Gaterooze, Ink reveals Ampersat, a labor of love from a solo developer, distilling some favorite old-school gaming experiences into a handcrafted Adventure/Roguelite hybrid that sees you killing a lot of monsters, finding a lot of loot, freeing captured letters (um, what?) and growing from a world-weary warrior mage into a powerful smashing/blasting machine.
Taking the ASCII characters of the original Rogue games, giving them a highly stylized custom font for each of 52 enemy types, and then putting them into a top-down 3D world halfway between traditional 16-bit pixels and modern voxels results in a vibrant and unique look.
A similar approach is used for sound, layering Commodore 64 SID chip-emulated sound effects over more traditional real-world instrumentation for some tense atmosphere in puzzling dungeons, dizzying towers and a jaunty village environment.
But most importantly, Ampersat also blends together several gameplay elements from the childhood gaming influences of solo developer “The Pale Gibbon”. He explains: “I was aiming for that sweet spot between Gauntlet and early Zelda games, with a dash of Angband — action-based, but with just enough depth and RPG progression for the player to enjoy a fulfilling journey.”
Later levels set in towers high above the land escalate into Smash TV-like twin-stick/bullet-hell shootouts, and the Gibbon even cites Wizball and Mega Man as tangential influences on the game.
Despite appealing to fans of Roguelites, Ampersat bucks the random-generation trend and is primarily based around 50 handcrafted levels featuring puzzles, unique bosses and plenty of secrets to discover. There is, however, an optional procedural area that graphically harkens back to the original Rogue, underneath a town hub with several shops and features to upgrade.
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