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Isaac Eternal Edition photo
Isaac Eternal Edition

Binding of Isaac: Eternal Edition update is a free helping of torment

The Devil's in the patch notes
May 03
// Nic Rowen
A free update for the original Binding of Isaac has been released today for anyone who has the Wrath of the Lamb expansion. The new Eternal Edition will let you relive all of the glory of the original game's choppy flash base...

Review: The Weaponographist

May 03 // Chris Carter
The Weaponographist (PC)Developer: PuubaPublisher: MastertronicReleased: April 29, 2015MSRP: $9.99 The Weaponographist is designed to be a lot like recent "roguelikes" (whatever that term means these days), and I'd like to think of it as a mix between The Binding of Isaac and Rogue Legacy. The setup this time around for constantly going in and out of random dungeons is by way of a witch's curse, forcing the hero (who is a bit of an asshole) to rescue a town. He's cursed to fulfill his obligations, and after death, will constantly respawn in town until he succeeds. It's a cute setup, but that's really the only neat thing it has going for it. With plug and play controller support, picking up Weaponographist is easy enough. Each face button will attack on its respective side, and as part of your curse, picking up weapons constantly is key as they'll break over time. If you don't have an item handy you can use your fists until you find another one, pick it up, break it, and repeat. This is the cookie-cutter formula for pretty much every modern roguelike, but unlike a few recent hits, it gets stale after a scant few runs. Townsfolk will have a few upgrades for you here and there, like better fisticuff training, more complex weapon combos with specific armaments, and spells -- a small mechanic that allows you to occasionally bust out fireballs and the like. The problem with the upgrade system is that it's not sexy in the slightest. There's only a few boring purchases available at any given time, most of which passively increase your stats in a non-visible or menial manner. I like the way combat is handled, at least in theory, as you need to constantly kill things in rapid succession to increase in power, and the "break, find" items force you to experiment and get out of your comfort zone. Ultimately, the Isaac comparison ends at the top-down boxed dungeon aesthetic, because it's much less inspired than Edmund McMillen's masterpiece. Every room functions like an arena, with very little in the way of exploration or hidden secrets. There's simply not enough variation, and the amount of time spent in individual rooms is way too long and the end result is grindy combat. As a hypothetical free PlayStation Plus title, The Weaponographist would have some room to flourish as a mindless hack and slash game with a poorly implemented, but nonetheless existent, reward loop. But as it exists right now in its sole PC incarnation, there are many more titles worthy of your time -- including that 1000th run of Isaac you've been putting off.
Weaponographist review photo
As cursed as its hero
When The Weaponographist was described to me as "a speedrunning hack-n-slasher dipped in a bit of rogue sauce," I barfed a lil' bit. Playing it didn't do much to assuage my illness.

Royals photo

'You have died at 30 as a lowly peasant and will be forgotten'

And we'll never be royals
May 01
// Jordan Devore
That headline -- quite the game over message, huh? Royals, a new game from Threes designer Asher Vollmer that is not at all like Threes, pins itself as "an optimistic peasant simulator." You set out to become a king, a queen,...
Phantasmal Early Access photo
Phantasmal Early Access

Lovecraft-influenced roguelike Phantasmal creeps onto Early Access

Sanity-eroding survival horror meets procedural generation
May 01
// Rob Morrow
New Zealand-based indie studio Eyemobi has released its Kickstartered survival horror roguelike Phantasmal: City of Darkness onto Steam Early Access. If you're unfamiliar with the project, Phantasmal is d...
The Binding of Isaac photo
The Binding of Isaac

Check out The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth on the Wii U GamePad

23 glorious seconds
Apr 29
// Zack Furniss
When The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth came out last November, I got sucked back into the dark, dank basement full of doo-doo for a good two months. This video of Isaac on a Wii U GamePad is enough to get me thirs...
Nuclear Throne photo
Nuclear Throne

Nuclear Throne nets one million in revenue while in Early Access

Y.V. knows what's up
Apr 28
// Ben Davis
Nuclear Throne, the indie game where you run and gun as a colorful cast of mutant creatures in a radioactive wasteland, has reached one million dollars in revenue, Vlambeer's Rami Ismail announced yesterday. That's an impress...
Roguelike Sale photo
Roguelike Sale

Surrender your will to the pitiless RNG with Steam's roguelike game sale

I wasn't doing anything with my life anyway
Apr 23
// Nic Rowen
From now until April 27, Steam is slapping a discount on a wide selection of roguelike games. You can get 20% to 80% off titles like Abyss Odyssey, Risk of Rain, Spelunky, FTL: Advanced Edition, and more. If you were ever cur...
Desktop Dungeons photo
Desktop Dungeons

Desktop Dungeons gets new free content, mobile versions incoming

New classes, new quests, and a daily challenge
Apr 20
// Darren Nakamura
Reminder that Desktop Dungeons exists is not what I needed right now. Last time I played I got really into it, to the point where I needed to quit cold turkey in order to enjoy other aspects of life, like eating solid food o...
Free Tower of Guns photo
15 codes to give away
After a month of PC availability, the first-person shooter roguelike combo Tower of Guns has just made its way to Xbox One and PlayStations 3 and 4. It's available for free on the latter through PlayStation Plus this month, ...

Tower of Guns photo
Tower of Guns

The console ports for Tower of Guns are pretty all right

Raised my tower for sure
Apr 14
// Jed Whitaker
The roguelike first-person-shooter Tower of Guns recently launched on Xbox One and PS3 / PS4 as a PlayStation Plus title after last month's PC launch. You're tasking with traversing a tower literally made of and filled with g...
Tower of Guns on console photo
Tower of Guns on console

Tower of Guns available on Xbox One, PS4, and PS3

Free for PS Plus members for the month of April
Apr 10
// Rob Morrow
If you're looking for a little something extra special for your current-gen console of choice, I've got some exceptionally good news to share with you. The outstanding, previously PC-only FPS roguelike Tower of Guns has laun...
The Swindle preview photo
The Swindle preview

The Swindle perfectly balances roguelike mechanics with approachable gameplay

The people's roguelike
Mar 12
// Rob Morrow
On my last day covering PAX East, I had the chance to sit down with the inimitable Dan Marshall from Size Five Games to have a look at his gorgeous, stealthy, steampunk-centric burglary simulator The Swindle. We’ve...

Review: Flame Over

Mar 11 // Robert Summa
Flame Over (PlayStation Vita)Developer: Laughing JackalPublisher: Laughing JackalReleased: March 10, 2015MSRP: $9.99 Set up as a twin-stick shooter with randomized levels and a persistent upgrade system, Flame Over doesn't seem all that challenging. I mean, just look at it. It presents itself as a fun, lighthearted romp where you put out fires, save people and rescue cats. You know, the normal shenanigans that firefighters experience on a daily basis. However, Flame Over quickly dispels that belief and smacks you in the face with its difficulty. Your first obstacle to overcome will be to nail the controls down. You can shoot water with the right bumper and use an extinguisher with the left. The initial difficulty comes in realizing you can use both rather interchangeably and that your movement is directly affected by their application. [embed]288880:57716:0[/embed] There is no real tutorial, so you are pretty much left to figure it out for yourself: there are tips you can enable, but who needs those. As is pretty standard, your time within a given level is limited. It seems rather tame at first, but once you realize how long it takes to put out a fire or how much you need to refill your water or extinguisher, time suddenly seems to slip away fairly quickly. You can add to your running clock by rescuing random people scattered about, but their availability and willingness to follow you can vary -- for instance, they would stop following me if I ran too far ahead and there was an object between us. Similar to Spelunky's ghost, when you run out of time, the figure of death will appear. He'll chase you down (albeit pretty slowly), but if you touch him, game over. While he does move at a casual pace, it gets harder and harder to dodge him because of the walls of flames and tight spaces you can find yourself squeezed into. Of course, in most roguelikes, game over is a way of life. This is how you learn. So just like other titles, you accept it and move on. This is an area I would have liked to see be handled a little better. Roguelikes really work when you can restart your game fairly quickly -- as in, I push X and I restart right away. While it's not a slow process in Flame Over, it's not as fast as some other roguelikes you may be used to. This can add to a bit of frustration already built up from your previous failure of a run. It's not a big deal, but something that should be refined for a game like this to really shine. It really is a pretty straight forward and rewarding game. While it's in no way perfect, it's a completely serviceable roguelike for its price and for the Vita. If you can't get enough of this genre, then by all means consider Flame Over. Even though it doesn't really set itself apart from the crowd, it's got enough there to garner a following and perhaps deliver on future iterations or changes to improve upon the established formula. [This review is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]
Flame Over photo
Sound the alarm
Roguelikes suck. They don't suck as in they are horrible to play. They suck for me because they're so damn hard. But in this genre, that's part of the challenge. For whatever reason, our gamer brains desire to overcome the im...

Harebrained Schemes nails it once again with Necropolis

Mar 10 // Rob Morrow
Another noteworthy difference between the games is the absence of a rolling mechanic in Necropolis. The analog in Harebrained's title is the dash ability -- once tapped, your character will hop back a short distance. By limiting the character's ability to quickly roll out of the way of danger, Necropolis' combat feels riskier to me. Obviously, you can use the dash to escape from danger, but the distance you travel is much shorter, so it may take a few stamina-draining hops to get far enough away from an enemy to avoid its attacks. Before I move on to discussing the game's environments, I wanted to add one last thing about the combat systems that I found intriguing, and that's what the team refers to as its "living ecology of threats." I'd read about it before but with scant details available at the time and wasn't sure what to make of it. In the demo, however, its use was made very clear -- the Gem Eater, or as we've described him, the Shark Man -- has an insatiable appetite for (you guessed it) gems. And, as it happens, the Grine creatures mentioned before are composed of a crystalline substance that the hulking monster finds irresistible. [embed]288700:57694:0[/embed] Mike McCain, art director for the project, tipped me off on this, suggested that instead of going toe to toe with the brute that perhaps I should use him to my advantage instead. McCain pointed out a nearby mob of Grine and advised me to kite the beast in, letting him do what came naturally. As soon as he spotted his prey, he forgot about me entirely and began battling my foes for me. This opened up a wonderful tactical opportunity as I could swiftly and safely move in for a few strikes, gradually chipping away at his health before inevitably having to face off with him by myself once he was through with the Grine. Where Necropolis really sets itself apart is outside of combat, however. As you can see in MMORPG's footage of the PAX demo above, the procedurally generated environments have a stylish and clean look to them, standing in stark contrast to the oppressively gritty-looking From titles that helped inspire it. Necropolis' gorgeous low-poly environments look almost dream-like in their abstract, geometric structure and layout. It's quite impressive, really. For a title that's going for such a minimalistic design, the effect is paradoxically lavish when taken in as a whole. The game also differentiates itself from typical roguelikes in its approach to level design. Harebrained Schemes manages to trick the eye in the way that it handles the procedural elements; the end effect looks more like preplanned environments than randomly assembled rooms tacked together. If you didn't know that the levels were being procedurally generated with each new game, it would be easy to come away thinking that the layouts you'd just played were static. I'm not sure if it's the utilization of wide-open spaces where you can look out into the distance or stare down into an abyss that makes it feel so, but in any case, the effect works very well. Out of all the titles that I saw at this year’s PAX East, it was a no-brainer to choose Harebrained Schemes' stunning new action-roguelike as one of the two games that I would select for my editor’s choice awards for the show. Its elegant and thoughtful combat, both familiar and new, was an absolute pleasure to experience firsthand. For fans of third-person action games, especially those who enjoy From Software’s titles, Necropolis is one to fix firmly on your radar.
Necropolis preview photo
Murderous beauty
As I explored the opening area of Harebrained Schemes' third-person action roguelike Necropolis at PAX East 2015, I discovered an inviting treasure chest. Upon opening it, I realized too late that I wasn’t alone in that...

Heat Signature is the best game I saw at GDC

Mar 10 // Mike Cosimano
[embed]288833:57687:0[/embed] Heat Signature (PC)Developer: Suspicious DevelopmentsPublisher: Suspicious DevelopmentsRelease Date: When it "feels ready" If you look at Heat Signature, it’s not difficult to see a through-line between this game and Gunpoint. There’s a lot of opportunity for emergent gameplay in both titles, with an emphasis on improvisation. I often found myself cracking up whenever something went wrong. Rebounding from a mistake never felt impossible. Here, you play a little dude in a little ship. That’s all I know for sure; there’s currently no story attached to the game. Francis is dedicated to feature locking before he starts writing a story around the mechanics, but there will be some form of narrative component in the final product. Your ship is designed for boarding, so your only form of interacting with other ships is smashing into their airlock and hopping aboard. The build of the game I played had three different kinds of missions: steal an item, assassinate a crew member, or hijack a ship and fly it back to a certain spot. They’re simple enough on their own, but the missions take on a whole new life when things start going wrong. For example, I accidentally blew up part of a ship during a mission. I had to kill a target in a different part of the ship, but the corridor I was supposed to take was in pieces, floating through space. So I docked my ship in the blown-out part of the mining vessel, creating a new airlock, only to find a locked door. The only option? Spawn more explosives and make an even bigger mess. I never actually got to my target, but I could have hijacked a nearby ship with actual weapons and blown my target to smithereens, if I were so inclined. So many games claim to offer open problem solving, but Heat Signature actually delivers (much like Gunpoint). For example, in the build I played, it’s possible for your breaching ship to be destroyed. So, in lieu of a breaching ship, you can launch yourself out of an airlock towards another ship’s airlock, steering yourself with a gun. Even the death state feels exciting and improvisational. If you get killed while on a ship, you have to remote control your ship in your direction before you bleed to death. Since your ship has realistic thrusters (e.g: the only way to slow down is to thrust in the other direction) as opposed to being able to turn on a dime, you’re forced to master the controls if you want to keep a particularly lucrative run going. This also factors into the game’s title. Running your engines heats up your ship, which causes your *ahem* heat signature to become visible to enemies. I often ran my thrusters at full blast for a second, launching me across the galaxy but keeping my ship cold. However, this often caused me to slam against the hull of the enemy ship, causing me to careen off in the opposite direction. Closing the distance between you and your quarry -- a simple mechanical loop in any other game -- feels like an adventure unto itself. And that’s Heat Signature in a word. It feels adventurous. It feels big. It captures the imagination. Maybe it’s unprofessional to express this level of enthusiasm, but I’m not going to sit here and lie to you about how I feel. This game is awesome. I can’t wait to play the full thing.
Heat Signature GDC photo
What's cooler than being cool?
Gunpoint ultimately had very little to do with guns. It was a smartly designed puzzler with an immensely satisfying core set of mechanics and witty dialogue. But the title never came into play; pointing guns at people always ...

Fancy Skulls photo
Fancy Skulls

Modern art meets roguelike FPS in Fancy Skulls

I like my skulls fancy, how about you?
Feb 27
// Rob Morrow
Fancy Skulls is a challenging and visually striking first-person shooter that features random level generation, permadeath, and a distinct art style straddling the line between looking like Foster's Home for I...
Sublevel Zero photo
Sublevel Zero

Sublevel Zero is your new 6DoF roguelike shooter

Grab your dramamine and hold on to your hat
Feb 27
// Rob Morrow
Sublevel Zero is England-based studio Sigtrap's new roguelike reimagining of the first-person, six-degree-of-freedom shooter. Influences on the game's design swing from classic 6DoF titles like Descent to modern ro...
Flame Over photo
Flame Over

Flame Over fires up the Vita this March

Time to channel your inner Kurt Russell
Feb 25
// Robert Summa
The Vita means life. And what a life it's having. Even though its overall sales pale in comparison to the likes of the 3DS, the system is an indie lovers dream and is home to some of the most underrated games in the past few...
Weird animals in space photo
Weird animals in space

Space shooter Captain Forever returns with weird animals and a bubblegum mutant little brother

Sit this one out, Fox
Feb 19
// Jordan Devore
Oh, wow, Captain Forever -- that brings me back. The last person to cover it on Destructoid was Anthony Burch. (He so would.) It's a wonderful game about destroying spaceships and stealing their parts to cobble together a su...
Paranautical Activity photo
Paranautical Activity

Paranautical Activity sold to Digerati Distribution

Returns to Steam as the Deluxe Atonement Edition
Feb 17
// Rob Morrow
As I'm sure some of you are aware, Code Avarice's delightful, drum and bass-infused FPS roguelike Paranautical Activity was pulled from Steam last October after one of the game's creators took to Twitter ...
Neptune, Have Mercy photo
Neptune, Have Mercy

A sci-fi submarine roguelike? Neptune, Have Mercy!

Damn, this looks cool
Feb 12
// Jordan Devore
Neptune, Have Mercy has a lot going for it. This is an "action exploration roguelike" set not in a fantasy world full of dungeons, but underwater on Neptune's largest moon. Players control a customizable submarine with a cla...
Seaworthy photo

Seaworthy: It's like FTL, but with pirates

Well, blow me down
Feb 09
// Jason Faulkner
I always wanted to play a more brutal game centered on pirates, but as the years went by I was continually disappointed. Sid Meier’s Pirates was an interesting ride, but it was too lighthearted for me. Seaworthy, a rea...
Overture photo

Overture melted my face, has a free demo on Steam

Why yes, you CAN play as a devastatingly powerful Pope!
Feb 04
// Rob Morrow
Overture is the latest retro-inspired offering from Black Shell Games, the talented development team behind the ASCII RPG SanctuaryRPG: Black Edition. It's a charming game, with an adorably chunky pixel art style and an infe...

In Darkest Dungeon, what doesn't kill you only makes you more peculiar

Feb 03 // Rob Morrow
[embed]287116:57147:0[/embed] Some side effects of the stresses you’ll endure exhibit themselves as temporary buffs for set periods during the game (such as while in a dungeon, or until you make camp), while others manifest as long-term positive traits, offering helpful stat boosts and situational bonuses. However, most of the time, the changes affected by the horrors you’ll encounter will present themselves as negative personality traits; hindering your party’s performance, and in some instances wrenching your control over your character’s actions, if only temporarily. It is the wild card, a psychological roll of the dice. This part of your character’s development is mostly out of your control and the results can vary a great deal, ranging from characters that gibber like lunatics in the heat of battle, passing up their turns, to heroes-turned-cowards pushing their way to the back of the ranks, forcing your back-row characters to fight in their place. In some instances I’ve even had members of my party attempt to commit suicide on the battlefield, or self-flagellate in an unsettling display of masochistic ecstasy. When I say mostly out of your control, I feel I should clarify this by adding that you can remedy some of the afflictions and psychological maladies your party will inevitably suffer, but this treatment will come at a hefty cost. Once unlocked by progressing a bit further in the game, you’ll gain access to some of the different buildings within the village that specialize in offering treatment options and pleasant distractions for your disturbed party members. There's a dingy local tavern where gambling, drink, and prostitution offer a brief respite, and serve to reduce the ever-increasing levels of stress your characters carry. If vice isn't of interest, there's also an old abbey you can visit if your characters are so inclined which offers a quiet place for meditation and prayer. Lastly, there is the local sanitarium, offering medieval treatment options which can remove some of the bothersome quirks your party can become afflicted with. As mentioned before, all of these remedies come with a substantial cost. The treatments and amusements aren't cheap, and if you do happen to have the gold to spare, those who elect to cure their various ailments will also have to sit out during the next expedition, requiring you to swap them out for an inexperienced adventurer if you don't have anything better in your roster. It’s a classic risk-and-reward situation. By investing the money to remove the negative traits that are affecting your party’s performance you may find yourself coming up short on funds when you next need to purchase vital exploration gear such as torches, rations, and medicine. There’s also the maintenance of your character’s personal equipment to keep in mind when budgeting for treatment and stress relief. Upgrading armor and weapons as well as the character’s individual skills all cost a good deal of money. Needless to say, Darkest Dungeon will force you to make some very hard choices as you progress; but, that’s all part of fun and challenge the game has to offer. If you’re feeling concerned that the Affliction system will detract from the experience of what is an incredibly solid turn-based RPG, you can rest easy. On paper it may seem like it may be more than you want to deal with, or that the odds are stacked unfairly against you. But once the game’s in play, Red Hook’s experiment in role-playing game design feels like a natural evolution of the roguelike subgenre, and was never frustrating during my time with it. Instead of the mechanical RNG-based, slot machine-like feel of other roguelikes, Darkest Dungeon adds a human element to the equation. While still procedurally generated, the game manages to cleverly disguise that fact somewhat by creating unique characters to explore its world with, each one endowed with their own particular flaws and virtues. The tragic heroes almost feel alive in a way that even scripted characters in narrative-driven RPGs can’t manage to recreate. Darkest Dungeon Early Access launches today on Steam for $19.99.
Darkest Dungeon preview photo
Early Access impressions of Red Hook's impressive gothic roguelike RPG
“If I am mad, it is mercy! May the gods pity the man who in his callousness can remain sane to the hideous end!” – Howard Phillips Lovecraft, The Temple As you might be aware by now, Darkest Dungeon is a vis...

Out There: Omega Edition photo
Out There: Omega Edition

How long can you survive in Out There: Omega Edition?

Mi-Clos' roguelike reminds us how insignificant we are in the universe
Jan 29
// Rob Morrow
Out There: Omega Edition by Mi-Clos Studio is certainly a pretty little thing. Don't let its eye-catching pulp-comic appearance fool you, though. It's a difficult game. Think Oregon Trail meets FTL and you'll have a goo...
Oblitus photo

Oblitus is coming soonlitus

That's about it
Jan 27
// Robert Summa
Adult Swim Games has officially announced that their fantasy 2D roguelike scroller Oblitus is coming soon. How soon? Hell, I don't know, and I guess Adult Swim doesn't know either, since they're not telling us. At the very least, the trailer has some decent music and the art that has accompanied the game appears to be cool as fuck.
Enchanted Cave 2 photo
Enchanted Cave 2

A free roguelike with music by Banjo-Kazooie's Grant Kirkhope? Yes, please!

The Enchanted Cave 2
Jan 26
// Jordan Devore
I'm struggling to stop playing The Enchanted Cave 2 for long enough to tell you about it. Unassuming name and overabundance of roguelikes aside, this browser-based game is terrific. You delve into a cavern in search of gold, ...
Children of Morta photo
Children of Morta

Children of Morta announces stretch goals

Co-op don't come free
Jan 24
// Robert Summa
After giving you a formal introduction of Children of Morta earlier this week, Austin developer Dead Mage has revealed to hack 'n' slash hopefuls the stretch goals of its project on Kickstarter. While an initial funding ...
Children of Morta KS photo
Children of Morta KS

Children of Morta Kickstarter launches today, looks phenomenal

Dead Mage's gorgeous 2D hack n' slash has left me awestruck
Jan 20
// Rob Morrow
Story-driven hack 'n' slash Children of Morta's Kickstarter campaign went live today and it looks absolutely stunning. I cover a lot of retro-inspired pixel-art titles in my work here at Destructoid, but what ...

Vagante wanders onto Steam Early Access

Jan 18 // Rob Morrow
Vagante uses an Affinity Point system to let you customize each of your characters. At the beginning of each run and after exiting each board, you'll have one point that you can assign to unlock new abilities such as Anatomy Studies for the Rogue. This particular perk allows for a greater likelihood getting a critical hit when using daggers. For each class there are four different categories, or trees, that you can invest your points in to further develop your character. Nuke Nine's clever RPG spin on the Spelunky formula has fast become my favorite Early Access title in my Steam library. If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, there's still an earlier demo build available to try out free of charge. Vagante is currently is available on Steam and the Humble Store.
Vagante Early Access photo
Nuke Nine's take on the formula scratches all the itches
When we last reported on Nuke Nine's retro-inspired action platformer Vagante, the title was campaigning for funding on Kickstarter. After unfortunately falling short of its funding goal the developers have brought...

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