cipher trials [7drl]

7drl #1

In a recent post, John Harris describes his current thoughts about what roguelike means, writing

A game where you can't die, but is varied enough that each game feels like its own adventure, is, in one sense, more roguelike than a boring game with permadeath, random dungeons and scrambled magic items.

Cipher Trials is an example of having roguelike elements (turns, procedural levels, random elements) that don't create a roguelike feel. Instead, it feels like a turn-based matching game that may be interesting for people interested in Greek letters.

Cipher Trials' first trial.

The trials of the title consist of gathering Greek letters, called runes, that are 100% effective or ineffective in destroying moving statues based on the randomized relationship between runes each play session. In one game, Ω may destroy µ, while in the next it may destroy ζ. Incorrect usage leads to a mistake, and five mistakes mean restarting from trial one while retaining the automatically-updated log of the rune relationships.

The resulting gameplay is relatively shallow: Determine what glyph you need to destroy and then either 1. choose it and destroy all the statues with that glyph or 2. pick a glyph you haven't used to try and successfully continue from 1 or take the mistake. Ideally, players would experiment to identify glyphs while they have mistakes available, but I didn't find a need to in my play through.

Aside from a bug preventing me from advancing past the fourth trial, the game looks complete; however, I'd be interested in seeing a version that used Greek letters more in the playfield, perhaps for the statues. As it currently stands, Cipher could be fun for some light puzzling.

Cipher Trials (Linux, OS X, Windows) was developed by CaptainKraft.