roli [7drl]

7drl #4

Participating in game jams is difficult as the clock is always ticking, and the game is never quite done. For some jams, there are additional constraints: The Global Game Jam has a world-wide theme and diversifiers, Molyjam required a basis in @petermolydeux's tweets, and the 7DRL Challenge has a roguelike genre constraint.

Roli is a good game jam game, being playable with a limited scope, but it didn't quite hit enough roguelike points to feel like a member of the genre.

Roli's first three levels.

From the developer's posting on, they used permadeath and hoped that the block patterns would substitute for level randomization. Permadeath is a staple of many arcade games, and for me it derives meaning in a roguelike when the other roguelike components, including level randomization, are strong.

Level generation in Rogue and other classic roguelikes create the stage for tactical combat. It matters whether or not a pillar, doorway, or dead end exists because they enable players to pillar dance and heal, contain multiple creatures, or become trapped. For infinite runners such as Canabalt, level generation place increasing demands on the player's timing as the new content is scrolled into the playable area based on the current player state.

In Roli, the blocks change while the player is on the cube's side apparently at random, and this randomness made the blocks feel more like random enemy attacks (with the start-up highlighted by the flashing red) than a generated level in which the player performs other actions. Subsequent levels didn't seem to vary the generation; instead, they increase the speed of block changes. Together, these issues combined with realtime gameplay and collectibles situate Roli as a arcade game.

Roli (Unity3D webplayer) was developed by Pamela Vargas and David Blosser.