Under The Radar is a weekly look at games that have ended up hidden through lack of coverage, but shouldn’t have been. If you have a game that you think should be featured here, leave it in the comments and I’ll be sure to check it out.
Indies taking a game and reimagining it is easily one of my favorite things on the internet. TIGSource’s Demake Competition is a quick example of this, and is composed of many fun games. Recently, I’ve had a hankering for roguelikes and ended up finding two indie titles that take shooters and turn them into the turn-based, high mortality games of yore.
Developed by Kornel Kisielewicz, DoomRL that has been in development for a few years and is currently available as PC freeware. If the title doesn’t give it away, it’s a roguelike whose aesthetic elements are inspired by by the PC FPS classic. Top-down and turn based, players select from one of three marine classes with special abilities and get to gunning. Players kill monsters to level up and put points into various traits that are more like skills as opposed to strength, dexterity, and constitution.
The game comes in both a classic ASCII form, and a graphical tile from with art created by indie developer Derek Yu. To make the game even more accessible, the graphical tile version also includes many instructions within the game so as to help those who’ve not played much of the genre.
Continuing the trend of unfinished games, Grand Rogue Auto (GRA) is a roguelike that uses some of the open-world aesthetic themes of the GTA series. There’s no particular game from the GTA series that GRA draws from, it mostly follows the conceits of players taking control of a scoundrel for hire who takes missions from various opposing gangs in an open-world city. Players gain experience to level up skills that range from hand-to-hand combat, to lockpicking, to pick-pocketing.
The game is clearly one that’s still in development. As of this writing, is in version 0.6.9 of its alpha. Menus and such aren’t quite as user-friendly as a final version would be, and it lacks many of the features that the developer wants the game to have, but this early version is also highly moddable, with the tools to do so being included by the dev.
Both DoomRL and GRA use popular thematic elements to make a niche genre more accessible. DoomRL in particular is a fantastic way to introduce someone to roguelikes. Add to that they’re both PC freeware, and there’s no reason to not try the games out if they pique your interest.