Dungeons of Dredmor: a fairly standard roguelike dungeon crawler, built on familiar structures and subject to the same high points as well as the same pitfalls as others in its genre.
As is standard in such games, the gameplay is highly unforgiving, requiring you to be constantly alert or risk the end of your character and start over again from square one. This can be rewarding, as the high stakes can require the player use every asset at his disposal to escape a uniquely dangerous situation. However, the flipside is that in the situations that are either not unique, not dangerous, or neither of the two, you are essentially forced to run through a self-programmed set of actions to overcome them. Use power, hit twice, use other power, fire crossbow, repeat. The moments when you are forced to innovate are the golden core of the roguelike experience, but are unfortunately too few and far between to justify the time cost.
As a result, whenever I am partway through a run, I fatigue very quickly. I’ve specced my character to do one thing really well and that’s what he’ll do until his inevitable death. Monsters either hit you or shoot you and more loot is just better loot; it doesn’t change your playstyle as you’ve essentially determined that through your character build. If you pick swords as one of your seven starting skills, you’re not going to switch to maces halfway through. You can’t, unless you want to get your head caved as you fumble to find which end you’re supposed be holding on to.
Yet, a day or two after every death, I start thinking about character design and return to bash my head against the dungeon floor once again. Why is that?
Read the rest of this entry »