Eldritch is the latest project that resulting from the collaboration between Minor Key Games and developer David Pittman. Following the recent revival of roguelike games, the two have taken it upon themselves to combine the old school genre with the even older aspects of Lovecraftian horror.
A roguelike game is one where the advent of a character death is a permanent and often an inevitability, however, in Eldritch it is difficult to gauge how much this increases the difficulty.
The player takes control of a lost adventurer in a huge library, with the voxel environment that you are dropped into giving off an eerie feeling as you go about acquiring the three souls of The Old Gods in order to escape.
In the pages of these books, the player must survive against all manner of terrible creatures. Death results in being booted back to the library, devoid of previous weapons and possessions. One such world is that of Dagon, the starter world.
The smooth controls are easy to get to grips with and reminiscent of last year’s Dishonoured, with the ability to sprint, sneak, slide and peak out of cover while tackling all key components of each randomly generated level.
Eldritch seems to take its lead from several games, including Bioshock 2, which Pittman also worked on. The player must utilise not only their wits, but also several weapons. Rocks, knives, and revolvers make up the bulk of potential weapons to slot into the two-space inventory.
Magical elements add further possible combinations to the game, with the left hand being used for spells that can be summoned using artefacts. These double as currency and spell fuel. There are several spells available; such as cloaking and the hypnotism. The tight controls and the scramble for these resources, all while searching for an exit, make the game thoroughly enjoyable.
The difficulty increases rapidly with the second world. Any unwary player will fall into the dozens of traps that litter the levels. There are weeping angel-styled enemies that any Whovian will find themselves staring at in unblinking terror while trying to navigate around.
Seasoned roguelike players will be able to pass through the game in a single playthrough, given some luck, which is quite unusual for titles in the genre. Upon escaping the library, New Game plus is unlocked and this is where the true challenge lies.
Enemies are faster and stronger and the Shoggoth, an unkillable iconic creature of Lovecraftian literature, appears more often. It could be argued that the game should have originally been this difficult, and consequently more in the style of the original roguelike fashion.
Despite the few problems Eldritch possesses, it is definitely worth a purchase if you enjoy a ruthless game that often lives up to its roguelike heritage.