Welcome back. We’re covering another Roguelike today, namely Vertical Drop Heroes by Nerdook Productions and Digerati Productions and Marketing. The premise is such- choose a randomly generated hero and proceed down into a dungeon. Literally down, the maps are tall columns, with a boss fight at the very bottom. As the game itself points out, this is a story of many people who thought they were the hero of legend who would survive the dungeon, only to be proven fatally wrong. In theory, it’s also the story of the one who made it. Unless you’re a talentless fool like myself.
You jump over obstacles and fight enemies as you work your way downward. Combat is pretty simple, jump on or near enemies and your character will auto-attack. Problem being, if you didn’t kill them in one swipe, there is a period you have to wait before you can attack again and have it register. While I appreciate this making the melee combat more skilled than a button-mashing fest, it can get a little tedious for the tougher enemies, especially bosses with regenerating health. It also makes melee with more than one enemy a very dangerous affair, as you stand to lose more health than you can deal in damage to your opponents.
To deal with this, each hero gets two abilities and possibly two traits, if you’ve purchased any. The abilities start simple, a ranged attack, or cheap 1-HP clones of yourself to fight groups, but more powerful and stylish ones will become available over time. The traits are simple passive bonuses, such as increased hit points. Your hero will also start with a random weapon, each with their own trade-offs. My personal favorite so far is the bow, which cuts into your maximum health in exchange for a guaranteed number of projectiles to use on each stage.
The currency of this title is coins, which can be used to either A- Upgrade/assist your current hero, or B- Upgrade later heroes. They aren’t erased when you die, so you can store them over several attempts. It’s basically gambling as you play, betting on whether you’re going to survive this run, or at least last long enough to warrant spending so many coins on damage and health and such. The further down you go, the more expensive shrines (which bestow health and other bonuses) get, but the more abilities and traits you can purchase for later use, so make those coins count. If you’re like me, you’ll immediately spend some coins upgrading your heroes’ starting stats as much as you can afford, and you’ll definitely feel the difference as reaching the lower levels of the dungeon becomes commonplace, rather than miraculous.
Every unlock means more weapons, skills, and traits for future heroes, and it is encouraging to watch your list of randomly generated heroes improve and expand in variety (though you only get to choose from 3 at the start of of each run).
For those of you who manage to beat the game, there’s a new game + mode, in case you needed even more of a challenge. Personally, the vanilla game was plenty difficult for yours truly.
If you enjoy roguelikes, you’ll probably like this game. If you like roguelikes that actually give you a chance to build up some resources, you’re even more likely to enjoy this game. Vertical Drop Heroes HD is available on steam for $7.