January 26th, 2008 by Crusader

Here’s a roguelike we’ve yet to mention: POWDER (the origin of the name is a mystery!) is a role-playing game in a tradition that includes NetHack, but it has graphics-based tiles and is biased towards fast play:

Descend into the depths of the dungeon until you reach the foul daemon known as “He who the author cannot spell consistently”, or, Baezl’bub. When you have slain Baezl’bub in heroic combat, or, if Baezl’bub dies in any way, retrieve his black heart and bring it to the surface world.

The design was shaped primarily by these precepts (as well as the requirements of its original platform, the Game Boy Advance):

  • Tactical play. The unit of action is based on the individual adventurer. The game is not twitch oriented (like Quake, rewarding reflexes & well trained actions) nor is it strategy oriented (like Civilizations or Warcraft, requiring working on the large picture)
  • Based in Hack and Slash. A roguelike isn’t primarily about plot development or telling a story. It is about killing things and acquiring treasure.
  • Random games. A roguelike is a dungeon crawler where no two games are the same. The maps are different, the items are different, there are no guaranteed win paths.
  • Permadeath. You die, that is it. No restoring a savegame. Good roguelikes delete your save game after loading them. This is compensated by the re-playability of the game.
  • Complex interactions of properties. While the commands for a roguelike are simple, the potential interactions are not. My favorite example is equipping a silver ring as a weapon in order to damage a creature vulnerable to silver, but not one’s other weapons.
  • Steam rolling monsters. If a critter is in your way, and weak, you shouldn’t even notice it is there.

The website includes a beastiary and spell tome. There’s a review of an older release @ GameSetWatch.

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