Tomenet : A multiplayer roguelike game review
One Sentence Review:
Multiplayer version of ToME, a variant of Angband, one of the great roguelike games of our time.
Tomenet is a multiplayer roguelike game that originated as a variant for the multiplayer roguelike game Mangband. Both of these games are based on the original roguelike game “Rogue” and other well known classics such as Nethack, Moria, Angband, Tome, and many others that any true gamer from the 80s should know and love. The largest hurdle that was met in the creation of the multiplayer versions of these games was that the single player versions were all turn based and that wasn’t a feasible model for a multiplayer version of the game. This creates an interesting combination of difficulty and fastpaced gameplay that very few other games can rival. Another interesting part of the game is that it includes “artifacts”, items that can only be found once in the universe, so the multiplayer versions had to adjust themselves accordingly to create a fair environment for all player involved. Getting used to your character being an “@” and some of the most feared monsters in the games being “U”s, “D”s , and “P”s definitely creates a bit of a challenge for anyone not used to this sort of game. Dungeons constantly create new items and monsters to be challenged, and the evil “RNG” (Random Number Generator) is the allknowing entity that decides whether you survived at 1000ft in the dungeon or meet your ultimate demise by some ungodly U that’s far out of depth and can destroy any mid level avatar in an instant. Overall, this game is challenging and will show you all the things that new games should be based on, instead of who can throw a touchdown pass or shoot the most terrorists in a single swoop.
If you consider staying awake until the sun begins to shine through your basement window, this is the game for you. Hectic battles, insane amount of deaths, interesting chat, and an overall great community make the funfactor in this game one of the best I’ve ever played. I give this a 10 out of 10 as far as how much fun it is to conquer that dungeon level after 8 hours of staying awake on caffeine pills and Mountain Dew.
This game is one of the most difficult I’ve ever played considering the fact that it’s a turn based game turned realtime, with no real changes to the benefit of the player. The dungeon scales considerably quickly, so expect to stay at low depths for lengthy periods of time to acquire the proper equipment and resistances required to descend further. I also give this a 10 out of 10 for difficulty considering I’ve only seen one player truly master it, after 10 years or so of refining his skills. Anyone up to the challenge of proving me wrong is more than welcome to, but it won’t happen!
This game is completely free, no charges ever, just a quick download and you’re good to go. The main site for Tomenet is http://www.tomenet.net and is maintained by C. Blue as far as I know. Kudos to him for hosting his server and keeping this game alive through the years. He should implement some sort of donation system because I definitely owe this game something for the years of fun I’ve had playing it. 10 out of 10 for value.
One thing about this game is that you will never have to “replay” it per se, rather the game will force you to start over unlimited times until you create the perfect build and get all the gear necessary, only to die to some insane pack of Greater Balrogs at 5000ft that all decide to breathe on you at the same time without mercy. Considering how tough it is to really get into this game I only give it a 6 out of 10. This game is not newb friendly and don’t try to play it unless you’re a hardcore gamer with a love for getting pissed off at your computer every few hours.
The only sound I’ve ever seen this game make is by the /page command, which creates beeps from your motherboard speaker I believe, unless they changed it so it goes through your actual sound system, but i doubt it. Only giving this a 1 out of 10 unfortunately.
Load up itunes and put on your favorite songs for this one, absolutely no music. 0 out of 10.
The only graphics that this game includes are ASCII ones like any true roguelike should have. They are definitely an acquired taste but once you get used to a | being a sword and a D being an Ancient Dragon, they really become par for the course. I rate this a 5 out of 10.
Considering the main servers are located somewhere in Europe, there is a small amount of lag on the Tomenet server. If there was a larger fanbase I’m sure US servers would pop up and I could increase the rating as far as stability goes, I rate this a 5 out of 10.
Unfortunately this is the part where I need to rant on something that needs to be changed. Basic controls are simple, but performing any action in this game is tedious and requires an extensive knowledge of the macro system, and how to create these. Once you get used to them, it is easy enough, but for a newb, this part of the game can be most daunting and create a tough experience. I rate the controls 2 out of 10.
My history with this game:
This was one of my first multiplayer games I’ve ever played, starting in 1995 with Mangband 0.5.4 and never looking back, I’ve played on and off since then and I wouldn’t be suprised if I will play this and other multiplayer variants for years to come. If there was one game that defines all the things I like in a game, Mangband/Tomenet would be it.
Overall I give Tomenet a 8/10, if they created a more newb friendly experience, this game would be one of the most popular ever!