Roguelikes I’ve Played or Watched Recently

I’ve been playing some Dungeons of Dredmor, and experimenting with all the new skills in the Wizardlands update.  Mostly, the game seems to have a lot of new things –  new equipment, new mini-dungeons, new traps that will kill you if you don’t know about them, etc.  I don’t really feel like I’ve played enough to do an article about what I think of them.

Two friends of mine picked up Binding of Isaac Rebirth, and I’ve watched them fight through the various things you can unlock in the game.  I tend to find roguelikes to not be “rpg” enough for my tastes.  There’s people racing Binding of Isaac, and I find the idea of making “builds” in a game where all your item drops are random is interesting.  Tactics in racing the first game and Rebirth is usually focused on manipulating how the randomization coding works, or paying attention to how various items interact.

Tales of Maj’Eyal is a game I’ve actually been playing recently.  It’s a roguelike in the style of Angband, but the main mode of the game is dungeons grouped according to your level.  Your class and race selection starts you with a specific dungeon, and then you usually have about three options for your level range.  Much like Binding of Isaac Rebirth, part of the game is based around picking a mix of skills that interact well.  For example, one build is a shadowblade (sneaky magical thief) using illuminate.   This ends up with a thief standing in shadows, and throwing out explosions of light for constant critical damage.  You can also make quirky options like “a person with skills like dragons with healing fungus” and “a dwarf summoning clones, climbing on vines made of stone, and armed with two shields.”

It feels more “Rpg” like in the sense that you can make roleplaying choices about your character.  For example, there are two main factions in the game.  One side hates mages, because they caused the present problems in the world, and has become more or less a zealous Inquisition.  The other side is trying to lay low and practice magic without the former problems.  Some teens from that faction left, and are causing trouble at the start of the game.  There’s also quests, towns, and stories in the various dungeons.  Unfortunately, the stories in the dungeons tend to be variations on the theme of “I entered this place.  Sure hope the terrible thing won’t hurt me!  I saw a terrible thing.  I think I’m going to die.  I’m dead.”

It’s pretty hard to get pictures of Tales of Maj’Eyal to show off what playing the game is like.  After all, part of the war stories from playing the game is things like “And then a rare monster almost killed me.  It was a pile of gnats who were kung fu artists.”  The feel of playing, say, a character with weirdly terrible item luck isn’t something you can easily show off without explaining why the luck is bad, or the time you’ve been playing while struggling to find a better belt.

I suppose the best way to show off what the game is like would be to play a character and just run through what the experience is like.  I’m not sure how interesting it would be, but I think it’d be the best way to show what’s going on in the game.

I have been streaming a bit of Idea no Hi, Exile, and other games on hitbox recently.  My internet is nowhere near good enough for this to be terribly watchable.  However, if there’s interest, I can link to my account.


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