Tag Archives: Roguelike

A Good Day for Roguelikes: 100 Rogues, Legends of Yore and more

It appears to be a big day for iOS roguelikes. Here’s a rundown of new releases in the genre.

Following a brief absence, 100 Rogues [$0.99] returns to the app store at version 2.8 with impressive new content. Two new “monster classes” are available, the Tourist and the Rogue-Bot.

Tales of adventure have brought many Tourists to the dungeons. These weak, naive souls rely on wits and pity to avoid combat, though years of bar brawls have honed their ability to throw just about anything and make it hurt. The Tourists abilities include asking for monsters for directions, arguing prices at the shop, blinding enemies with their cameras, and disguising themselves in an effort to blend in. When all else fails, the Tourist excels at running away! The Tourist class is available as free DLC.

The Bandit Hole Robot-Fighting Championships have announced a new Rogue-Bot Fighting League! The dungeons now swarm with this new breed of machine as they research unstoppable new fighting techniques and bigger explosions. The Rogue-Bot is built for combat, and will pistol-whip anyone or anything standing in its way. The Rogue-Bot is also capable of launching explosive rockets, creating walking bombs, tossing grenades, immobilizing enemies with nets, rolling into a defensive ball, and lubing its mechanical joints with the blood of his enemies. The Rogue-Bot is available as paid DLC for $0.99.

The 2.8 update also includes two new DLC game modes, Combo and Endless. In Combo Mode your character begins much sturdier, but skills and items are purchased with game points. You earn points by killing monsters, and even MORE points by killing monsters quickly to rack up a combo multiplier. In Endless Mode the third level of Hell wraps back around to the Bandit Hole, and play begins with a harder difficulty setting. The first loop is roughly equivalent to Normal Mode, the second loop slightly easier than Rogue Mode, the third loop is way harder than Rogue Mode, and the fourth loop … well, no one really expects you to survive to the fourth loop … Neither Combo nor Endless modes include boss fights, with the first level of each world leading into the first level of the next. Both modes are available as paid DLC for $0.99 each.

100 Rogues is one of my very favorite iOS games, and with so much new content is now more awesome than ever!

Legends of Yore [FREE] is a new roguelike, featuring three character classes and endless adventure. While I do think there’s a bit too much lag between turns, I love the big-pixel graphics and old-school feel of the game, and I am most definitely looking forward to spending more time with this one.

Initially made for the “Seven Day Roguelike Challenge” — I love the Seven Day Roguelike Challenge! — Pitman [$1.99] casts you as Krumb, a dwarven pitman on a quest for mighty artifacts in a 3D dungeon. The game plays out in a peculiar, board-game fashion with an unusual set of camera controls; it definitely takes some getting used to, but the game is also thoroughly intriguing and offers a unique approach to the standard roguelike formula. Also, the soundtrack is wonderfully quirky.

Of all the dungeon-crawling adventure to be had today, Saga Dungeon [FREE] is the one I am least digging. The sprawling, procedurally generated 3D dungeons are nice in theory, but are incredibly bland in design and quickly begin to resemble frustrating mazes more than compelling adventuring halls. The turn-based combat runs almost entirely on auto-pilot, and I have seen very little variety in enemy types. And the game’s in-app purchasing is a little weird; you can visit the merchant at anytime to buy items using real-world money, but can only spend in-game gold between dungeon levels. The character models are decent, if not very detailed, but there’s not a lot of personality or fun to be found in Saga Dungeon. For a three-dimension game, Saga Dungeon comes off feeling flat. Still, it’s free to play and genre fans may want to give it a go.

Weird Worlds – Return to Infinite Space Review: Something like a roguelike in space?!

It occurred to me once that Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space would make a pretty cool addition to the iOS gaming scene. Happily, it must also have occurred to someone whose opinion actually matters, because Weird Worlds is now available for iOS exclusively for the iPad. And I’m calling it the first notable release of 2011~!!

Have you ever wondered how a roguelike might play out if, oh say … the dungeon were instead the black of space? And your rogue were replaced by a starship? If ponderings such as these keep you up at night — I never sleep at all, I spend so much time thinking about such things — then Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space may be just the answer you’ve been seeking.

Weird Worlds is a game of space exploration and survival, set in a randomly generated universe each time you play. Beginning the game, you are given the choice of three starships in which to make your explorations of Sector Prime: a Science Vessel, a Pirate Corvette or a Terran Frigate. You may also set parameters for your universe including map size, nebula mass and enemy strength. You are given a limited number of years in which to explore the created universe — 20 years on a Medium sized map — and must return to the Glory system within that time to report your findings, else suffer stiff fines for defaulting on your contract.

Depending upon your ship choice, your primary and secondary objectives will vary. The goal of science missions to to catalog new lifeforms and to map as much of Sector Prime as possible. As a pirate privateer, your goal is simply to grab anything of value you can find: technology, alien artifacts, lifeforms, weapons and even hostages. And as captain of a military frigate, you are tasked to make First Contact with alien races, to determine whether they are peaceful or pose a threat to Terran interests; as a secondary goal, obtain any technologies, artifacts or information which may be useful for military purposes.

Embarking from the Glory system, Sector Prime becomes your playground as you venture from system-to-system discovering new planets, new lifeforms and many exciting space treasures. Travel amongst the stars takes time, however, and so it is always important to mind the date that you might return to Glory in time (the only way to ensure a good endgame score!).

There is much to be found in Sector Prime. New weapons and shields bolster your combat abilities, while allies may join your fleet to give you an even greater edge in hostile situations. Improved scanners can help you to make better decisions as you plot your course through the system, while faster propulsion drives will help to reduce your transit time between worlds, allowing you to explore more of the sector before your deadline comes looming. Drones can repair your damaged ship or provide other benefits, and artifacts and captured lifeforms may be exchanged in trade with other species, sometimes at currency value and sometimes in 1:1 trades regardless of an item’s inherent value (the Klakar are suckers!).

Events occur randomly as you travel the systems. You may encounter other lifeforms in healthy exchange, engage them in deadly combat, or encounter terrorists who will rob you of your cargo. There’s no telling what may occur in the black of space, where good decision making is the only thing that separates the living from the dead.

Likes:

Bite-sized Spacefaring: Most space games are epic in scale, such that you may never see the end of the game, if the game even has an ending; many do not. A game of Weird Worlds will rarely last more than 30 minutes, making it ideal for quick bursts of quality spacefaring.

Random Encounters: There’s a lot to see and do in Sector Prime, and you’re not going to discover all the game has to offer in a single go, nor even in several. I think gamers will be pleasantly surprised by the amount of content there is to discover in the game on return sessions.

Variety: The different ship/mission types vary the goals of each game and change the way the game is played. Military missions favor an aggressive approach, while science missions had better avoid combat whenever possible. The objectives of your mission will motivate you to trade differently, and so prioritize your explorations in different ways. Combined with the many diverse random encounters to be had, Weird Worlds provides excellent replay value.

Visual and Audio Presentation: Weird Worlds is a great looking game. Space is pretty, and the game is full of original artwork. Ambient radio transmissions, interference and ship chatter help to set the mood.

Combat: Combat happens in real-time, putting you in control of your fleet and issuing orders to attack or retreat. During battle, the view shifts away from the starmap to a zoomed-in, tactical view of your ship and the opposing forces. Here you can plot the movement of your ships, target opposing vessels, launch fighters and fire your weapons. Ships may be boarded, destroyed or run away from. Hell, if you get desperate you can even ram enemies with your ships!

Do you remember Warpgate and how it was an awesomely impressive game in almost every conceivable way, except having combat that dragged the game headfirst into the muck and grime of Yoda’s swamp, and not just any part of the swamp, but the part where Yoda poops? Combat in Weird Worlds is nothing like that. In fact, Warpgate would have been a much better game had it simply aped Weird World’s combat wholesale. Yeah Freeverse, I’m talking to you. Look here and see real-time, tactical space combat done right. Do you see how it doesn’t suck? Do you see how it doesn’t bring down the entire game?!

Dislikes:

Small UI Elements: With the iPad’s big, beautiful display, there’s really no excuse for so many of the user-interface elements to be so frustratingly tiny. Every one of the game’s buttons — cargo and ship access, help/description icons, text buttons, close window buttons, etc. — is just too friggin’ small. They’re difficult to hit with any accuracy at all, so it’s lucky that buttons are usually (not always) spaced out enough that there’s nothing else to hit by mistake. Star systems can be difficult to select on the map, and you will often have to stab repeatedly at your destination before it will register for travel. Enlarging the sensitivity areas around systems would really help the game out. These issues really should be addressed by the developer at some point, so here’s to hoping …

A Little Rough Around the Edges: Having been ported from desktop operating systems, Weird Worlds is still a little rough around the edges. You will catch some of the tutorials referring to mouse clicks and movements rather than touch-interface controls, such as in the combat tutorial. I’ve also experienced some lag and unresponsiveness when dragging items between my cargo bay and the shop. The game suffers from occasional frame-rate drops and stutters; as the game does not require fast reflexes, this is usually not enough to hamper play, though it is fairly annoying. Hopefully these are issues that will be resolved in the game’s first update, whenever that comes.

Weird Worlds: Return to Infinite Space takes out a new lease on life on the iPad. The game has been around for more than five years now, and holds up incredibly well to the ravages of time. The game is every bit as fun as it ever was, and makes an ideal fit for the iPad. While many of the UI elements are too small to be comfortable, the touch-interface is functional and does work really well for a game like this one; hopefully the developers will work to improve the interface in updates. Spacefaring gamers should definitely find Weird Worlds a worthy addition to their gaming library, and fans of roguelikes should also find a lot to like in the game.

Weird Words: Return to Infinite Space is developed by Digital Eel and Astraware Limited, and is available exclusively for the iPad [$4.99]. Reviewed at version 1.00.000 on an iPad.

The Dungeon Review: A fast-paced roguelike

The Dungeon, by Half-Bit Software, is yet another entry in the iPhone’s increasingly strong line-up of roguelikes. Despite having pixel graphics reminiscent of dungeon-crawlers from the days of DOS and VGA monitors, The Dungeon is deceptively modern.

For those not already in the know, the roguelike is a genre of role-playing games typified by randomization for replayability, permanent character death, turn-based movement, dungeon crawling, looting and a high degree of difficulty. The progenitor of the genre is the 1980 computer game Rogue, and the genre is most recently represented on the iPhone by titles such as 100 Rogues, Sword of Fargoal and Rogue Touch, to name but a few.

To begin, the player chooses from among seven character classes — Knight, Fighter, Wizard, Sage, Alchemist, Jeweler and Jones (an Indiana Jones inspired character) — each with individual strengths and weaknesses. From there, players delve into the dungeon, a 40-floor network of randomized maps, enemy encounters and loot.

Unlike most roguelikes, however, The Dungeon is not a slow-paced, one-turn-at-a-time dungeon crawler. The game is turn-based, but allows you to take multiple turns at once by tapping further away from your character. The result might be termed a “dungeon dasher”, as your character zooms through the dungeons halls, rushes opponents and clears floors in record time. And while this mechanic is certainly unconventional for a roguelike, it makes The Dungeon much easier to pick-up and play on the go than some of its more plodding brethren.

In most roguelikes, dungeon floors are comprised of open rooms connected by narrow corridors. The Dungeon has neither, its floors being made of wide halls. Most of the game is spent out in the open, and players must be careful not to allow themselves to be surrounded by enemies.

Despite its many departures from formula, The Dungeon takes a fairly traditional approach to loot. Scattered throughout the dungeon, players will find weapons, armor pieces, accessories, potions, wands, scrolls and food. Those items which may be worn often carry enchantments, though items much first be identified using scrolls before their effects are known. Some enchantments are favorable and increase the character’s strength, while others are cursed and will weaken the character.

In every new game, potion, wand and scroll names are randomized. The only way to know the effect of any given item is to use it and to observe the outcome. Once known in this way, all items of that type will be known to the character — having once cast a Tin Wand, all Tin Wands subsequently collected will be named according to their effect; Wand of Sleep, for example. Some of these items are helpful and others harmful, with the former to be used on the character and the latter to be used on enemies. Possible effects include healing, poisoning, teleportation, transformation, sleep and more.

Likes:

Fast-pace: While I often enjoy the slower pace of many roguelikes, it often makes them difficult to play when time is short. The Dungeon is great for quick, casual sessions.

Interface: Tap anywhere to move. One button for equipment, and one for inventory, from which your items may be used. The game’s interface is clean, simple and easy to use — all important factors for an iPhone game. And when you consider the clutter of roguelikes such as Rogue Touch or POWDER, it’s easy to appreciate the ease with which The Dungeon is played.

Graphics: The Dungeon definitely has an old-school visual motif, but I find that the graphics are actually very attractive. They’re all still tiles, though, so be aware that there are no animations.

Music: Quirky electronica, somehow fits. I dig it.

Coming Soon: While none of it is in the game yet, the developer promises high scores, achievements, universal iPad/iPhone support, Retina display graphics and more coming soon. All of this should make The Dungeon a game to watch!

Dislikes:

Lack of Strategy: The Dungeon is relatively straight-forward, and while there are several character classes from which to choose, your choice will not much change the way in which you play the game. The differences are more akin to perks than they are true strategic advantages. And because of the game’s fast-pace and “zoom” movement, The Dungeon is essentially a run-and-gun roguelike. At times, however, that can definitely be a good thing; and when you want a slower paced roguelike, there are more than a few options in the app store.

If you have only one roguelike on your device, it shouldn’t be The Dungeon. But I’m of the opinion that having only one roguelike is like having only one shirt hanging in your closet. The Dungeon is perfect for quick forays, and a great semi-traditional roguelike for when you have a little time to kill, rather than having set time aside to play.

The Dungeon, by Half-Bit Software, retails for $2.99. Reviewed at version 1.0 on an iPhone 4.

Quabbus joins the cast of 100 Rogues


Since its release, 100 Rogues has been a favorite here at NoDpad. The 1.0.6 update hit the app store today, bringing several excellent additions to an already excellent game.

In previous versions, each dungeon floor has contained a shuttered item shop. With version 1.0.6, Quabbus the shopkeeper has returned from his travels abroad, and the item shop is open for business! Monsters and treasure chests now occasionally drop gold which can be spent in Quabbus’ shop on various wares. The update also includes many new weapons, consumables and other types of items.

From the 100 Rogues blog, “The Item Shop in 100 Rogues is run by a strange fellow named Quabbus.  He’s only found here and there, but he has an assortment of interesting items.  There are some items you can only get from Quabbus!  It’s sure to be a game-changer, and one thing I know everyone will appreciate is that while his assortment of items is random, he always has one food-type item in his inventory.  This will make it so that you have a bit more wiggle room for food.”

Another good reason to get excited about the shop is that is allows players even greater control in how to develop their character. Luck is still an important element, however, as Quabbus’ wares are randomized on each floor. The update includes a number of other additions, including two new monsters, various UI improvements, and a number of important bug fixes. The full rundown for the 1.0.6 update is below. 100 Rogues is available for $4.99 as a universal app for both the iPhone and iPad, and earned our ‘Must Have’ rating when we reviewed it last spring.

New Features!
Quabbus the Shopkeeper has returned from his Foreign Land with wares for you to purchase
Gold now drops from treasure / some monsters
Multi-branding! On super-rare occasion, items will be created with multiple special effects, such as swords that immobilize foes and grant strength while equipped

Known Issues
Yellow Potions do not function

New Content!
2 New Monsters
Many New weapons, consumables and otherwise items
New sounds used for items when equipped / dropped

UI Upgrades!
New icons for poison, soften, etc., status effects
iPhone Map icon has been bumped down, making it easier to press

Bug Fixes
Issues with Weapon Focus leveling up the wrong weapon after loading have been resolved
Weapons of Vampire no longer restore health from non-weapon damage
Satan should now properly load into the game under all circumstances
Challenge Mode tiles no longer appear in the main game
Faith now correctly aligns on iPad

100 Rogues goes Universal

100 Rogues has received a major update, and is now a universal app supporting both the iPhone and iPad. The list of changes in 1.0.5 is pretty substantial, featuring many additions, improvements, corrections and balance tweaks. If you haven’t yet played 100 Rogues, it’s one of the app store’s finest roguelikes, and I was a big fan when I reviewed the game a few months back. The full list changelog for the new update is below.

New Features:
100 Rogues is now a Universal App! iPad users can now enjoy a seamlessly integrated menu and clean game interface
Intro cutscene now rendered in-engine. Enjoy faster game loads and smaller update file size!

UI Tweaks
Items manually added to quick slots and thrown will return automatically to quick slots when picked up
Menu button has been replaced by Attack button for precision targeting
Trash can button added to items menu, which drops selected items (dragging items offscreen still functions as before)
Intro cutscene can now be disabled via the preferences menu
Main Menu can be accessed from difficulty selection prompt by touching outside of the difficulty buttons

Balance Changes:
Loot generation revamped. Slightly fewer treasure chests exist, each with significantly improved loot variation
Loot now varies between Bandit Hole and Dungeon worlds appropriately
Strength is no longer an upgradeable stat for the Fairy Wizard
Exploits removed from genie fight
Wand now deals damage based on current energy

New Content:
9 new consumable items added
New explosion graphic

Bug Fixes:
Numerous stability improvements
Items now stack properly in inventory
Items no longer occasionally disappear from inventory
Stairs Up now use correct graphic when reloading a game
Ranged Attack Projectiles are now properly updated when switching between throwing items, and shooting different ranged weapons
New High Scores will now read “Defeated Genie” and “Defeated Satan” for the appropriate accomplishment.

Coming this summer, the developer promises the Item Shop will finally open, a new player character will become available, and a new dungeon — HELL — will be added to the game, along with a new boss. 100 Rogues continues to grow and improve. If you haven’t gotten it yet … well, what are you waiting for?!

DinoFarm Games is also holding a Design a Monster Contest. To participate, check out the rules here. Your design could appear in a future update to 100 Rogues!