rogue-like posts

Freeware Friday: CastlevaniaRL: Serenade of Chaos

Castlevania is a classic console series whose main appeal lies in just how hair-pullingly frustrating and hard it is. There aren't very many of those on the PC, but there is a genre with the sort of entertaining, mind-numbing difficulty that is so prevalent on consoles. The genre is rogue-likes, and when you merge the two, you get the excellent CastlevaniaRL: Serenade of Chaos. A java-based game originally made for a rogue-like competition, it has expanded greatly. In a way, it's much like the (already covered) excellent DoomRL, except with Castlevania.

Freeware Friday: Desktop Dungeons

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

Much like last week's game, Desktop Dungeons is a streamlined rogue-like. It strays a little further into rogue-like territory with level gaining and such, but like Tiny Crawl, it's a very simple game that just about anyone can understand and get into. However, underneath the layer of simple controls and basics, Desktop Dungeons has a complexity and depth that make it surprisingly engaging and addictive. In fact, we could almost compare it to the title Strange Adventures in Infinite Space. Short, simple to understand, and difficult to master are all characteristics of both games, and this makes Desktop Dungeons a great game if you want to relax for a few minutes over a coffee break with some monster slaughtering. Beware, though, as you might lose track of time and get reprimanded for spending too much time dungeon crawling!

Freeware Friday: Tiny Crawl

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

One of the oldest game genres is the rogue-like, with games such as Nethack and Angband having an incredible longevity. Nethack itself is almost 26 years old, for example. However, rogue-likes are typically impenetrable to those that haven't spent a considerable amount of time playing them. Tiny Crawl is the answer to this common frustration, and it's a great way for new players to become engrossed in the rogue-like genre. Created for the TIGsource Assemblee competition, it boils rogue-likes down to their absolute core, providing a simple, streamlined, and engaging experience. It's no surprise how finely crafted and tuned Tiny Crawl is, given developer Sparky's work on IGF finalist Star Guard.

Boot Disk: Diablo

Sometimes you just need to sit down, slide a floppy into your A: drive, and enjoy gaming retro style. We know this all too well! That's why we have a list of the best and brightest from days long gone. These are some of our favorite games of all time, and we're sure that you'll love them as much as we do, if not more. Welcome to Boot Disk, and enjoy the retro ride!

It was mentioned in the All You Need To Know for Diablo III that Diablo was founded upon some simple rogue-like principles. Randomized dungeons, shrines, unidentified equipment, and many other different elements were mixed into a single action-packed experience. However, you shouldn't simply take our word for it. Diablo is still available for purchase over a decade since its release, and is still one of the best games out there. It's also fascinating to see the evolution of the genre it created, as Diablo is very different from other games of its kind such as Dungeon Siege or even its own sequel. While you may have played all the games it inspired, it's always good to get a taste of a classic.

Freeware Friday: DoomRL

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

Most rogue-likes tend to be of the role-playing variety rather than the action variety. Instead of whipping out guns, you hack apart goblins, gain levels, and traverse through dungeons. But what if it was much more simple, action-oriented, and just plain fun for your average joe? That's where DoomRL comes in. A rogue-like of id's classic shooter, it manages to be both a great remake into an interesting gameplay system as well as a compelling game on its own. It could easily be adapted to different settings or expanded to include even more goodies, which is the real beauty of it.

Spelunky reaches version 1.0, being ported to XBLA, going open-source

One of our favorite indie games of last year, and favorite indie games in general, is Spelunky. Jam-packed with all sorts of sexy rogue-like and treasure-hunting shenanigans, it's an absolute steal at the low price of free. It has been in open beta since December, but that time is no longer. Spelunky is now 1.0, and has its very own website to download from, company to pester (Mossmouth), and forums to peruse. This is great news, and while the changelog is more about bugfixes than anything else, it's great for it to finally get released.

Along with this news comes even bigger news. Spelunky is diverging, with one path going the route of release on the Xbox 360, and the other path going the route of open-source on the PC. Things on the XBLA version will include new modes and achievements, while the PC version will open up for anyone to modify. According to the developer, there will probably also be cross-pollination between the two branches.

Freeware Friday: Notrium

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

It seems that, in the end, it all comes back to the rogue-like. We've featured so many here on Freeware Friday, and for good reason. They are much more complex and replayable than most retail games, and range from the incomprehensible graphics of Dwarf Fortress to the slick presentation of Transcendence or Triangle Wizard. Notrium definitely falls into the second category, and the mixture of survival and invention distinguished it from its many established colleagues. It may be several years old, but it's still fantastic, and an amazing game for the low, low cost of free.

Freeware Friday: Triangle Wizard

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

We do love rogue-likes. They've been featured a few times here on Freeware Friday, and they definitely inspired the hack-'n-slash games we know and love like Diablo. What happens, though, when you mix the in-depth sensibilities of a rogue-like with the fast-paced action of an arena shooter? Well, you get Triangle Wizard, a trippy and excellent freeware game that straddles the line between simulation and action. If you are the sort to get caught up in things like spell levels and resistances, then this is the game for you. If not? Well, give it a try anyway. It certainly wouldn't hurt, and it's quite newbie friendly!

Freeware Friday: Transcendence

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

Have I mentioned how much I love rogue-like games? The random aspect, the deep and engaging underlying gameplay systems, and the penchant for creating stories out of thin air really set the sub-genre apart from other games. I've already talked about Dwarf Fortress and Nethack before, and there's plenty more where that came from. However, this week is a little known space-combat rogue-like gem called Transcendence. Imagine if Nethack and Star Control 2 got together and had a top-down illegitimate child that went on to bigger and better things. That's Transcendence in a nutshell.

Freeware Friday: Spelunky

Welcome to Freeware Friday, a weekly column showcasing excellent games that you can play free of charge!

It's not often that a beta will make it onto Freeware Friday as a game worth playing. Usually this is because they are buggy and incomplete. The polish is what makes a game great, and most of that is applied during the beta stage. So far the only exception to this has been the transcendent Dwarf Fortress, which manages to be more complete than most commercial titles while still in alpha. However, Spelunky, even though it is in beta, has captured the feel of old-school adventure platforming with the incredible difficulty of rogue-likes in just the right way.

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