Readers unfamiliar with roguelikes may wish to read my introduction to the genre, and possibly peruse some of my Roguelike Highlights posts. Also, as always, you can click on images to view larger versions.
Well, it’s been another long delay between Roguelike Updates posts, largely because I haven’t had much time to play roguelikes recently. But I do want to highlight a couple of big updates. First, Approaching Infinity has been at version 1.1 for a while, with another update imminent. Second, Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup forever marches forward, now on version 0.16.1. I’ve had a chance to play both, and offer some quick thoughts below.
First, Approcahing Infinity. Regular readers will know that I quite liked it when I first played it, and the update adds a lot of stuff, including new enemies, a new planet type, new equipment, some changes to quests, and a bunch of bugfixes. Additionally, version 1.15 is already underway and promises even more new stuff. I’m glad that the game is receiving updates, because I fear that many players may never play it, in no small part due to its relatively high pricetag ($39.95 at the time of writing). I think it’s worth it, and there’s no harm in trying out the free demo (link on the right-hand side of this page). Plus you can read my own words about why it’s great.
So how is version 1.1? To be honest, I haven’t gotten far enough to see many of the changes. I’ve turned the difficulty setting up to give myself a bit more of a challenge, and tried using a different selection of ships that cater to different playstyles, both of which mean I haven’t been lasting that long. But I have been able to see a few of the new features. The new canyon planets make for some interesting exploration, and I’ve met some new and deadly and creatures on some planets. These creatures can make certain planets too deadly for my crew early in the game, and go some way towards differentiating the different classes of explorable planets, something that I hope is continued in future updates. Away missions now cost supplies, so I was less inclined to keep returning to my ship whenever my away team suffered the smallest of injuries. There are also some interface tweaks, including a more obvious alert when away teams are low on oxygen, which is very useful when the captain is on the team and running out of oxygen means game over.
But I suspect the meat of the update lies farther out. Those who read my Highlight on Approaching Infinity will recall that there’s much more to the game than first appears, and the farther one ventures the more new stuff there is to find. I look forward to my next long foray into the endless universe. I’m also excited for some of the changes coming in version 1.15, which promises clearer indications of visibility and weapon ranges, as well as cool features like explorable shipwrecks being generated from destroyed ships, customizable officer uniforms, and more. I hope the updates continue as infinitely as the game itself.
Now, onto Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup. The latest version, 0.16.1, adds a bunch of new items, monsters and spells to the game, as well as two new gods. Ru the Awakened will offer power in exchange for permanent, voluntary sacrifices (which include things like sacrificing one arm, or the ability to cast spells), whereas Gozag Ym Sagoz the Greedy cares only about how much money one has acquired, and lets players bribe sections of the dungeon in order to make its denizens non-hostile. I didn’t actually try worshipping either of these new gods, however. I’m so far behind that I’m only just catching up with the new god added in the previous update, Qazlal Stormbringer.
I’m still a beginner when it comes to spellcasting in Dungeon Crawl, so I’ve been experimenting with fighter-spellcaster hybrids. Some readers may remember my attempts at playing Transmuters, hoping to turn them into dragons (which was pretty awesome when I managed it), but this time I decided to try a different hybrid class, the Skald. These are fighters who cast various war chants and other spells to boost their combat ability. By searching on the wiki (beware spoilers!) I determined that Merfolk make good Skalds, as their propensity for lighter armor and polearm weapons, as well as the Charms school of magic, align well with the starting Skald spellbook. When I’d learned enough to last past the first few floors of the dungeon, I had my Merfolk Skalds worship Qazlal, to see what he’s like.
Turns out he’s pretty cool. Basically, he surrounds his worshippers with a raging elemental storm, that gets more intense as one gains piety (by killing things). The storm manifests itself as a bunch of random elemental clouds that appear around one’s character, damaging any enemies that are caught within. Qazlal grants his worshippers immunity to their own clouds, so they can move with impunity while other monsters are damaged or have their paths blocked. This path blocking effect was surprisingly useful, as it helped prevent my characters from being surrounded in open areas, and since they were using polearms they could attack enemies that were two squares away, while those enemies were kept at bay by the storm.
Qazlal also offers a few useful powers, including the ability to throw a targeted elemental blast at enemies, or unleash a huge, random maelstrom that can tear through crowds of baddies. Another ability turns the elemental clouds of the storm into actual elementals which will move and attack enemies, and distract them from making a beeline towards my character. My best attempt was with Perch the Impaler, who was doing quite well for herself until I made a stupid mistake and underestimated a unique enemy, delaying engagement while I finished off some easier monsters that were attacking me. This gave the unique enemy enough time to cast a spell and banish Perch to the Abyss. Uh oh.
Turns out the Abyss is even harder to survive when worshipping Qazlal, because the elemental storm is loud and attracts enemies. Given these enemies were very tough and all I wanted to do was run away and hopefully find an exit, this was a big disadvantage. Perch lasted longer than I expected, but she was slowly suffering more and more wounds and eventually fell.
There are some other nice changes in version 0.16.1 that make things less fiddly, like the fact that meat butchered from corpses is no longer separated in the inventory, so there’s less of a hassle keeping track of food. And of course there’s those two new gods that I haven’t tried yet. Definitely check it out if you’re interested. I’m sure that many of the other roguelikes I’ve covered on this blog have updated as well (I’m certain that Dungeonmans has, for example) but I haven’t had a chance to keep track of those for you. Perhaps I’ll cover them next time. Until then, may you suffer many happy deaths!
In roguelike games, that is. Not for real.