Road Not Taken is a roguelike puzzle game about surviving life’s surprises. You play as a ranger adventuring through a vast, unforgiving forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm, rescuing children who have lost their way.
User reviews: Very Positive (88 reviews)
Release Date: Aug 5, 2014
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"So brutal."
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Recent updates View all (4)

September 15

Major new update! (v731) Timed mode, modding & more!

Hi folks! We're pleased to announce the next major free update to Road Not Taken is now publicly available!

  • New "just for fun" Timed Mode: try to rescue all the kids within four minutes! You lose time whenever you take damage, and you add time to the clock whenever you eat food and rescue children. Timed Mode has no impact on your career, so it's a great way to enjoy Road Not Taken for a few minutes with limited stress. :-)

  • New creatures: the Forest Kraken and the Golem (and for those who haven't yet noticed it in our previous micro-update, the Ninja Bear!) These guys add a little spice to the early years of your career!

  • "Easier" mode and hard mode: In our previous micro-update, we split the game into two modes, Normal and Hard. "Hard" is basically our original gameplay mode with a few tweaks; "Normal" is more generous with energy and had less crowded rooms, among other changes. Checkpoints are also less punishing to use now. We've done more work in this update and now consider these features "complete!" This should make the game much more accessible to new users.

  • Mod support!: Now you can edit everything about the game, including the properties of objects and levels, make your own hand-crafted puzzle rooms and more, and share your work with your friends! Running a mod will prevent your game from uploading scores to the leaderboards (to keep them pure/fair.) Also, please note that using mods is something you do at your own risk! We're a very small studio and can't be expected to prevent or to fix every issue that could arise in the zillions of possible mods that can be created. We're excited to see those zillions of possibilities emerge though. :-) Detailed instructions on how to use and create mods can be found here.

We've worked hard on this update and really hope you enjoy it!

-Chedd

3 comments Read more

August 26

New update v662

Hi folks!

Road Not Taken now contains two difficulty modes, "normal" and "hard." The latter, hard mode, is basically what the default mode of the game used to be. The new "normal" mode has less crowded rooms on average, easier-to-reach and use checkpoints, smaller door locks on average, and various other subtle changes that make it a little less difficult. It should still present a challenge to people who have not yet mastered the game.

One major change is that for *both* normal and hard mode players, we have made shrines (aka checkpoints) less punishing to use. You will keep a percentage of your items when you die and restore via checkpoint. Another change to both modes is that various objects now have a very small chance of dropping an object with thrown. Usually it's a good object like food or resources, and it's always the same object (i.e. a parent will always drop an apple when thrown, if it is going to drop anything at all.)

Another major change is the appearance of a new critter in the forest! Fans of our previous games will no doubt recognize it. :-)

As always, we're grateful for your feedback and support. This update is a direct result of the opinions you have so kindly shared with us in the forums. Please keep 'em coming!

-Chedd

PS. Playstation 4 users who happen to be reading this: we'll be migrating these changes to you eventually as well. It just takes a lot longer because of the Playstation certification process.

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Reviews

“It looks like a cute fairy tale, but this is a turn-based game that’s thorny with challenge and packed with an incredible number of gameplay secrets.”
Should you play this game: YES – Kotaku

“Road Not Taken is the cutest catalyst for an existential crisis I've ever encountered”
4.5 out of 5 – Joystiq

“It’s as mean as life, as cruel as the universe, and it still manages to be one of the most intriguing and moving titles released this year.”
90 out of 100 – GamesBeat

About This Game

Road Not Taken is a roguelike puzzle game about surviving life’s surprises. You play as a ranger adventuring through a vast, unforgiving forest in the aftermath of a brutal winter storm, rescuing children who have lost their way. Randomly generated levels deliver a limitless supply of possibilities to explore and challenges to overcome. Your actions will influence not only your own story, but that of the villagers you hope to befriend and the town you call home.

Story Details:


Each time you play Road Not Taken, you're likely to experience a very different story. The paths you take will change; the relationships you pursue will twist in ways you did not expect. Which, as it happens, is just like real life.

The villagers of Road Not Taken believe that there is an optimal path through life: a good person gets a job, falls in love and has children. You won't follow this path. Can you find your own unique way through a life?

Gameplay Details:


No path leads to the same destination in Road Not Taken. The trails you take will change, the relationships you pursue will twist in ways you might not expect, and the narrative you create with every action will be yours to decide. Every playthrough offers new and unusual creatures to encounter, secrets and items to discover, townsfolk to build relationships with, and devilish, hand-crafted puzzle rooms to solve.

Brains, Not Brawn

Your character has the magical ability to levitate and move objects. You must figure out how to use your talents and tactics to circumvent or defeat a wide variety of dangerous creatures, obstacles, and boss encounters.

Get Lost in the Wild

Road Not Taken is brought to life with gorgeous 2D artwork, expressively charming sprite design, and an evocative, atmospheric soundtrack. Every puzzle is a challenge of exploration and strategy, testing players to think before taking each step forward.

System Requirements

PC
Mac
    Minimum:
    • OS: Windows XP
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    Recommended:
    • OS: Windows 7
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
    Minimum:
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 or later
    • Memory: 2 GB RAM
    Recommended:
    • OS: Mac OS X v10.6 or later
    • Memory: 6 GB RAM
Helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people (100%) found this review helpful
2.3 hrs on record
Touching, simplistic, cheerful.

As of when I write this review, I have only gotten into the game a little bit, but from playing this game, I love it. I am pretty sure I have played games like this, but this one sticks out. As a ranger who stumbles on a random village, you hear about children who have gotten lost due to a huge storm and go to save them. It's just hard to describe how much I enjoy this game. To say the least, it is very heart-warming and definitely a game I would recommend buying.
Posted: October 20
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1 of 1 people (100%) found this review helpful
11.5 hrs on record
You can either scream of happiness or anger. This is a very funny game, it's never the same and it can get very challenging. You can craft food or angry ghosts and when that happens you will scream. It's worth the price.
Posted: October 11
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0 of 6 people (0%) found this review helpful
2.1 hrs on record
It looked good on the outside, so i bought it. Unfortunately, on the inside it just happened to be a tiny minigame with nothing to it, just like one of those flash games that are distributed for free to be played for 2-3 hours and never again. Completely not worth the money spent on it. Considering lack and limits of gameplay it should have had a price tag of $2.
Posted: October 3
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1 of 20 people (5%) found this review helpful
21.3 hrs on record
not recommended - complete waste of time
Posted: October 14
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2.6 hrs on record
DAEMON BUNNAE
Posted: September 25
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158 of 177 people (89%) found this review helpful
137.2 hrs on record
Lore-wise, this game is interactive poetry. Instead of beating you over the head with a point that can't be avoided, it delivers bits and pieces to not tell just a story, but to provide deep themes about life, love, and loss. The keenly aware will pick up on the things that make up these themes, and what the final message appears to be, yet there's plenty of room for interpretation - In much the same way classic poetry does. I wish more games were like this.

Gameplay-wise, it takes elements of classic block sliding puzzles and crafting-based matching, dresses it up with beautiful art, and packages it in rougelike tropes. Success relies on thoughtfulness, planning, and situational adaptability. It's both casual and challenging. The better you get at the game, the more rewarding it becomes to finish each year with all the children saved and at a minimum cost to your energy levels.

There are lots of secrets, tactics and strategies, and surprises.
Posted: August 5
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81 of 94 people (86%) found this review helpful
11.9 hrs on record
Road Not Taken is a roguelike puzzle game about surviving life’s surprises. But life is so often content with stagnation and repetition, offering what seems the same grind over and over and over, soon only occasionally taunting with the glimmer of something new. But that’s just the way of things; everything new becomes old, in time. Eventually, new just begins to run out. RNT follows a similar cycle; in the beginning, discovering all these new things and how you can change and adapt them to your uses is exciting and intoxicating. But soon enough, the new is exhausted , and with it, the allure of the prospect of new discoveries waiting just behind each locked gate. RTN is profusely entertaining up until you realize this point has come, but even after then, its unique and challenging formula saves it for a time, despite other issues, both glaring and minute.

RNT plays off its theme of “life’s little mysteries” remarkably well in its gameplay. As the town’s new ranger, you’re tasked in each of your years with rescuing the children lost to the woods during each winter’s storm. To deliver them safely, you’ll have to guide each to any of the waiting mothers, wherever they may be, using your limited amount of energy in carrying the odds and ends populating each level. The greatest joy had in this game also provides its greatest challenge; the discovering of new items and creatures that can both greatly hinder or assist you in your search. There’s a surprising amount of variety in the number of ways things can interact, with many even able to change into new forms entirely, given the proper combination. You’ll quickly begin filling your travel book with all manner of creatures and their respective “recipes”. Eventually, puzzles that seemed impossible in the beginning are soon found to have only been so due to your own ignorance of some combination relevant to the situation.

But here’s the rub, and it’s one that eventually hinders all games of this sort. After a while, it’s very noticeable which pieces the game favors, and which ones have yet to appear more than once, if even that. There’s a handful of items and creatures that are exceptionally common, changing in relation to your years. In my playthroughs, those handfuls have been identical. The aforementioned variety in items and enemies becomes less so when the same few common assets are used ad nauseam, which is a shame, given the inventiveness of some of the lesser used pieces.

In between winters, your time is spent in the town you call home. Here, you can take your hard earned coins, rice, berries, etc, and trade them for townsfolk’s friendship, a la the story of Rainbow Fish. In return, you may receive helpful recipes for your book, or even better, equip-able trinkets. Early earned trinkets’ perks are useful in smaller capacities, but the greater are earned through repeat visits. They, along with the tradeables found in the forest, make up the other half of the Roguelike formula, namely the part that you lose upon death. Make too many mistakes, resulting in zero energy or too few children saved, and all of these are lost. Given the time investment needed to get the better ones, I’ll admit to believing this a bit harsh, especially since death can often be the result of truly unfair elements brought on by the roguelike system, like unavoidable loss of children to enemies or rare, impassible gates due to poor default placement of pieces.

A point of contention for me lies here as well, particularly in the store page’s embellishment of a winding, twisting narrative, unique to each journey. The only narrative comes in the townsfolk, who remain constant, personalities and dialogue alike. Even their preferences in tradeables remains identical between playthoughs. The only change is that of color scheme, and which one is most willing to marry you, which becomes readily apparent early on. Despite store page promises of offering the opportunity to lead a unique life each playthrough, the character with obvious affection for you will always yield trinkets and info for fewer tradeables. There’s no reason to invest in anyone else.

Regardless of my issues with it (mostly with the not-so-random level randomization), RNT is tremendous fun, and it’s a unique challenge that I’m going to continue playing, if only to try and earn the remaining pages to my travel book. In retrospect, my biggest issues could easily be rectified with a few randomization patches, or better yet, a future DLC expansion. As it is, the journey slowly loses its luster more than several hours in, but it never loses its shine altogether. The combination of some amusingly humorous travel book entries, a charming art design and some legitimately unsettling sound work help to mask the budding feeling of familiarity on repeat journeys. I think what’s most disappointing is that despite the game’s want to emulate the unpredictability of life, it has instead exemplified how easily it can fall into routine and predictability. While the initial few hours and playthrough are wholly the most entertaining, a lackluster attempt at differentiating narrative and the occasional sense of déjà vu on later playthroughs only slightly diminish an otherwise fantastic puzzle-rogue.
Posted: August 6
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44 of 63 people (70%) found this review helpful
1.5 hrs on record
What a great little game. It's a top-down puzzle game where you have to reunite lost children with their families and create useful tools by "combining" objects in the area. Music is especially nice; it's a series of New Orleans dirges.

Pretty challenging; highly recommended.
Posted: August 5
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26 of 32 people (81%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
Road Not Taken is great. It is a really well done puzzle-roguelike with a FANTASTIC core mechanic. It is one of those games that absolutely nails the concept of easy to learn, difficult to master. It also has a bleak yet hopeful atmosphere coursing through the entire thing, which I found very charming.

Winter is slowly overtaking a small village. You play as a forest ranger tasked with recovering children lost in the woods. The core mechanic involves combining objects in the forest together to make new ones by picking them up and throwing them. You can also cary objects, but doing so depletes your ever dwindling energy reserves.

There is a staggering number of items and combinations, and it's a LOT of fun to expirament with all the different objects. Some combinations are beneficial, replentishing your energy, allowing you to manipulate the forest easier, and save the kids easier, but others are dangerous, and you should take care not to clumsly throw things around, creating hazardous items accidentally. However, many of the dangerous items can also be turned into bigger benefits if combined correctly. It strikes a really great ballance between risk and reward.

Being a roguelike, it has a LOT of replay value, especially since you can forge relationships with a few of the towns folk. If they like you, they will tell you tips, secrets, and even give you items and accessories to make your job easier, or harder if that's what you're in to! You have the ability to replay the previous year if you really screw things up, but I have also tried starting over from year 1 to leverage all the new combinations I have learned.
Posted: August 5
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26 of 33 people (79%) found this review helpful
11.2 hrs on record
Love the game. The artwork is great. I love the soundtrack, and the story makes me want to know more.
The game is a rogue-like puzzle-game. You are a ranger who's job is to save the kids who are lost in the woods. While not in a level you can socialize with the npcs in the town by giving them gift. You will get items and secrets this way. You can also have a wife/husband. Personally i got attached to one of the npcs quite fast.
If you love puzzlegames that can be played through multiple times (random level generation) you got to play this game. The money you spent on this game will be worth it.
Posted: August 9
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25 of 34 people (74%) found this review helpful
7.9 hrs on record
Road Not Taken is described as a Roguelike Puzzle game, in which you throw and move objects around with your magic staff to rescue children trapped in the Forest. Some puzzles are hand-crafted, but the majority are procedurally generated.

The Good: The Art and Music are great! Wonderful Art Style and the music is a nice addition to the levels.

The Bad: Procedural generation is a double-edged sword. Yes, you're going to get rooms in which things are laid out in an easily-solvable manner, but you're also going to get rooms that are basically broken (or quickly made so by a bad move). For example, Bear Statues "stick" to nearby objects, so if you get an object in a corner behind a Bear Statue, you are pretty much out of luck. Good luck corraling six Deer or other animals (which move around on their own) to unlock a door. A single novice move can render entire areas of the map inaccessible.

The Ugly: The difficulty curve is brutal, and saps fun out of the game. Year 4 (of 15) seemed to be my Year of Death for a while, but with practice I've made it all the way to Year 8. Of course, Roguelikes have death, but after you die you should have some incentive to want to play again. In RNT, Death only occurs after several frustrating rounds of losing life/energy, and then when you are at your weakest, the Doom Spirits hunt you down and kill you. Where is the fun in that!?

The Save/Checkpoint system actively discourages you from using it - what is up with that?

I know people will argue that the game is about hard choices and you aren't intended to save every single child in each individual year - but that makes me wonder about the narcissistic sociopaths who lack empathy for children freezing to death in the Forest.

In summary, my chief complaint is that the game is more frustrating than fun. There’s potential here, but in Road Not Taken’s current state, I cannot recommend it.
Posted: August 16
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A developer has responded on Dec 31, 1969 @ 4:00pm
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13 of 15 people (87%) found this review helpful
16.8 hrs on record
When I first saw this game I wasn't sure what to think, but I gave it a go, and I'm glad I did.
It's definitely worth the price. Even if you're not normally in to puzzle games (I'm not) it's still very fun. Though there is a puzzle element (okay, more than just an element) it's mostly a logic thing. There have only been a few "puzzles" that I've seen that have any distinct way of beating, and for the most part, it's just matching/moving things around so you can get to the children to rescue them, in whatever way ends up being the most efficient for you.

The good:
-Procedurally generated levels mean there's a lot of replay ability.
-You can make friends with the villagers and they'll give you gifts, and you can even get married! :3
-Challenging, in a good way. If you think and plan enough you should be able to overcome any challenges it throws at you.. and it will throw a lot at you.
-Adorable graphics (as I have come to expect from Spry Fox)
-The music and sound effects are perfect.

The bad:
-Eventually, constant failing gets aggrivating... though that could just be me.
-As far as I can tell, when the villagers get sick there's no way to make them better... I've pumped them full of medicine for DAYS and they stay sick... not really sure what to do about that.
-If you die, you lose your stuff, which isn't a problem (I'm aware that that's what Rogue-likes are like) except that there isn't really much of a way to get them back. You can become friends with the villagers, and they MIGHT give you an item.. but there's no way to really guarantee that you'll ever be able to get back the items you've lost (EG the "Fork of eating alone")

This game is amazing, the flaws aren't really flaws.. I mean, if you never fail then you never have to worry about losing your gear, or the heartbreak of losing (though you may have heartbreak of a different kind if the villager you want decides to leave you, and start dating a man...), it's more than worth the money that you pay for it, on sale or not.
I'm not normally into puzzle games, and I can't really get enough of this one :)
Posted: August 6
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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
10.3 hrs on record
What can you say about this game? Well, it's georgeous and a new take on the whole puzzle-genre. Imagine a mix between Spelunky or The Binding of Isaac, a new take on chess and Braid. Hard to imagine I guess, so try it for yourself. It will blow your mind. I would say this is THE best puzzle game I've played this year, it might even be one of the best games released this year, all-categories. A strong recommendation. And you might notice that this is one of my few reviews, which means this has a special place in my heart. 10/10, simply amazing art-style, magical music and sound, great gameplay, simple but touching story and a whole new idea for how a puzzle game should be like. Again, 10/10.
Posted: August 10
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10 of 11 people (91%) found this review helpful
6.7 hrs on record
+ Beautiful graphics
+ Requires your brain
+ Unique mix of puzzling and roguelike games

- A bit too hard for the casual gamers out there
- Failing often makes the game become boring too soon, it's very unforgiving

[Rating: 76/100]
Posted: August 26
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9 of 11 people (82%) found this review helpful
10.4 hrs on record
Beautiful looking and sounding game with a strong underlying theme and almost flawless puzzle mechanics. It lacks content though: for a roguelike Road Not Taken burns out a bit too fast. Definitely looking forward for the updates (I hope there will be some, since rules of the game are pretty easy to expand).

Full review in Russian: http://www.igromania.ru/articles/234004/Road_Not_Taken.htm
Posted: August 6
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10 of 13 people (77%) found this review helpful
34.8 hrs on record
A simple puzzle game which gets complicated quick. Simple designe and cute, with a variety of options. But yeah, real cute, and a good way to kill time without getting to stressed out over head shots and kill scores. You even get the option to cop out and leave up to half the kids for dead! Go you!
Posted: August 10
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6 of 6 people (100%) found this review helpful
7.3 hrs on record
This is just a first impression review of the game and it is most definitely fun and entertaining, to the point where I am writing my first review ever! A great puzzle game with art that is enjoyable and entertaining to play around with.
Just a side note: I'm not sure about the "rogue-like" tag. I am still on my first play several hours in and have yet to die (as a huge fan of rogue-like games this doesnt tend to happen) In no way do I mean that with any sort of negative connotation, just pointing out that its not typical of rogue-likes, but so far so good :)

More to come!
Posted: August 6
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10 of 14 people (71%) found this review helpful
45.0 hrs on record
Astranon's Rating of Road Not Taken:
Gameplay (Is it fun?): 4/4
Visuals (Does it look good?): 4/4
Originality (Is it one of a kind?): 4/4
Playability (Is it free of errors and other issues?): 4/4
Overall Rating: 100% out of 100%

Astranon's Review of Road Not Taken:
I'll be honest. I don't even normally play puzzle games. But Road Not Taken had me from the start! The first thing you should know about this game is that the artwork is beautiful and the music charming. You won't find any pixelated graphics or annoying tunes here. The characters and environment are so well illustrated that it left me feeling as though I had exited reality and stepped into a pop-up book. In this game, you play the role of a cloaked ranger who has arrived in a town full of townsfolk with distinct personalities. Why the ranger has come to this particular town is as much an enigma as the staff of blue flame he/she carries. The artfully animated cut scenes intcluded in the game add to this sense of mystery.

How does the gameplay in Road Not Taken differ from other puzzle games? It presents the player with choices. It is up to you to decide which townsfolk to socialize with and befriend. Give one of them a gift (in the form of a coin, rice, berry, bunny, or medicine) that you earn from successfully completing a level and that person may tell you a secret to record in your book, give you a useful charm to equip, or boost your energy for the next level. Go about this the wrong way, and there's a chance the character may even scorn your gift. Choosing which charms to equip before entering a level impacts gameplay drastically. The effects of a particular charm can make all the difference in surviving a level.

Playing a level involves entering the snowy wilderness in order to rescue children who have gone missing. Your success depends on whether you can reunite at least half of the children with their parents or the mayor before your energy (measured in points) is drained. Energy is depleted in various ways, such as when your character carries things or is attacked. To progress through the level, the player will have to match the things required to open a door, whether they be inanimate objects or creatures. At times, there may even be other characters wandering through the wilderness who do not appear within the town. Will you rescue all of the children before completing a level? The decision is yours to make.

With its haunting storyline, Road Not Taken stands out because of its high quality and challenging but enjoyable gameplay. I recommend this game.
Posted: August 7
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7 of 9 people (78%) found this review helpful
3.4 hrs on record
I literally cannot recommend this game enough. In my opinion so far this year this deserves the Game Of The Year award. It has an incredibly simplistic and yet compelling story, interesting relationship mechanics with others living in the game, (Talking to a character and sharing items makes them like you, ignoring them makes them dislike you etc.), terrific puzzle gameplay mechanics. The best way i can describe this game is almost Animal Crossing meets Binding Of Isaac. This is the single best roguelike ive ever played and it keeps me wanting more. I really want to see where my relationships with other can go and how rescuing children or not alters my status in the community. Overall this game is incredibly smart, with a bit of difficulty curve and a gorgeous graphics style. I don't throw this around often but I think this game is worthy of a 10/10 rating!
Posted: August 6
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13 of 21 people (62%) found this review helpful
7.5 hrs on record
I watched a video of this game online and it looked pretty cool. However, nothing could prepare me for the degree of unilateral cruelty of the random level generator, nor how immediately repetative the game becomes.

It initially reminded me of long lost point and click adventure games when I first viewed the trailer videos. However, it quickly becomes apparent that with no clear direction or reliable strategy involved, it simply becomes a matter of randomly flinging groups of items together until you get a favorable reaction. These are then noted in an in-game journal, and you spend the rest of the game desperately flipping through its pages looking for some sort of advantage to be culled from the horrific assortment of hazzards and obstacles that work to make your gaming experience both futile and frustrating.

NOT ONLY are some levels seemingly impossible to pass, but "saving your progress at shrines" only means you respawn at the beginning of the current level... with NONE of your items or relationships SAVED!! Rogue-like indeed!

The designers do win points for a creative new type of game, great art, music and cut scenes.
Posted: August 14
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