My Fame score was too high. When I drew the Infamous card again, I was faced with a choice: fight my way out of an angry mob of peasants, or submit to a trial by fire. I opted for the latter and was presented with a rotating beam of light along a pendulum of moving blocks. When I failed to stop the marker on the right block, the Dealer cackled with glee. My heart sank as he drew Pain card after Pain card and my health dwindled into nothing. I should have murdered the damn peasants.
Hand of Fate 2 is, like the original, a world literally made of cards. The campaign is presented as a world map divided into 22 challenges, or levels. These challenges provide specific objectives, and rules, and dying fails the entire challenge. Each challenge places a series of cards facedown on the table, like a digital board game. You move your token from card to card with each one revealing a new encounter that could mean potential gold, food, loot, or combat.
The rogue-like genre has absolutely exploded in the last several years thanks to indie developers. FTL. Rogue Legacy. Spelunky. Risk of Rain. Binding of Isaac. Darkest Dungeon. The Flame in the Flood. It’s becoming a well-worn genre that demands more of each new game.
Streets of Rogue, now out on Steam Early Access, distills many of the most successful elements of the games before it with free-form, procedurally generated level designs that promote creative mayhem. And you can do it with friends.
FTL: Faster Than Light’s successful foray into rogue-like space exploration serves as an excellent model for Holy Potatoes! We’re in Space?! Don’t let the adorable vegetable characters and punny geek culture-referencing dialogue fool you. There’s a surprising amount of depth and tactical satisfaction in this game about potato starship captains.
Rogue Stormers is an intriguing combination of side-scrolling shooter and rogue-like dungeon crawler.
When I spoke to Black Forest Games at PAX South, they revealed that Rogue Stormers went through a major evolution during Early Access. It was originally devised as a standard action-RPG, but came off as too linear and boring. BFG revamped the gameplay, adding randomized levels and multiple characters. The result is an intriguing combination of side-scrolling shooter and rogue-like dungeon crawler.
The world of Rogue Stormers showcases a unique style called “Dieselpunk.” Dieselpunk represents an industrial World War 1-2 aesthetic. Black Forest Games applied this world of bulky technology to the medieval-like city of Ravensdale. A substance called “goop” powers all their diesel engines. It also turns the population of Ravensdale into monsters.
We were on Floor 11, and we were in trouble. Our supply of Dust was reduced to dangerous levels after the most recent wave, and we could barely power the rooms around our crystal. Our healthy buildup of Industry and node access was crippled by our lack of power. We spread our heroes around to deter as many enemy spawns as we could, but still they came as we searched for the exit.
Finally we took a gamble and opened several rooms at once, starting off a terrifying chain of enemies that would be our doom. Except one of the rooms contained the exit to the final level. We grabbed the crystal and ran through hordes of foes, using our last remaining food supplies to keep everyone alive until they reached the exit. We made it, but only just, and if the final floor was any indication there was a good chance we wouldn’t make it out alive.
The scenario above is only one such experience from playing through Dungeon of the Endless, the latest game to explore the Endless Universe created by Amplitude Studios. Whereas their previous games, Endless Space and Endless Legend are Civ-like 4X empire management games, Dungeon of the Endless is, *deep breath,* a cooperative rogue-like tower defense dungeon crawler. If any of those terms spark your interest you may discover one of your favorite games of the year in this unique mash-up of genres.
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