Vertical Drop Heroes HD Is Roguelike Comfort Food
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Roguelikes always find you journeying downward. Spelunky takes you down into a cave, The Binding of Isaac takes you down into a basement, and even the upcoming Darkest Dungeon takes you down into, you guessed it, a dungeon. The alluring call of "What lies below?" hasn't escaped one-man-developer Nerdook Productions either. Nerdook's game, Vertical Drop Heroes HD, is a remake of a previous release of the same name, which you can check out over at Kongregate. And this new version, just like the original, always finds you falling.
The game itself is easy enough to understand. Your hero journeys from the top of a stage down to the bottom, along the way battling enemies, collecting coins, and leveling up. At the bottom there is the predictable boss battle waiting for you, and you move to the next area and start all over again. Repeat until death. In between deaths, you are presented with new heroes to choose from, each with his or her own randomized set of weapons, skills, and abilities.
After spending some time with the game, I find Vertical Drop Heroes HD to be very comforting. You quickly fall into a predictable pattern of unlocking new abilities, rolling up new heroes to test those abilities, and then unlocking more new abilities during those test runs. Levels are short and progression comes quickly, so you're always nudged to try another hero and test out another ability. It's a rhythmic pattern.
Wizards, knights, and other companions can be recruited to aid you on your journey, and there are periodic townsfolk who need your help completing quests--usually in the form of collecting items. You can also spend gold to upgrade all future heroes' maximum health and damage. Between the companions and the upgrades, this game has, so far, felt pretty easy. Again, the idea here is comfort. I was able to enjoy Vertical Drop Heroes HD without the constant feeling you get when you're anxious about every potential trap, or enemy, lying in wait just around the corner.
Not that those games aren't enjoyable, it's just that Vertical Drop Heroes HD felt different is all. For those looking to get their hands on the game, know that it recently made it through the Greenlight process on Steam, but if you just can't wait, you can also pick it up right now over at Good Old Games. After that, kick back, relax, and dive deep into the mysteries that lie below.