Rogue-likes, Rogue-Lites, and Rogue, well, anything else have become somewhat of a growing trend over the last few years. Ever since the likes of Spelunky and The Binding of Isaac, games have been coming out promising dungeon-crawling rogue elements and Ziggurat does fall under that umbrella. The difference here though is that its mechanics are pretty great and this means it never has to get overly complicated to actually work well.
Developed by Milkstone Studios and out now for Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC, Ziggurat is a First Person Shooter in a fantasy setting where you don’t only have guns but wands, crossbows, magical spells, and more. The aim of the game is to get through all five floors and escape the ziggurat. While it would be simple enough to give you that challenge and up the difficulty, there are plenty of variables to enhance the enjoyment the more you play it.
First off, you start the game with just one character, or wizard would be the correct term. He’s essentially a jack of all trades with no discernible special skills. As you progress and likely fail over and over again, you’ll unlock other characters that will have different stats and abilities. One may have a small health pool but is faster or better with one type of weapon. It all feels different enough to warrant multiple playthroughs with different characters.
Each character has four weapon slots and everybody starts with a standard weapon and each new floor grants you with a new weapon. However, this doesn’t mean that by floor four that you have a decked out suite of weapons at your disposal. Each weapon falls into one of four types depending on what it does, all with its elemental magical variants. Some of the fun is simply playing through the game over and over again, becoming acclimated to your favourite weapons and utilising on them when they actually show up.
As you’re a wizard (Harry!), you will face the gamut of expected dark fantasy tropes like necromancers, witches, sword-wielding skeletons, and killer carrots. Wait. So it isn’t just standard tropes as you will also face acid-spewing plants, slimes, and more unusual but definitely fun enemies that all require different techniques in order for them to be defeated. The main game itself is brief should you complete it but the smooth gameplay within is brilliant. Everything moves and shoots with fluidity and grace making it incredibly ease to convince yourself to do just one more run. You will fail consistently and even when you finally take out the last boss, you can up the difficulty or change characters or even play the endless mode to see just how far you can make it. The last option is especially fun due to the satisfying gunplay, or spell-casting play would be a better way to put it.
Each run features procedurally generated levels meaning no two runs are the same. Rooms are connected by hallways and require you to find the portal stone before facing that floor’s boss. It’s a simple design that’s effective and somehow marries that pick up and play feeling with the devoted hardcore play sessions.
It may not seem like a lot on the surface but like any great dungeon crawling rogue-like, Ziggurat holds a lot of fun once you jump in including random cards that are found which change stats or even gameplay to a consumable slot that will do a myriad of things depending on what you pick up.
Like the name may suggest, you could get totally lost in Ziggurat’s layers. 4/5.
Ziggurat at CeX
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