четвъртък, 19 ноември 2015 г.

Runestone Keeper - How will you die?

There is something masochistic in roguelikes especially in the really hard ones. You die and then try again and then die again and again until no end. You don't play to win; you play to see how far you will get. Not to mention that they are neither fair nor friendly, they just try to kill you. In their era few subgenres emerged but probably one got a good portion of attention - the coffee roguelikes. Those were and still are quick short roguelikes in which you can complete a run in your coffee break. One of the more famous ones being probably Desktop Dungeons. Today I will tell you about another game from this subgenre - Runestone Keeper. Done by Blackfire Games and released on 3rd of March 2015 Runestone Keeper brings together some of the best characteristics of the genre.

How to die...as far as possible

You take in the role of adventurer who is seeking what force lies beneath the dungeon. To learn that you need to first reach its end. The problem? Well, there is whole army of monsters and traps ridden rooms between you and your target. The main mechanic of the game and the games look really remind me of Desktop Dungeon. In both games you have a room which is covered in darkness and you must find the entrance to the next level, killing any monster between you and it. Or all monsters if you are feeling extra strong today. The monsters are nothing more than a square with the three base stats on a tile in the room but are they terrifying when you find them?! I mean have you been in a room with three rare monsters all of them attacking on every turn? Then you don't know the despair that one feels in such moment.

As I mentioned the battles are turn-based. You hit them, they hit you and this continues until one of you dies. At your disposal you will have many different weapons with which to whack your enemies as well as skills, items and the occasional help of a god. The items are one time use and will allow you to manipulate the monsters in different ways. For example you will be able to freeze them, reduce their stats, turn them into stone, kill certain types instantly and so on. Occasionally you will also find altars of different gods. On them you will be able to prey for the gods help. Different gods will give you different kinds of powers. The god of war will give you bonus attack, the god of gold will make it easier for you to gather gold etc. This is always at prise, also the god you have worshiped will put you to tests which based on your actions may have various results. Oh...and don't try to worship multiple gods, they take this very personally and do not like it. Once you worship a god while in the dungeon his altar will be also build at the entrance so you will be able to prey before starting a run.

In the dungeon you will also encounter all sorts of devices which will help you most of the time. Those will vary from ballistas that you can shoot at revealed monsters to shrines that reveal monsters and/or traps near them. And because this might not be enough there are also random events that might happen to you. You may accidentally burst into a monster inn or find the notes of famous alchemic. The events will have different outcomes based on their type and your actions. Sometimes they will even be helpful.

What tries to put Runestone Keeper aside is its runes mechanic. You will start with certain number of runes, separated in three grades - bronze, silver and gold. The runes can be used for two things - to increase the stats of your character or to customize the run you are about to do by activating different effects which will make it harder, but give you more points. Points are useless though unless you are into score attacks or something like that. 

When not trying to die in murky corridors you will have the chance to upgrade your starting area by unlocking shops and buying skills and items. 

All this will of course lead to nothing else but your death...sooner or later, it matters not.

Slowly crawling...

This was about the fun part, now about the not so fun...the game has unlockable characters and this is always cool. Something new to look forward to, something new to try. All great, right? Well...not exactly. It is extremely hard to unlock new characters. They are almost like end game content that you may or may not get; it depends on how long the game will keep you interested. And it will not be long enough. Because while it’s not a bad game: it is well made, it looks good and has interesting mechanics, it does not offer enough for the players to play it until they reach the 10th floor on the third difficulty only to unlock a character about who they know nothing. 


If you are a fan of roguelikes Runekeeper will definetely remind you why you have loved this genre. It has nice pixel graphics, interesting mechanics and the most important for game in the genre - its actively trying to kill you.

The donwside of it is that it have hard time keeping you interested as it quickly spends the things you can do in the game and the unlockables are too hard(or I am not hardcore enough...).

Where to find it:

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