Roguelike: “a subgenre of role-playing video games, characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally-generated game levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player-character.” There’s never any shortage of them at any point in gaming history. Yet they tend to prefer the comfort of gamingdom’s shadows, an ever-present force that never quite makes it to the mainstream, yet is beloved by many (though Ed McMillen and Florian Himsl’s wildly popular The Binding of Isaac series enjoys quite a large degree of success). Seattle-based independent studio Harebrained Schemes aims to inject the Roguelike genre with new life in their upcoming Necropolis, whose in-game world is literally cloaked in darkness and shadows.
Necropolis’ PAX Prime trailer can be seen below:
Harebrained announced today that like most good Roguelikes, Necropolis will feature multiplayer gameplay that supports up to four players at a time.
— THE BRAZEN HEAD (@Necropolis_Game) January 21, 2016
In Necropolis, players enter the titular Necropolis either alone or with up to four players in search of treasure hidden within dungeons. Along the way, they’ll do battle with dangerous creatures and avoid deadly traps.
What separates Necropolis from other Roguelikes is that its combat emphasizes timing and reactions in 3D space. Players will be tasked with baiting enemy attacks and punishing them with the appropriate light and heavy strikes. In addition, Necropolis’ enemies boast dynamic artificial intelligences that adapt to whatever situation is currently present. For example, monsters inhabit what Harebrained calls a “living ecology of threats,” which means that certain enemies will exhibit predator/prey relationships with one another that players can use to their advantage in combat. Players will also be able to craft potions and gear that will help them navigate the Necropolis’ sinister depths.
When players die – and they will many times, Harebrained assures us – the Necropolis will change its layout thanks to the mystical power of the Brazen Head, described below:
Part butler, part taskmaster and part tormentor, the Brazen Head mocks, goads and pushes adventurers deeper and deeper into Abraxis’ domain.
This is because, unlike most tombs, the Necropolis invites adventurers in; it needs them. Those who die within its walls feed the magic that powers the shrine. It is a trap, a self-perpetuating machine feeding on souls. Dead adventurers spirits turn arcane wheels, and their corpses are repurposed as Automatons; magical marionettes that prowl the corridors searching for intruders.
As a result, a bevy of complex and flexible gameplay systems will open many doors for tackling the Necropolis’ countless dangers. Combined with a sleek, shadowy visual style, Necropolis is sure to charm fans of Roguelikes both young and old.
Necropolis will release on Steam on March 17. Pre-orders will be available on Steam starting February 2.