Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Marsh Davies)

Vagante is Italian, if you   re wondering. Or rather, if you   re wandering. It means    wandering   , is what I   m saying. So, that   d be a hard    g    with an audible trailing    e   .

Each week Marsh Davies shuffles apprehensively into the dank catacombs of Early Access and returns with any stories he can find and/or a faceful of cycloptic bat guano. This week he quaffs an unidentified cyan potion and throws himself onto a bed of spikes, repeatedly, in procedural permadeath platformer Vagante, a particularly Roguish Spelunkalike.>

Did you play Spelunky and think, What this really needs is to be a lot darker, with several additional layers of complication and a much less parseable tileset ? Somebody out there did, and judging by the wholly positive Steam reviews, at least 68 other folk did as well.

I can t claim to be one of these strange, troglodytic creatures, but then I also must confess that it took me many concerted attempts before I finally fell beneath Spelunky s subterranean charm. Maybe it ll happen with Vagante. It hasn t quite yet – although some several dozen misadventures later, I am warming to it. It manages that rare trick, as Spelunky did, of making failure the most entertaining part. It s certainly the most plentiful. My sorties into the underworld have ended in the digestive cavities of man-eating plants, as demon-dog dinners, beneath boulders, in spike-pits and in pieces, thanks to the Bandit King s axe. But throughout, my most dangerous enemy has been myself – my incaution, my stupidity, my insatiable desire to immediately glug every pungent, bubbling concoction I find in the bottom of a barrel. If I discover a helmet made out of jelly, I m wearing it. And then, when I realise it s cursed, I m going to drink my unidentified inventory dry, set myself on fire, and teleport into a pool of piranhas.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

I know the cause of every single one of my thousands of deaths in Spelunky. I died down that snake pit because I frittered away my bombs and ropes, leaving me with no way to escape. I died to that inanimate rock because I drifted down towards it with the jetpack when it was being propelled into the air by a jump pad. I died to that blue frog because I overestimated the extent of its jump.

I died because I am not good enough at negotiating the roguelike platformer’s strict rules. Not yet.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

I’ve had a copy of ZZT by Anna Anthropy – a book about the game of the same name – kicking around for six months, but I haven’t yet had the time to read it. That prompted me to almost instantly scroll by news that the same publisher was Kickstarting a second series of books in the same vein: small, independently published, and each focused on a different game.

Then I saw that one of the books in the second series is about Spelunky. And it’s written by Derek Yu, the creator of Spelunky. And the project is already funded anyway.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Spelunky is, I think, better designed than any other roguelike, platformer, or roguelike platformer. It’s not because it’s a work of genre revivalism. It’s not the procedural generation, which jumbles level geometry upon every funny, frequent, fist-shaking demise.

It’s the bats. The bat, found in its opening world, is a dimly flapping lense through which the entire game can be better appreciated.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

How does it handle shopping, I wonder?

The original Spelunky – the free, low resolution Game Maker-made Classic version – is open source. That means it can be broadly modified, which is what Ukrainian programmer Vadim has done in Spelunky SD. The project merges features from the polished remake Spelunky HD with the lo-fi original, most notably adding two-player, online cooperative multiplayer.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Oh dear, I’m going to have to buy one of those Xbone pads now that they’re PC-friendly, aren’t I? Too often lately I’ve scowled at a game only to find that it improves immeasurably when played with a gamepad instead. Last week it was Watchunderscoredogs (still a bit dull though, innit?), this week it’s indie Metroid/Spelunky mash-up Crystal Catacombs. All ready to dismiss it, I was, as its core wall-jumping mechanic was a miserable and oft-fatal chore when hung around the space bar, but now I’m rather taken with its odd creatures and caverns and its gently punishing aRPG qualities. … [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Also it's so cute.

If you’d rather not read spoilers on whether a cool mod exists, you’d better stop reading this sentence right now because – SPOILERS – it does. If you’d rather not be spoiled as to the name of that mod, you’d probably be better off not reading the rest of this post, really. Because – SPOILERS – it’s called the Blue Frog mod. It’s for Spelunky, and it turns every character sprite in that game – the player, plants, bats, exploding frogs, the ghost, everything – into the blue frog sprite. That sounds initially dumb, but actually it’s clever and great. If you don’t want spoilers as to why, you definitely shouldn’t read on.

… [visit site to read more]

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Generate millions of levels! Every one of them horrible.

Do you want to compete against your friends at Spelunky, the randomly generated platforming roguelike? That’s what the Daily Challenge is for; each day, a single set of levels is generated which is the same for everyone and which can be played only once.

But if once isn’t enough to satisfy your competitive urges, there’s now Seedlunky HD. The user-created tool lets you set a custom seed from which to generate levels, which you can then share with your friends while you continue to compare your adventures. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Solo Aubergine Run, technically.

Some of you are going to think this isn’t news, but I want to talk about it anyway. Caster Bananasaurus Rex has completed Spelunky in a Solo Eggplant Run. Don’t know what that means? Come inside. Sit down. Let me explain. (more…)

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

You've procedurally generated... my love for you.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve played so much Spelunky that you can close your eyes and generate new levels for Derek Yu’s roguelike platformer inside your own head. Here, look, I’m doing it now – bet on what’s going to kill me…

It was a frog. Sigh.

For a more technical understanding of Spelunky’s procedural level generation, take a look at Darius Kazemi’s browser-based Spelunky level generator and associated guide. (more…)

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