platforming is the most exciting part.
With all the possible top-down, isometric and platforming roguelikes having already been made, developers have, with some inevitability, moved on to the first-person roguelikes, as evidenced by the likes of Paranautical Activity and Eldritch. Rogue Shooter is perhaps the most extravagant of the lot, despite a name so cookie-cutter it could be used as a Steam tag or to, y'know, cut cookies. It should be called Procedurally Generated First-Person Kicking and Ridiculous Guns Game. We mentioned the existence of Procedurally Generated First-Person Kicking and Ridiculous Guns Game back in August last year, and now Procedurally Generated First-Person Kicking and Ridiculous Guns Game is out on Steam.
Can a top-down game be terrifying? If you're an RTS player, you already know the answer. Breaching a fog-of-war with a small, exploratory force, only to run head-long into a 20-unit Mammoth Tank assault? Pant ruining, let me tell you.
Darkwood is hoping that the top-down view can also provide more atmospheric scares. The horror roguelike showed off its twisted, creeping dread through a couple of pre-alpha trailers released last year. Now, a new video is preparing players for an upcoming Early Access release.
Indie developer Digital Eel has released the third of its roguelike space adventure Infinite Space series, Sea of Stars, to Steam Early Access. A single-player strategy game with turn-based movement but real-time combat, the move to Steam follows the developer's developer successful Kickstarter funding campaign from 2013.
PAX East’s designated indie games fiefdom was, unsurprisingly, overflowing with interesting projects. Secret Ponchos. Gods Will Be Watching. Subnautica. Not A Hero. Below. Many of the other games on display were known quantities that we’d either played previously or are playable now in a pre-release form. The one that stuck with me most was Darkest Dungeon, a roguelike that had somehow slipped through my sensor array.
It was less than two months ago that top Spelunky streamer Bananasaurus_Rex smashed through Spelunky's $3,000,000 barrier to take the high score world record. It's an achievement I thought would hold, thanks to the incredible luck of finding a plasma cannon and jetpack on the first two levels. It wasn't to be, as now YamaYamaDingDong has broken that record by just $3,975. More impressively, he did the majority of the run without the level-blasting power of the plasma cannon.
The very first thing I notice when I start playing Below is how tiny I am. Noticing this makes Kris Piotrowski, Creative Director at Capybara Games, extremely happy. "That's the point," he says. I'm supposed to feel vulnerable, miniscule, and alone. Even in a crowd of gamers who are getting their first taste of Capy's upcoming roguelike, I do feel alone.
What with its controversial launch parity policy, Microsoft hasn't exactly done a bang up job of wooing indie developers onto the Xbox One thus far. That said, one of the more promising projects which it has managed to sign up is Below from Capybara Games. Previously billed as an Xbox One exclusive, the latest trailer for the game reveals it will also be coming to the PC. I mean, of course it is. Capybara seem like bright people. Why the hell wouldn't it be?
Welcome to the After Action Report, an account from one of PC gaming's varied, exciting battlefields.
FTL's creators wanted to make a brilliant Captain Picard sim, but Picard doesn't tend to die in a fire half-way through an episode of The Next Generation. Instead they've created a terrific roguelike that almost always ends in horrible death, but always spawns a neat little story every time you play. You control the crew of a spaceship as it zips across the galaxy trying to escape the laser beams of a pursuing rebel fleet. You meet pirates, recruit strange aliens and upgrade your ship to match increasingly deadly enemies. A juicy free update is about to add a load of new features, so I paid one last visit to the original version, to rediscover its brilliance, and try to reach the final boss.
As a roguelike, Dungeon of the Endless gives players more than one way to die. But it's also a mix of squad-based exploration, tower defense, and RPG-style upgrades, so there's also more than one way to stay alive, too. The game's newest trailer shows how these different genres work together to make the game cohesive.