The start of December has been kind to like-roguelike-likes, with the excellent Red Rogue (more on that story later) moving from demo to finished game, and setting up permanent residence on my hard drive. However, if you prefer something a little less tense, you could always try a tower-climbing action game, a Pro Gaming simulator or even a post-apocalyptic adventure game. You'll find the lowdown on each after the break.
I first encountered Red Rogue a few months ago, when I thought I was playing the finished version, but this updated build features countless additions to the core sidescrolling dungeon-crawling action. For the uninitiated: it's a roguelike. Actually it's more than just a roguelike, as it's also an unofficial sequel to Rogue, the relatively simple randomly-generated ascii RPG that kicked the whole movement off. The major differences here are that sidescrolling perspective, coupled with a skeletal minion that travels faithfully at your side, dispatching enemies on your behalf as well as wearing any hats you can bear to part with.
Oh yeah, the hats. Hats are important in Red Rogue, not just for raising your defence but for making you look swish in front of the goblins, cactuars and other shadowy creatures that reside in the bowels of this almost monochrome gauntlet. My favourite is the top hat, mainly because it's a top hat, but you'll doubtless find your own favourites too. Like all the best roguelikes, there's a streak of chaotic comedy piercing through the unremitting tension, mostly evidenced here by the delightful spritework.
You can play Red Rogue online at the above link (or at Newgrounds , if you prefer), though there's also an offline version of the game. If you like what you see, you can thank creator Aaron Steed with a cup of coffee (or a White Russian, if you want to get him hammered).
7Soul's Tower isn't your average one-button action game, mainly because it features two buttons - one to jump, and another to do a spinny boost thing that just might get you out of tricky situations. Conceived for Ludum Dare's latest MiniLD competition, and discovered by Free Indie Games , 7Soul's Tower is the kind of game I can see people losing a lot of time (and sleep) to. Thankfully, I'm terrible at it, far too terrible to embarrass myself any further, but you might fare better than me. A blind donkey would fare better than me.
The only thing I can't work out is if the game lacks music, or my computer just hates HTML5, but that's the only element missing here. So stick on a soundtrack of someone screaming at how rubbish you are (alternatively, ring up your old PE teacher) and get playing. And replaying. And replaying.
I'm not sure that Pro Gamer: The Game really captures the spirit of Pro Gaming (in that it doesn't feature a team of Koreans staring intently at a bank of monitors), but it is a fun series of microgames that offers a view of gaming not normally seen: one of the person sitting behind the TV/monitor screen. As IndieGames point out, PG:TG won $6,000 at the Brazilian International Games Festival - not bad for something whipped up in 24 hours, without access to the outside world.
Basically, you earn cash by playing microgames on the TV, like a simple rhythm game, a space invaders clone and so on. You can then use the cash to buy upgrades, including a better TV and chair and, er, doritos.
It's a shame that RED will seemingly never be finished , because this demo contains the foundations for a game I'd really like to play. It's a point-and-click adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world. Wolves and bandits roam the forest outside your community's sheltering walls, and can only be fended off with crap you find lying on the ground. The art style (inspired by Sword & Sworcery) is impressive, and I like the inclusion of RPG battles, even if they're a bit placeholder at the moment.
Sadly, it lacks music. It also lacks convincing walking animation - but then RED is unfinished after all. Hopefully AwkwardSilenceGames will return to the game at some point, because I'd like to know (and see) more of this world. (Spotted by IndieGames .)