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My 7DRL Highlights

March 29th, 2011

Of the 46 successful 7DRLs this year I have played and reviewed 39 for the committee, which is due to publish its results soon. There are a few duds but a lot of very successful games, and some real gems in there too. Here are some of the ones that I feel are definitely worth checking out from this year, in alphabetical order:

benhem’s ssh game – I wish it had a name… but this is a funky first-person 3D-esque dungeon crawler entirely rendered in ASCII, and hosted on an ssh server. Gameplay is nothing special, but the presentation really is – check it out now!
Defender of the Deep – Play an orc, kobold or goblin and fight against the pathetic “good” races. Has a lot of variety to play and fun items and abilities.
Destiny of Heroes – A very pretty game with a nice assortment of dungeon generators (is it only roguelike devs that get turned on by these…?)
Devil Might Laugh – Start as a ghost and gradually become more corporeal as you ascend through hell. Interesting to see a real change in gameplay over time like this.
EmoSquid – 3D game world represented in 2D slices, and with full 3D control. It takes a while to get used to, but it’s very funky.
GnomeSquad – Get the post-7DRL version to fix the dungeon depth, and enjoy X-COM style gameplay with some cool classes.
God of Change – Very entertaining game where the monsters get completely new abilities over time. Procedural fun in all its glory.
Inversion of Control – Play a pet and try to guide your heroic master, with the options to give orders and mind swap now and then. Excellent AI on the master makes this very enjoyable, and post-7DRL version has some nice tiles.
kusemono – An assassination game where you must sneak close to an enemy before doing a final dash to slit its throat. Cruelly punishing, but fun nonetheless.
Magicko – Combine elements to create special spell effects. Could be fleshed out a lot more, but it’s cool for what it is.
Monster Slayer Show – Slaughter enemies in front of crowds to gain glorious ratings. Has some very snazzy weapons. My best score so far is 766.
Pitman Krumb – Nice 3D graphics and solid roguelike gameplay – a very rare combination!
Rook – A short game where it’s impossible to move into a position of death, meaning the only failure is checkmate. A very unique cross of chess and roguelike rules with pretty use of simple ASCII.
Stygia – Simple dungeon crawler with a Frozen Depths-esque heat mechanic and a nice variety of weapons and armour.
The Man in the Mirror – A very polished story-based game, where you control a man breaking out of an insane asylum. Mirrors are the central theme, with alternative views of the world helping to set the atmosphere perfectly.
Twelve Hours – Defend a town from hordes of undead alongside other heroes. Some decent AI and an enjoyable game.
Vicious Orcs – As ever Jeff Lait does not fail to impress with this quest to kill some very evil orcs. Ultimately it’s a dungeon crawler done really well, with especial emphasis on making melee combat fun without having to add extra commands. Cool mechanics like portals back to town and a special role for gold also serve to spice up the game. Overall my favourite game this year.

Some might consider Broken Bottle to be good too, but far be it for me to say ;)

I did not manage to get the following games working, in spite of much effort: A Little Anxious When It’s Dark, Anauroch, Geiger-AD42, Monster Enthraller, Storming the Ship. If these are amazing titles then all the more shameful. I also haven’t had a chance to try out Rogue: The Cardlike, but I’ve heard it’s quite good.

You can find a full list of all successful entries with links to them at RogueTemple.

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