So until a few years back I had never heard of the term “roguelike”, it was just 2 words that made me think of someone backstabby but charming. This isn’t surprising though as back then I was still naively thinking Sonic Unleashed was the best SEGA had to offer and Mass Effect 3 would have the best ending to a trilogy ever (spoilers it’s the worst). With the advent of the PS4 and getting on the Plus ‘free’ game gig plenty of titles started coming my way and I’ve started to get more and more into them but each seems to be a love/hate relationship crossed with dizzying highs and crushing lows.
Regardless of what roguelike game it was (and to an extent still is) I always seem to reach a point where my skills just aren’t enough to finish the game. This tends to result in hours and days of struggle finally resolving to a quick YouTube to see an ending that I’m sure I’d have never seen otherwise (aka the 100% Mario solution). Basically one of the reasons I tend to leave purchasing roguelikes unless they are on sale or part of a subscription I already have; psn plus or humble bundle for example.
Right, So I know what your thinking – because I’m omnipotent and yes your collection of comics is terrible you should buy better ones and No Mass Effect 3 is the worst. You think I’m just going about it all wrong and I suck, well to be fair (even though you are being quite rude!) with some games such as Bloodborne until it “clicked” and I get the feel for it I seem to play them ‘wrong’. Still here’s a few titles to illustrate my point about how mixed my emotions get on the subject:
Downwell – I love Schmups. I bought Radiant Silvergun on release day for 360 and had an Akai Katana poster on my wall for years… I’m just not that good at them. So it should be no surprise I just don’t have enough skills to finish Downwell (so far) but I still love it even if it hates me. Upgrades do make it easier to get the lay of the land but my hand to eye coordination has slowly gone over the years and the game seems to delight in reminding me of this resulting in a good run ruined by my lack of twitch gaming. With no change in difficulty other than style this is just another “forever unbeaten” to me I feel. Also damn those skulls that change to red.
The Swindle – This was a surprise to me, I expected to hate it (not a lover of steampunk videogames par say) but it’s just brilliant. My main problem is I spend waaay too long grinding early stages and wasting too many of the finite lives there. I get the feeling this game is a secret time management game and I do enough of that in my day to day. Funny thing with the vita port, I’m better at it as the frame rate is lower! Mental. I should retire from games now. Shut up I’m not going anywhere. *loads it again for just one more go*
Ftl – or F**K THIS LITTLE *BLEEP*. If you’ve never played FTL stop reading this and go play it now. You too will feel that love for the game and also realise how one sided it is and the game only knows how to hate. I can get everything right and survive, I am Picard. Seriously who chooses Kirk? I’ll tell you. Wrong people that’s who. All is going well… ah no not really, due to the random nature of the beast and a brutal difficulty curve, the furthest I’ve made was to final boss and SS TOTALLY-CAN-DO-THIS was totally annihilated. Why do you hate so much FTL? Are you teaching that space will kill me?
Splunky – The perfect example of ‘easy to pickup difficult to master’. The platforming mechanics, the ‘making the shop keeper explode in Rage only to kill himself in a trap I made’ and finding the pug and saving him just to get health. It’s so close to absolute perfection. Then you reach the last stages… The difficulty due to procedural generation spikes hard in this and the final boss always kicked my ass regardless of how many tools I approached it with. It wasn’t helped by the fact that getting past the last stage always felt like a run trough the temple of doom without years of study and the temptation to drive the shoppie insane is always there…
Rogue Legacy – So to wrap this up. It’s not impossible for me to finish and enjoy a roguelike, if there’s a way to grind and build up stats etc it’s doable. My grind can make up for my lack of skill at a certain level and Rogue Legacy was the best for it. Finished it and loved every tiny little part, started learning levels, going on loot runs, levelling runs then “trial by fire” runs. Although those super tough bosses please the hardcore nutter crowd, I can safely ignore them as a “hahaha no. Not for me” side attraction, a bit like the trophies and most roguelikes I see in sales….
So in closing. Just need to shut up and Git Gud I suppose?