“Oh,” I thought. “This looks different…”

I had just embarked upon a new Roguelike adventure. On a whim, I had renewed my acquaintance with the rec.games.roguelike.announce newsgroup for the first time in an epoch, and lurking within were announcements relating to the usual long-standing suspects – epic saga ToME, fast-paced DoomRL, Rogue-with-mechs GearHead, classic Angband and its variants, and many others. But there were also lots of unfamiliar names, a testimony to the rate at which the Roguelike scene has expanded over recent times. Looking down the list, something drew me toward Brogue by Brian Walker – was it the clever name or the enigmatically plain description? Or was it just the fact it had an unusually solid-looking version number of 1.6? It’s impossible to say. Further investigation was required!

Brogue, a Roguelike game with style

I was looking at a typical ASCII dungeon of hash signs and dots. But this dungeon had colour, variety, and life - not the usual console window of decidedly 8-colour visuals. Yes, yes – not judging a book by its cover is all well and good, but there’s no harm in making a good first impression, is there?

“Cool – there’s plants that block my vision. Let’s try walking through them. Oh, they grow back! Perfect for hiding in! Neat. Wait up, what’s that over there? Oh hello there, mouse control – this takes me back to playing Larn on the Amiga!” Good first impressions indeed. But there was plenty more to surprise me…

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Aside from being a little under the weather this weekend, due to my internet provider being so fantastically naff I actually had to type this post up twice. Pfeh. :-x But you don’t want to know about any of that – let’s get on with the lushness of today’s four Assemblees, three of which you can play straight from your browser!

Mushroomer - ain't mush room in 'ere, har harMushroom Stew - slip-sliding away on the iceOh Crackers - Not Again! - fly, Lassie, fly...One pack - put that flab to some use

Mushroomer by Jotapeh TIGForum thread Play Mushroomer
Seeing the phrase “Just like a real video game!” immediately made me smile, but sadly the rest of the game couldn’t quite pull off enough to keep that smile on my face. A run and jump platformer made vaguely interesting with slidey controls and ninja rope goodness. Escape the cave before you lose all your lives or a ten minute timer expires. Competently done (nice backdrop!) and points for the rope, but a tad plain. 63%

Mushroom Stew by iarwain TIGForum thread Download Mushroom Stew for Windows Download Mushroom Stew for Intel Mac Download Mushroom Stew for Linux
Wahey, more mushrooms! You can never have enough mushrooms, folks. In this case you have to blast through a story of confusion and deception to find out why your mushroom buddies are suddenly trying to kill you. Use your crouching and time-bending skills to reach the end. Technically very good with several tricks used to enliven the graphics – sharp gameplay too, if a tad repetitive. Even has a level editor! 77%

Oh Crackers, Not Again! by The Greenest Banana TIGForum thread Play Oh Crackers, Not Again!
In a spicy, tangy twist to normality, here you have to protect a helpless little girl as she tries to get back home following a path which is infested with monsters. You take the part of her faithful and happily indestructible hound who can jump on enemies’ heads to stop them from being such a nuisance. A charming Flash effort but quite challenging even on the easiest difficulty. Needs more levels but still a great effort. 78%

One Pack by MrRoboman TIGForum thread Play One Pack
Being a toned ace space pilot is all very well but it’s oh-so-easy to pile on the pounds in your retirement. Such is the problem Ace Fatman now faces in his quest for… okay, I have no idea what his quest is, since this game is one for the “unfinished” pile. But it’s enough to raise a guffaw at the creative use of assets. Multi-purpose flab, anyone? Throw a can or three of polish at this and it could have an entertaining future! 52%

Home of the Underdogs logoSuperb news! Possibly the best “ethical” abandonware site that ever was has been put back into action. A group of determined individuals seem to be working their socks off to reincarnate Home of the Underdogs after several years of stagnation! :-D I wish them the best of luck… it’s not the smallest of tasks to attempt.

Take a wander through some of yesteryear’s best games at www.hotud.org. And don’t forget to tell your friends!

As I said yesterday, there are a few 7DRL entrants that I would have liked to try but, for one reason or another, couldn’t. This was usually because the games were downloadable only as source code, and to be honest I’m too lazy to try and compile them for myself :) They are just as deserving of public attention, so if you’re interested in these somewhat more obscure games, keep checking on Rogue Temple and its forums for the latest news on them.

Meantime, as some parting shots for the week, here’s the last of my mentions…

7DRL '09: chickhack7DRL '09: Nyctos7DRL '09: The Favored

  • chickhack [link, pictured left] – gets a mention for being a C64 game, of all things! Play it emulated on something like WinVice.
  • Nyctos [link, pictured middle] – are you afraid of the dark? Lots of ‘orrible nasties are lurking where you can’t see them, that’s for sure!
  • Expedition [link] – an ambitious exploration / settlement-building roguelike done in Java. See a video of it in action here.
  • Cypress Tree Manor [link] – looks very good, but only available in Python source code for now. If you fancy some zombie escape survival, take a gander at it.
  • The Favored [link, pictured right] – likened to Robotfindskitten [link] in reverse (whatever that means), this is actually one of the better entries and worth checking out if you don’t mind being cruel to helpless bunnies.

Hope you enjoyed this little bit of coverage of the roguelike world! Coming tomorrow: probably nothing at all. Oh, maybe a Dalyn’s Quill update, but then again, maybe not…

Another day brings another part to this week’s 7DRL summary! Here are a few more @-filled delights for you to take a look at…

7DRL '09: Jacob's Matrix7DRL '09: Epic! Monster Quest: Hyper7DRL '09: DDRogue

  • Jacob’s Matrix [link, pictured left] – possibly the best 7DRL entrant yet and my pick o’ the day. Can you find your way out of an Escher-like series of twisty passages before the music stops playing? Comes complete with deviously fast gameplay and even an ASCII portal gun!
  • Epic! Monster Quest: Hyper [link, pictured middle] – another contender in the realtime category. Hunt monsters, recruit mercenaries and generally become amazing. Like most realtime roguelikes, it’s very tricky and quite unforgiving.
  • DDRogue [link, pictured right] – relatively plain-looking, but interesting use of story points and enhanced combat techniques make this one worth checking out.

That’s most of the “easy to try” entries covered – there are quite a few others that are available only as source code which makes them more difficult to cover. I’ll talk a bit more about those tomorrow, hopefully – but meanwhile, the full entry list on Rogue Temple is still there for your perusal. Happy adventuring!

Time to look at a few more of the gems from this year’s 7-day Roguelike event… what’s in store today, I wonder?

7DRL '09: Fruits of the Forest7DRL '09: TetRLs7DRL '09: Excitable Digger

  • Fruits of the Forest [link, pictured left] – help feed your fellow villagers by foraging for food, but look out for bandits…
  • TetRLs [link, pictured middle] – this is what happens when you mix Tetris and Rogue. And lots of rats 8-O
  • Excitable Digger [link, pictured right] – dig your way to a huge fortune, selling what you find to extend your life. My pick of the day!

There’s still loads of entries to look through… stay tuned for part 3 tomorrow, or of course check out the full list over on Rogue Temple!

They’re not everyone’s cup of Earl Grey, but Roguelikes are still a defining part of text-based gaming. Lately, master and apprentice Roguelike developers alike have rolled up their sleeves, focused the volatile energies of the RNG and coded like there’s no tomorrow for a whole seven days – at the end, some of them even made a game that’s winnable!

Yep, the annual 7DRL week has been and gone without a lot of hype, yet it’s been the most successful yet with a total of 45 entrants – 25 of which are actually complete enough to “win”. It’s possible that some of these will go on to be developed further and might even end up amongst the famous names of ADOM, Angband and Nethack.

7DRL '09: Persist7DRL '09: Underbooks7DRL '09: DungeonMinder

I’ve played but a scarce few of what’s on offer. Here’s a brief selection:

  • Persist [link, pictured left] – how long can you stay alive? Watch out for the falling trees, unhealthy water and various other threats.
  • Underbooks [link, pictured middle] – a realtime book-hunting adventure. Pretty, but needs a lot of luck to get started with.
  • DungeonMinder [link, pictured right] – play a guardian spirit and help the hapless adventurer gain victory. My personal favourite so far – nicely polished and playable!

More to come tomorrow, but if you’re impatient, check out the full list of entries over on the Rogue Temple forums.

This is a game that I’d really love to see completed. Detonate! is a side project of Terry Cavanagh whose games you may recognise under the banner of Distractionware – he’s also the dab hand responsible for recent flash hit Don’t Look Back [link], which I still haven’t gotten around to playing… but I digress. For a couple of reasons, it’s not entirely sure that Detonate! will see the light of day, but I still reckon it’s deserving of a mention in the small hope I might encourage its development! ;)

Detonate! - strategic explosive action

Many years ago I played an Amiga game similar to Atoms [link], a title that was itself based off a C64 game called Overload. The aim is to place atoms on the game grid and eventually make them kersplode into adjacent grids, capturing enemy atoms. If you do this enough and wipe out all opposition, you win. Simple, but addictive – and quite strategic, too. I’m a bit surprised that the concept hasn’t been picked up for a modern platform, and so I did a little happy dance when I unearthed this gem of a WIP.

This style of gameplay has a lot of potential, especially considering the “retro” versions are fairly plain. I’ll be keeping a close eye on this! 8-)