Kryftolike is a minimalist dungeon crawler roguelike game.

You control a tiny adventurer, roving through an infinite maze, collecting treasure. Points are awarded for gathering treasure and for exploring new tiles of the map. Monsters haunt the place, and will chase you once they become aware of you – you can’t fight back, only try to slip them off – either by hiding, or by using a teleport-spell that requires you to sacrifice a complete set (e.g. one of each kind) of available treasure – since these are hard to regain, only a limited number of such escapes per game is possible. Since monsters inform each other about your current location, meeting a monster without having a teleport ready can quickly proof fatal – a compass shows you the next treasure and the next enemy, helping you to maneuver through the mazes, turning the whole thing essentially into a rudimentary stealth-game.

After playing a few minutes, I was invested enough to feel a sense of danger when stumbling over monsters in the maze, and even got eaten a few times trying to save my teleport for later – many much more „elaborate“ games don’t archive this level of engagement for me. While this is surely proof to the – not exotic – idea that a good game concept doesn’t need to be overly complex, I’m also quite sure that it is a result of intense polishing and prolonged improvement through the developer: Many aspects of the game design seem to be well thought about and tuned nigh perfection – the „AI“ is intelligent enough to be a threat, but dumb enough to not spoil the fun, the level generation is great, and produces mazes, dungeons and forests with a unique feeling to them.

Art and sound design are in the first place functional, but also charming, coherent, and atmospheric. Nothing to fancy at any point, but fitting for the whole games minimal and down-to-earth approach. And still, many little details can be found at various places: Changing sprites of your adventurer, various different regions with variations in their designs, various achievements (which objectives aren’t visible before unlocking them – so one can’t really go for them), and a ingame commentary that oscillates between helpful hints, snappy remarks, and meta-jokes and information.

Kryftolike is a game as pure and clear as water, but makes a lot out of its simple concept: Even though violence and fighting are nearly non-present, the game is highly thrilling. While the landscape mainly consists of auto-generated dungeons from a rather limited set of possible elements, it evokes some real sense of exploration and adventure. And even though you just play for a highscore the game is so well made that you might end up playing it again and again.

Kryftolike is based on the Castle Gameengine, and released under the GPL3 license, making it FLOSS. Runs fine using OpenSuse Leap. The developer, Eugene Loza, created various other games, some of them tagged as „not safe for work“.

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