Posted by Chaser324 (5967 posts) -

Intro

As the name implies, the Seven Day Roguelike Challenge (7DRL) is a game jam that challenges developers to craft a game in the roguelike genre within 168 hours. 7DRL has been around officially since 2005 and unofficially for a decade which makes it essentially a game jam institution in comparison to all of the newcomers that have come and gone in recent years.

The 2013 7DRL Challenge just wrapped up this weekend, and after digging through the entries, I've assembled a list of 10 games that are my favorite of the bunch. I'm not following the official 7DRL evaluation metrics here. I'm also not penalizing games for not strictly sticking with an established definition of a roguelike, a subject of much heated debate amongst some, because I'd rather not muddy the waters here with mention of Berlin Interpretation or other competing definitions. These are simply 10 games that came out of the 2013 7DRL challenge that stuck out from the bunch as being fun, polished, and/or interesting when I was browsing through the completed entries.

The Highlights

Quadropus Rampage

Quadropus Rampage boasts a crazy amount of polish for something produced within the span of seven days. Its slick visuals and fun action RPG style gameplay just seem like they shouldn't be achievable by mere mortals within such a short time frame, and yet somehow the guys at Butterscotch Shenanigans managed to pull it off. Also, a note to Gearbox, it might not be a bad idea to get these guys working on the random weapon name generator for Borderlands 3.

EliteRL

As soon as I hit EliteRL's 2001: A Space Odyssey inspired title screen, I was interested. Then, I hit its space sim gameplay inspired by the C64 classic Elite, and I was totally in. The game also manages to paint some pretty good-looking space vistas in ASCII, which in my opinion is deserving of bonus points in a roguelike challenge.

Dungeon-Themed Starvation Simulator

In a lot of ways, this is the most traditional roguelike in this lineup that I've selected, but the slick presentation and adept handling of turn-based traps really made it stand out. There's just something about slipping between pistons without getting crushed that feels extremely satisfying.

Sunk Coast

Sunk Coast is a game from Jonathan Whiting, a member of the Sportsfriends crew of developers, which challenges the player to take on the role of a dirt poor undersea diver that has decided that the only way to put food on his family's table is to take his last cylinder of air and retrieve some gold doubloons 200 fathoms under the ocean. The game's visuals do a lot with a little, thanks mainly to a well selected color scheme, and the gameplay seems balanced and surprisingly fun. I haven't managed to make it to 200 fathoms yet, but I can definitely see myself loading this game up occasionally to give it a shot.

So Many Jagged Shards

The tweets from the creator of So Many Jagged Shards make it sound like he considers this a depressing failure, but I have news for him, this game is one of the the best of this year's 7DRL pack. The graphical filters and effects, distinct visual style, and free-flowing gameplay make this game really stand out in a field mostly comprised of rigid pixel-art and ASCII grid-based games.

Double Rogue

Double Rogue does something that I haven't seen many other places by combining puzzle games with the roguelike genre. It's a free game you can play in your browser, so I'll spare you what would probably be a poor description of the gameplay and just recommend that you go play it.

24killers

24killers is an attempt at merging roguelikes and muder-mystery theatre, where you ask questions of a crowd of 24 creatures in an attempt to identify the one that wants to murder you before you get close enough to let him stick a knife in your back. If you've ever played the classic kid's board game "Guess Who?", then you've got a pretty good sense of what the gameplay is like.

Kali's Ladder

Kali's Ladder is a game that I give a lot of credit to just for feeling very feature complete and polished. It also has some good looking and well animated pixel art, along with relaxed low-stakes roguelike gameplay that makes it a really good way to burn a little time.

Inside Out

A lot of the tropes of the survival-horror and roguelike genres seem so parallel that I'm always surprised that there aren't far more games that attempt to do both. Inside Out is an entry that does a pretty good job of merging the two and also brings along some "non-Euclidean" geometry that seems to be all the rage with a lot of indie developers these days.

Forest Story

This game comes by way of Proteus developer Ed Key, and in a lot of ways, it totally makes sense that this is the sort of game he would make. Both this game and Proteus are largely about being dropped into an unknown world and exploring. The chief distinction is that in the case of this game, if you make a poor decision, you die.

Other Games Worth a Mention

If you get through the 10 games mentioned above, here are some more that you might enjoy taking a look at. If you want to dive into the full list of entries, you can find that at this link.

  • BRS-081 - This is a game from the creator of McPixel that requires a printer to play. Nothing else I really need to say about it. That first sentence communicates the proper level of crazy.
  • Khu-Phu-Ka - A roguelike platformer for up to four players. Castle Crashers-esque art style.
  • 86856527 - It looks cool, and if I understood how to play this game, it probably would've been on the list above.
  • Borstal - High concept game about surviving as a 13 year old kid alone on island trying to find your father.
  • Chicken and Thyme - Essentially the roguelike equivalent of the movie Primer, but somehow the time travel in this game actually makes less sense.
  • Untitled Terry Cavanagh Game - He unfortunately hasn't released a build to the public, but he has posted a few videos.
  • segfault - A game that I made that I'm slipping into the middle of this list so I'm not accused of doing this entire post just to self-promote.
  • Versus Time - An interesting attempt at a multiplayer roguelike.
  • Dungeon X: Flesh Wounds - Fairly polished game about running booze as red-riding hood and her pet wolf.
  • Han YOLO and the Mysterious Planet - Second best title among this year's entries.
  • SkullDorado - The BEST title among this year's entries.
  • Attack the Geth - A roguelike set in the Mass Effect universe.
  • Caverns of Shrug - Maybe a bit more dual-stick shooter than roguelike, but still quite solid.
  • Rogue's Eye - A pretty good first person dungeon crawl.
  • STARSHIP REX - Apparently there are some GB staff members in some of these stasis pods.
Moderator
#1 Posted by Ravenlight (8033 posts) -

Awesome writeup. Definitely checking these out as soon as I'm at home!

#2 Posted by cloudymusic (920 posts) -

I've sunk more hours into roguelikes than I'd care to mention, so I'm always interested in new games that draw inspiration from the genre. Thanks for the list!

#3 Edited by BillyTheKid (484 posts) -

I want to look at these but sadly I do not have the time at the moment. Either way if I ever get a hankering for a Rouge I will check out these!

#4 Posted by Chaser324 (5967 posts) -

@keres: Yeah, it's pretty easy to burn hours upon hours when you find a game that nails the core roguelike adventure->die->repeat loop.

@billythekid: Keep in mind that these are game jam games, so even with the best, you might be able to get your fill in just a few minutes.

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#5 Edited by BillyTheKid (484 posts) -

I think that is really cool for competitions like this. To make a game in seven days is pretty nuts and something I wish I could do...

#6 Edited by EmptyApartment (137 posts) -

Awesome thank you for putting together this round up, great read. Was definitely interested in checking out some of the 7DRL titles, but didn't even know where to start. Thanks!

@chaser324 Sorry quick question, do you know of any other entries that are similar to Quadropus Rampage gameplay wise? If not, its cool was just curious, since really enjoy those.

#7 Posted by Chaser324 (5967 posts) -
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#8 Edited by goblinghost (2 posts) -

Is there a reason why the "Other Games" have a link to play them, but not the the "Highlights"? ;-)

#9 Posted by Chaser324 (5967 posts) -

@goblinghost: They actually do, just click the title, but I guess they aren't that apparent. Maybe I should reformat a little to make them more obvious.

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#10 Edited by goblinghost (2 posts) -