Thursday, February 13, 2014

3 days of...Sword of the Stars: The Pit!

The Humble Rogue-like Bundle: Game 5

Those tentacles don't want friendly hugs.
Heading deep into the Pit for the hundredth time, I realize that I'll probably never beat this game on normal, or even easy mode. And I'm completely okay with that. It's moments like this that remind me how a good rogue-like is supposed to feel; Sword of the Stars: The Pit definitely has that aura about it. Made by Canadian developers Kerberos Productions, SOTS The Pit (hereby to be known only as The Pit) is a procedurally generated dungeon crawler placed in the Sword of the Stars universe.

Just a warning to those who want to jump right in. This game is HARD.

You'll often enter a level immediately surrounded by danger.
I'm not talking finding the motivation to clean your garage on Sunday, I'm talking climb Mount Everest hard. There is so much hate surrounding the difficulty of this game that I can't help but laugh. Visiting the forum boards for this game is like going to a bad comedy show that sells ripe fruit. And Cerberus takes it like a champ, with each new DLC they keep dishing out the punishment.

To be fair, they also have added features like 2 or 3 new character types and loads of new items for each DLC, which helps give the game more longevity -- and me more patience for having to tolerate so much failure. You can also save a single file of each character type, or leave weapons and armor on certain levels for other characters to start with, rather than having them level up. These DLC packs add enough noticeable content to be worth the money, but you'll likely end up spending near $20 for the full package. That may not be worth it if you're not a fan of rogue-likes, but if you are then this is at least something to try. You can find the demo on the Kerberos website here.

The Pit has crafting, unique enemies, interesting weapons, and a persistent recipe system that rewards you beyond your characters death. That being said, the best way to play this game is blindly, and starting on easy. You will not be able to survive even on Normal until you've unlocked some recipes from the lower difficulty. Even then, surviving to the end on easy will take a while with the 30 levels currently in the game. I personally never got past 14, and I've been playing this game since well before my "3 days of..." series.

Rats won't keep you from eating what
is found in these kitchens if you want to survive.
The last thing I have to say is the artwork is interesting to say the least. I'm not quite sure if it's the dimensions, or the quality of the art that put my eye off a bit, but there's definitely something unusual about how The Pit was animated. It was one of the things about the game that attracted me in the first place, and it looks great. The animations are sound, especially for your character, and the rest serves its purpose well, with recognizable symbols and items teeming in the levels. You'll soon discover a regular route and plan for each corner and room as patterns start to identify themselves. 

You'll like this game if: You enjoy rogue-likes, and you want to see more of them in a speculative fiction universe than a fantasy setting. You may also enjoy trudging through living slime, and the corpses of man-size rats. Enjoy!

The Finale of the Humble Rogue-like Bundle

Finishing up this latest Humble Bundle was loads of fun. I was excited to see that they featured Rogue-likes a couple weeks back. I will definitely be coming back to at least 3 of them in particular: Dungeons of Dredmor, Binding of Isaac, and Sword of the Stars: The Pit. These games represent what I believe to be the best rogue-likes in my recent memory. I can't think of anything that will surpass them for some time. And that's part of the magic of rogue-likes. They won't become obsolete, mostly because graphics and game play are neatly secluded. Graphics as they are so important these days have no sway on the quality of a good rogue-like, so you can rest assured that those favorites in this genre will remain standing the test of time.

You'll like rogue-likes if: You are getting older and all those whipper-snappers and their Black Ops shenanigans get to you. All you want to do is play a game alone in some peace and quiet, is there anything so wrong with that?

(If you had a different opinion or a new video game to suggest, leave a comment below!)

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