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Hack, Slash, Loot (Windows)

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MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.6
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Kalirion (626)
Written on  :  Nov 07, 2012
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars3.17 Stars

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Summary

Nearly impossible until you unlock additional classes

The Good

If you persevere and start unlocking more powerful classes (mainly by dying at first, eventually by completing the quests) and finding artifacts which carry over between playthroughs, the game does actually become fun. You stop cursing at the unfairness of it all and start noticing nice touches, like the very good (for a rogue-like) monster AI, travel using the minimap, and humorous elements throughout.

The Bad

When you first start playing this game, it is almost guaranteed that you will NOT enjoy it. Not because of missing inventory, towns, shops, or leveling. This game is about simplicity, and none of that extra stuff is required for a good roguelike.

You will not enjoy the game in the beginning for the simple reason that you will die. A lot. Without reaching the second level on most tries. And it will NOT be your lack of knowledge of the mechanics, or any mistakes that you may make. It will be because the beginning gameplay is quite enormously unbalanced.

The first 3 classes you have access to suck, plain and simple. The only way to make any progress with them is to be extremely lucky with loot. After all, loot is the only way of regaining health in this game, and when the average monster will deal you more damage than the average health potion heals, that causes a problem. As the first 3 classes start out very ill equipped and with weak stats, they can only survive through either finding TONS of healing items or striking gold with items of Swiftness (haste, lets you kite lots of enemies forever) and Regeneration (self explanatory.) And that, IMHO, is bad game balance.

Also, the online help document is not very helpful. I didn't even know the game autosaved when you exit and could be continued with the Continue button (which is pretty small and not labeled unless you hover the pointer over it!)

[Full Disclosure: this review is based on my experience with the game in April, 2012. In the changelog of one of the patches since then is "Changed starting character slightly to improve their chances." I do not know the extent of this rebalancing.]

The Bottom Line

A roguelike that's unfairly punishing in the beginning, but somewhat fun once you've sunk enough time into it to unlock decent character classes.