Eldritch - Review @ Rock, Paper, Shotgun
Rock, Paper, Shotgun has a new review for the just released roguelike Eldritch.
Eldritch, very brazenly the bastard child of Minecraft and Spelunky, bides its time, initially presenting itself as easy and cartoonish and a shameless coattail-rider, before blossoming into the sort of oddball terror that Doom achieved back in the day. A simple setup, exploring a dimension that’s in equal parts Lovecraft and Minecraft – CraftCraft, then – and accessed from portals in an occult library, yields randomly-generated, peril-packed levels in the current post-roguelike fashion.
Down you go, through blocky caverns roamed by the reliably murderous likes of Innsmouthian fishmen, albino spider-things, croc-faced Weeping Angels and what appears to be Orko from He-Man, seeking to gather weapons and upgrades as you go, and ultimately to find mystical artifacts that will permanently open up access to new, harder dimensions. Such shortcuts aside, death means essentially starting over, although if you managed to stow any spare cash in the bank before your untimely death and immediate resurrection, you can at least grab that in order to more quickly purchase items from the infrequent stores.
It’s hard to get past the Minecraft thing, naturally, and there is a part of me which bristles at the apparent attention-seeking nature of it, but it doesn’t at all play the same way. There’s no building whatsoever, and destruction of blocks is mostly limited to occasional use of rare and precious explosives to create a shortcut or bypass a locked door (keys are found regularly, but you’ll often run out). Spelunky is the closer comparison to the experience you’ll have, but even then it doesn’t have the Mossmouth title’s delicate, elegant balance of twitch and strategy. Naturally, being first person (with eerily long, stick-like arms) rather than side-one makes a huge difference too, and means it becomes a game more about hiding and performing precision strikes than platforming and high-speed evasion. It’s more openly a combat game, however – monsters spawn and respawn at random and regularly, so laurels cannot ever be rested upon.