The Obsolete Gamer Show: Richard Wood – Brut@l (Stormcloud Games)

We’re talking Brut@l, a re-imaging of the classic ASCII dungeon crawler with its roots in classic gaming but with a 3D style today’s gamers can enjoy. We let you know can expect from the game with producer, Richard wood.

More about Brut@l:

Choose your hero: Ranger, Mage, Warrior or Amazon then descend into a procedurally generated world constructed entirely from ASCII.

Your goal? Reach the 26th floor, vanquish the fearsome Guardian of the Dungeon and claim his crown.

Sound easy? It won’t be. It will be Brut@l.

Craft and enchant weapons, brew and drink strange potions, risk their effects and level up your hero based on the play style that suits you. Most of all, survive for as long as you can as you battle Trolls, Orcs, Rockmonsters, Lycanthorpes and many more in this Brut@l roguelike.

Share the adventure by exploring Brut@l’s dungeon with a friend in local co-op, lay waste to the hordes of enemies that stand between you and floor 26, and evoke the nostalgia of all night gaming sessions from years past.

Get creative with Brut@l’s Dungeon Creator, an intuitive editing tool that lets you build, play, share and even die in your very own dungeon.

Brut@l launches on PlayStation®4 in Q2 2016. PC, Mac and Linux launch date TBA.


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Usually with games from the early 80’s you can either claim that they still retain a basic charm – or you can dismiss them as utterly archaic and not worth playing nowadays. I’ll do the former.

Venture hasn’t aged as badly as you might expect though. Sure, the graphics are incredibly basic, but it’s compulsive structure is timeless.

A basic dungeon crawler at heart, the game has two main styles of play. The first is a large view of each level (see screenshot below) where you control a tiny dot.


Even on a huge television this dot is tiny – but once you figure out where it is (it’s at the bottom in the middle of the screen in the picture above) you’ll be fine.

Each level has four rooms for you to explore, which you enter using white doors. At first entering these rooms is easy, but the further you progress in the game the more aggressive the green squid-beasts that patrol the corridors become.

One touch from them and you lose a life, so when you exit rooms you have to be very careful not to immediately bump into them. There’s no way to fight back against them either.

This is contrasted by the challenges within the rooms themselves, where you can actually fight back (see top screenshot).

In these you are a much more distinguishable entity, taking the form of a smiley face with an arrow launcher (its name is Winky – no i’m not kidding).


Within each room lies a treasure which you have to grab and escape the room with.

There’s always an obstacle to avoid or defeat in each one though, and most of the time it’s a group of enemies – which can either already be in the room or appear once you grab the treasure.

Sometimes there are other traps to avoid, such as tidal waves (blue rectangles – you have to use your imagination) and disappearing walls.

There’s a basic thrill to be had not knowing what’s waiting behind each door, and the way enemies take a second to appear once you’ve entered a room only adds to the suspense.


The sound and music is also excellent, and not just for the time – it may consist of basic bleeps and blorks, but it’s genuinely charming and adds a lot to the old school atmosphere.

Although Venture isn’t a must-play by any means, it’s well worth a look if you ever get into the ColecoVision scene – it’s gameplay may be simple but it’s still a enjoyable slice of old-school action.

It even has a solid amount of content thanks to its range of difficulty settings and a serviceable two player mode.


Torchlight is An Affordable, Engaging Dungeon Crawler


Torchlight’s art style is a fresh perspective. There is virtually no gray to be seen, unlike in games such as Fallout 3 and Gears of War. Instead, the visual style is bright and almost cartoony, which adds to the charm of Torchlight. The graphics are nowhere near being equal to Uncharted 2 but they serve well to fit the game style. In fact, in the options menu there is an option to turn on netbook mode. This helps scale the look of Torchlight so that your netbook and older laptops are able to play this game. I have not seen an option like this in all of my pc gaming life. When I saw that, I had to try it on my netbook and sure enough, it worked flawlessly. As you venture forth into the dungeons, the creatures you encounter are diverse; you will be killing skeletons, rats, zombies, imps, as well as giant boss monsters.
While crawling through these dungeons you are welcomed with a beautiful score. This is no surprise because the lead on music is none other than Matt Uelman the composer for both Diablo and Diablo II. The soundtrack of Torchlight has a gentile quality about it. The music does not get in the way of the game but brings out a mystical feeling. When eerie music is playing, there are enemies nearby, building up what little suspense there is because soon you are in a fight. While fighting, the music does not get loud and obnoxious. It still plays gently in the background waiting for you to finish.

You start the game by choosing which class you want to play. The three classes you can pick from are Destroyer, Alchemist, and Vanquisher. The Destroyer is the tank that bashes his way through the enemies. The Alchemist is the mage who can cast magic or summon minions to do his bidding. Lastly, the Vanquisher has a vast array of ranged attacks and weapons that he may use, such as bows, guns, and throwing knives.


Each character has their own motives behind voyaging to the town of Torchlight. While you are there, the corruption of the emerald crystals resonates in the mines and you are asked to stop the evil from spreading, putting aside your own motives. If you want to fall off the beaten path of the story there are opportunities to do this as well. There is always something to do in Torchlight. The residents of the town will assign you side quests which are either “go kill so and so” or “go collect X object.”


Alongside your hero are two pets that can accompany you on your missions. You can pick from a mountain lion or a wolf. Your pet acts as storage space as well as aids you in battle. The most effective way to have your pet help you vanquish foes is by feeding it magic fish you can catch. These fish transform your pet into a ferocious beast. These beast transformations include spiders, goblins and other monsters. Each beast your pet transforms into has his or her own strengths and weaknesses.


Torchlight is not a flawless gem, however. There are some issues such as a lack of multiplayer. That said, I have heard that there is a massive multiplayer online version of Torchlight under development. One thing that consistently bugged me was that the storage space you have while in the dungeon is small. Nonetheless, the developers gave you a pet so that you can give it items and you can send your pet to the store to sell those items, prolonging your need to return to town.


The Final Word

Overall, Torchlight is a fun little game with lots of replay value. Despite its minor flaws, Torchlight does a lot of things right. If you are a student like myself and are waiting for class to start or if you are someone looking for a relaxing dungeon crawling game there is no need to look further than Torchlight.

The Scorecard


Maziacs: The Boardgame

maziacs - the board game

First, there was Mazogs on the Sinclair ZX81. It was a dungeon crawler and it was great. Then, there was Maziacs for the ZX Spectrum. It was a dungeon crawler and it was great. Now, there is Maziacs: The Boardgame. It is a dungeon crawler and it is great. It also is absolutely free, provided of course you have a printer and some dice, and can be played with purely analog means.

The question though is whether Maziacs: The Boardgame, a boardgame based on a rather ancient and definitely simple CRPG, is worth your time, effort and paper. Well, I’m pretty sure it is. The rules are incredibly simple, smart, fun and versatile, and the game can be played both in its standard single-player mode and cooperatively. I’m actually pretty sure it could be run with a Game Master too. As for its aesthetics, simple as they are, they remain true to the original source and evoke a certain retro feel. Definitely worth a try. Download your PDF copies here.