Why You Should Play Sproggiwood

Sproggiwood

There are a lot of games out there that need to be played, and too many of those games are hidden away beneath the tide of AAA tripe that we were burdened with last year. Whether it be undelivered promises, bugs, glitches, pain-in-the-backside DRM, or micro-transactions, 2014 was a bit of a letdown to many. One of the many games which might have slipped under peoples radar is Sproggiwood.

Sproggiwood is a charming little title from indie developer Freehold Games and is essentially a Rogue-like inspired by Finnish mythology, and covered in an adorably huggable aesthetic that is kind of cardboard-y, kind of cushion-y and undeniably cute. Don’t let those cutesy visuals fool you though, beneath their soft exterior is a challenging game worthy of its genres lineage. You go from level to level as a Cloghead (basically a human with a strangely oblongular cranial structure) of your chosen class (of which there are 6) collecting loot, gaining experience, learning new skills and eventually slaying a boss after a couple of floors. If you survive the trials set before you, you are awarded with money, loot, another dungeon and a small story segment to keep things going. Whilst death is not permanent, you do have to restart the dungeon from scratch, and whilst in the early missions you are not likely to die too much, the game does ramp up and forces you to use your noggin if you want to survive.

Unlike most Rogue-likes, Sproggiwood actually has a plot, and whilst pretty simplistic, it is fairly amusing and is interesting filler in-between your dungeon delving. Unfortunately, the game is pretty linear, with each dungeon being laid before you in on a singular path, with no side quests to speak of. You can go back into old dungeons with new classes to gain more gold and stars, and eventually complete the dungeon 100%, and whilst this is a challenge, it does eventually boil down to backtracking.

Between dungeons you do have a few things to do should you wish too. You have control over a small hamlet, that grows with time and is essentially a large shop/storage area. Here you can buy weapons, armour, consumables and accessories in addition to town upgrades. These range from increasing every heroes health, to making the store cheaper to adding additional loot to dungeons. It gives you a reason to spend your hard earned gold, and to replay dungeons a few times to maximise your profits. You can even customise the look of your village by adding decorations, moving buildings etc. which is a nice little touch that helps break up the dungeoneering just enough to keep the game feeling fresh.

Sproggiwood is by no means a perfect game, and as a Rogue-like, it is not the most difficult of experiences. But it makes up for it with charm, humour and all-round solid gameplay. You can complete Sproggiwood in about 10-15 hours, and it is pretty much the perfect introduction to the genre, and a light hearted distraction for veterans.

Jagged Alliance: Flashback Alpha Stage Starts, Early Access Coming Soon

Jagged

One of my favorite games as a kid was Jagged Alliance (well, all the titles in the series) and I always hoped that somebody will bring back some “back to the basics” game that will make the series proud, unlike the games launched recently that had little to do with the Jagged Alliance concept and gameplay.

Full Control took on this goal and apparently I was not the only one waiting for a real new game in the series: Jagged Alliance Flashback managed to raise over $350,000 on Kickstarter and is now getting closer and closer to becoming reality. It’s so close actually that it just entered the Alpha Stage, and those who Kickstarted it can already play it (if they went for the right tier, of course).

The even better news is that Jagged Alliance: Flashback will also be launched as an Early Access title on Steam sometime during the second quarter of 2014, with the full launch being expected sometime by the end of the year. I am extremely excited about this, just like Thomas Lund, CEO of Full Control, who said:

“We are happy to announce that Jagged Alliance: Flashback is finally in Alpha, with Steam Early Access close on its heels. Fans of the franchise will be excited about the return of the beloved turn-based action of the original game, and we can’t wait to get feedback from our Kickstarter backers and the rest of the community when Early Access on Steam begins. So go ahead, talk to us! We want to make this game as great possible for the fans of the franchise, which is also why we have chosen to focus heavily on the modability of the game.”

The developers also launched a dev diary to celebrate the alpha stage of the game and we can see a bit of the editor at work:

So don’t forget, in case you didn’t kickstart Jagged Alliance: Flashback: Early Access is starting on Steam in the second quarter of 2014, and the full game is out by the end of the year.