Not since the bizarre alchemy of Peggle World of Warcraft Edition has someone dared such a feat, to combine the dark arts of a pachinko-like puzzler with the fantasy adventure—much less the vaunted roguelike. Yet here we are. Roundguard released this week on Steam, a “bouncy dungeon crawler with pinball physics” and it looks like a complete joy. It did the convention circuit last year and netted a few awards, like the PAX 10 and Indie Megabooth Selection. It also has a thumbs-up from Jason Kapalka, co-founder of PopCap, on its Steam page: “Like Peggle had a baby with Diablo! It’s an awesome dungeon-balling adventure!” which is a horrible pun but I will forgive him just this once.
The game takes one of a few characters, each with their own special and activated abilities, and throws them into a dungeon crawl—quite literally. Each round of the game they’re shot out of a ballista and into enemies to deal damage, and defeating those enemies, breaking pots, and scooping up potions is how you progress from room to room in a vertical dungeon delve. As you go, you pick up quests and strategically guide yourself to bosses and new loot you need. You can check out Roundguard on Steam or at its official website.