I must confess, I’m a bit of a wimp when it comes to dungeon crawlers, especially those of the punishing roguelike flavor. Fortunately, a studio out there has my needs in mind, as indie developer Spellbind Studios is working on a role-playing game that fuses together town-building, dungeon-crawling, and roguelike elements into a single, casual-friendly experience. It’s called Rogue Wizards, and it's currently seeking support via its newly-launched Kickstarter campaign.
The first thing I noticed about Rogue Wizards when I fired up a preview PC/Mac build was that it has a very simple and intuitive interface, which will undoubtedly translate well to Android and iOS devices which are in development as well. The game starts you off with a view of your town, which you can expand as you gain resources by completing various missions. So after doing a bit of poking around on a rather scarce map just begging to be populated with new structures, I clicked on Gimley’s Tavern to grab a few quests and then made my way to one of the game’s various procedurally-generated dungeons by way of a large glowing portal.
Each dungeon is laid out in a grid-like fashion, so progressing through the environment is as simple as clicking the square to where you want your character to move. The player character can be customized with various pieces of armor, weapons, and magic abilities, all of which can be purchased, discovered in chests, and acquired by killing enemies. In addition, you’ll pick up a wide array of resources that can be combined to create useful items using the game’s crafting system. The action bar along the bottom of the screen makes switching between your sword and, say, a fire spell quick and easy, something I’m sure those playing Rogue Wizards using a touch-based interface will no doubt appreciate.
Attacking the various foes that populate each dungeon is incredibly simple as well. Simply click on the creature you wish to attack and whatever weapon happens to be equipped will be used. Naturally, you’ll need to be right next to the enemy if you wish to use a melee weapon, while magic attacks allow you to keep a safe distance. I appreciated this level of accessibility and intuitive control, even if the first dungeon proved to be a cakewalk.
After completing my first mission with ease, I returned to the town and built myself a supply vendor, whereby I could sell some of the loot acquired from slain enemies and purchase some new equipment in preparation for my next mission. The added element of town-building provides a nice break from the dungeons and keeps things fresh. Mind you, it’s not the most robust system in the world, but for someone like myself who is often intimidated by an overabundance of options, I felt right at home.
At this point, I was ready to tackle another quest and make my way through another dungeon. It’s worth noting, however, that there doesn’t appear to be a whole lot of variety in the missions themselves. Instead, it is more about choosing your attacks wisely to ensure you make it out alive. Should you die, like I did after a bit of overconfidence kicked in during my trek through the third dungeon, you’ll be transported back at town, at which point you’ll have to try and complete the dungeon again from square one. So don’t worry about it being too easy, either; the challenge is there for those who want it.
Based on my time with Rogue Wizards, I can confidently say that while it may not be the deepest dungeon-crawler out there, it does offer enough customization options to keep things engaging for those who are looking for an experience that isn’t overly complex. Its cute and simple aesthetic perfectly reflect the game design in this regard, so if you’re looking for something a bit darker in theme and mechanically complex, your time will likely be better spent loot-hunting in a game like Diablo or Torchlight.