Video Games

Not Your Grandpa’s Rogue-like

(Editor’s note: This entry brought to us by our first guest poster Jason Mayer. Enjoy!)

When I was young, my friends and I played an ascii art game named Moria.  It had the simplest of interfaces – you were the @ symbol, and you ran around killing letters like ‘k’ for kobold.

It's just a kobold, right?
Woe betide he who taps Mughash the kobold lord thinking it’ll be an easy kill.

What I didn’t realize at first glance, was that I was going to lose literally hundreds of hours of my life to this game and many variants.  I fought (and died to) many creatures lifted from Tolkien’s world.

Everything from Farmer Maggot’s dogs (Grip and Fang were the only two to make it into the game), to the Ringwraiths killed me, and they did so often.   My friends and I would joke about the feeling as we opened a door and saw a red capital D (that’s ancient red dragon for you noobs).  Your next move was invariably to close the door and discreetly head for the stairs, holding your breath the entire time.  Then run like hell when you saw that door open – put on that cursed ring of teleportation if you had to.

While we joked about it, the feelings of dread and triumph that you experienced in that game were very real, and that’s The final bosswhat made the genre so great.  Like many players, we discovered the concept of backing up save files and I cheesed my way to ultimate victory against the Balrog.

Since then, I’ve played dozens of versions of the game like Nethack, Angband (and its many variants), and later on I played Rogue so I could say I’d played the most important game in the genre.  My love affair with the roguelike genre never left me.  Neither did my immature sense of humor.  Enter Quadropus Rampage, a new game by Butterscotch Shenanigans.  I offered to help out with some beta testing of the game and while I had high expectations, I didn’t realize that this game would single handedly restored my faith in mobile gaming.  I asked for permission from the developers and after they gave their go ahead, I sent out a link to some friends of mine who were also roguelike fanatics.

The game has got decent sound effects and great graphics.  It delivers an incredibly fun, fast-paced, roguelike experience.  Best of all?  It’s free.   It’s got randomly generated levels.  It has masteries – a variant on the traditional achievement system.

Artifacts!
Artifacts!

It has artifacts and a silly list of random weapon names that might actually make you snicker as you play (“Prancy Nightstick on the Rocks” and “Sneaky Poking Stick of Fistplosions” for starters).

Those friends I mentioned who got a copy of the game?  We’ve been texting screenshots back and forth to each other.  This game is seriously just that good.  While I’m too old to feel dread while playing a video game, I’m not too old to feel triumph and in hindsight, that’s what we are doing when we’re texting these screenshots back and forth.  I honestly think that games like this will ultimately redefine the whole concept of roguelike.  There is definitely room to include real time games, and this is going to be (hopefully) the first of the great mobile roguelike games.

Oh, and one last thing.  Support the developers.  When you find yourself trying for the 1000 meter depth achievement (and you will), try to remember that these guys need to feed their families too.  Pitch in a dollar or so, and try to see to it that they produce more games in the future.  That way, they can keep making awesome games like this.  Check out the official trailer:
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