Several of the games I’ve covered in my Roguelike Highlights series have recently received some major updates. First up is DoomRL v0.9.9.6 (read my highlight of DoomRL here). DoomRL is, of course, a roguelike based on Doom, and the new version is the first to include a graphical tileset (although the original ASCII graphics can still be used). The graphics, incidentally, are made by Derek Yu, the same man responsible for Spelunky. There are several gameplay and balance changes as well; the full changelog is here, and you can see some shiny new screenshots here.
Then there’s the big one: Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup has been updated to v0.10. If you thought that after v0.9 they would be forced to hit v1.0, you were wrong; it seems Dungeon Crawl will keep receiving updates for some time. There are a whole bunch of changes in this release, and many of them have been a bit controversial among fans. For example, Mountain Dwarves have been removed from the game. Long-time favorites for new players, Mountain Dwarves were deemed too similar to Minotaurs and Hill Orcs, so they were removed. I am a bit saddened by this news, as my first (and only) victory, documented in the Saga of Urist Redbeard, was with a Mountain Dwarf. But I haven’t yet tried v0.10, so hopefully I will be pleased by the other changes.
And there are plenty of other changes. A new race, Octopodes, have been added, who are apparently like octopus-men. Octopodes and many snakes can now constrict enemies in combat. All polearms can now attack enemies that are two spaces away. The Hive has been removed, but many new vaults and special artefact items have been added. The terrifying Abyss has been made even more terrifying. Minotaurs and Hill Orcs have been rebalanced to make them less similar. And transmuters no longer get the ability to turn their potions into grenades, instead focusing more on morphing themselves for melee combat. The response among players (judging from the comments thread on the announcement) is mixed, with many quite happy and others concerned about the shift away from traditional fantasy tropes, or that the new changes will make the game even harder for new players. There are even rumors that one of the developers left the team after catching a lot of flak for the removal of Mountain Dwarves (drama!). I am going to withhold judgement until I have played the new version for a while.
Finally, Brogue has been updated to v1.6.2. This update is less massive than the others, with relatively few changes to the core gameplay, but these changes focus on the most interesting parts of the game. The “quest room” mechanic has been expanded, and really adds a lot of flavor to the dungeon. The keys to these rooms often trigger special, deadly traps like collapsing floors or raging fires, but the rooms contain treasure, imprisoned allies, and more. The interface has been further streamlined, meaning Brogue is quite easy to pick up and play but still offers a good challenge and strategic depth. One strange thing about the new update, though, is that it defaults to a window that is too large for my screen. I soon learned that the PgUp and PgDn keys will re-size the window, but only once the game has started (not on the title screen). Other than this, I’ve been having a lot of fun with the new version. [EDIT: Turns out I was still using v1.6.1; the window size is fixed in v1.6.2]
Hopefully you’ll enjoy these updates as well!