A window in to the old school ways of dungeon crawling and FPS gameplay that's just as approachable for new and old gamers alike!
Back when games didn't bog you down with forced tutorial segements where the game treats you like you have the IQ of a bee against a window, games presented you the tools and the world and said "you're on your own, good luck! You're gonna need it..." Through careful traversal of the world and observation of your enemies and the effects of your gear you became your own tutor. your victories and your failures were down to your strats, observations and reactions. This is what made games like Doom, Half Life and other 90's titles such classics and Delver brings back that style of gaming with grace and it's such a joy to see this approach to gaming still existant and appealing in this era of the industry!
Delver is a dungeon crawler, first person roguelike where permadeath results in the loss of your character upon death along with your items and level. That SOUNDS punishing but with out it, the appeal of this game is simply lost and it takes the experience of being in this amazing game to really appreciate that. You do however keep any gold you find which allows you purchase items you feel may help either balance the weaknesses in your gameplay style or further boost your strengths.
The game is split in to dungeon levels which go:
The objective is to make your way in to the cursed ruins and obtain an orb to then double back and actually climb your way through those levels back to the surface, all while being pursued by the undead that roam the ruins looking for their orb!
Enemy types, difficulties and tactics vary through each level, constantly keeping you on your toes to see whether or not the enemy is fast, slow, hits hard or poisons or maybe they use projectile attacks. Eventually you'll come to recognise things like audio cues of monsters, the sounds of traps being detonated or particle effect remains on the floor, giving you clues as to what's gone on in the area.
The game's golden feature which makes this such an appealing experience is that everything is useful and thinking outside the box is critical to success. And the beauty of it is it's all down to you which makes the gameplay so rewarding with even the simplest of feats. for example. I noticed my run speed was still too slow for me to run over a trap and not get enough distance to get away from the blast radius it triggers but I remembered seeing enemies also trigger traps so I thought "what about items?" I took a broken wand with no charges left in it and threw it on the trap. Sure enough it detonated and I could move through it during the down time while the trap was resetting. Not only did that feel rewarding that my plan worked but I now knew that 'useless' items like empty wands still served a purpose, so I kept on to one or two as I explored.
Another example was when I was using a bow. I noticed sometimes when I missed, the arrow would bounce off a wall and I could pick it back up. When I came across the mage skeletons who are very projectile heavy and can easily be a problem, I wondered if I could bounce my arrows off the wall around a corner to fight them whilst being safe from their projectiles. I aimed at an angle and fired, sure enough the mage caught the arrow in his eye socket and he popped! Another rewarding feeling and a little more understanding of the game's mechanics!
Delver is a very small budget game and when you get the hang of it, it can easily be done in under an hour which results in the game resetting after a victory screen as if you died which is a shame because it feels like all the content can be experienced in a short manner of time and I want to spend so many hours in the world of Delver! The game is still early access as I write this so here's hoping the amazing guy behind this high potential title keeps dishing out further quality content!
(P.S. The projectile particle effects remind me so much of Heretic's visuals and that's just another 1000 bonus points to this title :P)
Posted: August 10th, 2014