7 Day Roguelike 2018

I participated in 7DRL Challenge 2018.

My roguelike is available on itch.io and on Github.

7drlDeathCallLogo

Deathcall got 38th place out of 113 submissions. I am proud of this result. I knew I would be competing with people who had existing roguelike engines and who could work on it full time all week (I worked on it after my full-time software engineer job each day), so I wasn’t expecting to get in the top tier.

I am satisfied with how I did as well as what the judges said about Deathcall. Their feedback was reasonable and they pointed out positives as well. I am especially proud of all judges saying they found no bugs; this might be the first thing I’ve created of this scale which is basically bug-free (not counting my professional projects).

Here is the feedback (sorry for the atrocious formatting; wordpress isn’t cooperating; see the competition entry here):

Criteria Rank Score* Raw ScoreCriteria Rank Score* Raw ScoreCompleteness #1 4.000 4.000Roguelikeness #1 4.000 4.000Scope #18 3.000 3.000Fun #21 3.000 3.000Overall #38 3.167 3.167Aesthethics #47 3.000 3.000Innovation #89 2.000 2.000

Ranked from 3 ratings. Score is adjusted from raw score by the median number of ratings per game in the jam.
Judge feedback
Get to the end of 10 levels. I beat it on my first try. My best score is 1398 turns.
Completeness 4No bugs found.Has a win condition or optional endless mode.Difficulty of each level boils down to whether you find the caller quickly or not.
Aesthetics 3ASCII is OK.Numpad controls are OK. Arrow keys can be used without too much disadvantage.The map scrolls when you get near the edge.
Fun 3Easy, although I did have some close calls.The biggest danger is carelessness, since the enemies are sparse until you approach the caller and some enemies can attack from offscreen.Some choices about what to train and which abilities to keep.Sight range is much larger than the screen size, so playing to win involves looking way offscreen (very slow).Targeting enemies in the huge sight range takes a long time.
Innovation 2You have stamina (I never ran out).
Scope 3A few enemies/abilities.
Roguelikeness 4Turn/grid basedASCIIRandomnessPermafailureA little tactics/strategyRPG statsRecharging abilities
Death Call is a roguelike about killing summoners. Each floor has one “caller”, which can bring forth unlimited numbers of henchmen.
The balance seems a little bumpy here. A late game spell takes away about half your health. Wizards can hit you from like 20 tiles away and vice versa. Clearing out enemies then becomes really straightforward if you’re willing to cast lightning on them one by one and wait in between for your cooldown. I personally did not have the patience (but did see the end after stumbling upon a debug command which grants 10,000 HP). Monster pathfinding could use some work, as enemies can’t seem to navigate around corners (or each other).
One glaring issue is that Escape both toggles targeting modes and otherwise closes the game. I lost count of the number of times I accidentally exited, totally wiping out all progress without warning.
Having said all that, Death Call is a fully functional, if basic roguelike that has its moments. It really shines when you get swarmed by monsters, have to make a mad dash to the stairs, and are forced to utilize all your abilities. The ASCII looks good in this game. There are sounds, though the sound choices are a bit odd. There’s 10 levels, but also an infinite mode. You can even train your stats.
Great work for 40 hours! Seems like you had a really great 7DRL run this year. I played this game in WINE on macOS and it ran great.
Completeness: 4. no bugs that I could find and the UI all makes sense and works. I once spawned in a cell with walls on every side, even diagonals, but I had Phase Door so I was able to escape.
Aesthetics: 3. not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen but solid and easy to understand.
Fun: 3. It just felt a little too simplistic for me compared to other 7DRLs. There’s definitely enough here to have replay value, but I save my 4s for the ones I really love, and this one didn’t quite make the cut. Maybe some variety in the environments, or stranger enemies and abilities, would have bumped this up to a 4 for me.
Innovation: 2. This game is a solid recombination of standard roguelike game mechanics. That doesn’t mean it’s not a good game, this just isn’t your strongest category.
Scope: 3, pretty much what you’d expect from a 7DRL. Enough abilities and stats to make it interesting, not above and beyond.
Roguelikeness: 4. Definitely a roguelike!

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