The Seven Day Roguelike Challenge (abbreviated as 7DRL) has finished up for another year. For those not aware, 7DRL is a yearly game development challenge where participants are encouraged to start and complete a roguelike game within seven days. It is driven by a passionate community and is always a treat to follow over social media.

The hallmarks of a roguelike game can include, but are not limited to
- Permadeath
- Procedural level generation
- Randomised items
- turn-based numpad movement
- ASCII graphics

It’s a niche genre of gaming, but the fans of roguelikes are some of most creative and dedicated people I’ve had the pleasure of interacting with. In 2014 I had a crack at the 7DRL, and much like other devs on their first attempt, I failed miserably. My roguelike attempt for 2014 can be played here and for those who want to get into the guts of it, you can find the source code here.

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With over 100 finished games this year was one of the biggest ever for the roguelike community. The full list can be found here. While not everyone could finish their vision, the 7DRL Challenge plants the seed in many an aspiring game developer, some of the games I enjoyed playing this year include:

FireTail

made by Darren Grey of Roguelike Radio

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In FireTail you play the last spirit of fire, battling against unending legions of ice, and ultimately against the dreaded Queen of Ice.

An excellent spin on hex-tile roguelikes, control the Spirit of Fire and leave a trail of flames behind. Powers become available to you as the game progresses, but placement of fire tiles dictates what you can use. With so many ice demons throwing snowballs at your flame tail you need to plan and execute movement combinations in order to melt their cold hearts, and prevent yours from freezing over.

Scattered Dungeon

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Assemble a dungeon from pieces while processing to the deeper levels. Descend deep into the scattered dungeon! Can you reach the sealed throne room of the demon Mitrabas in time to recover the mythic sword Rettash? Time’s against you and so are the evils of the scattered dungeon!

While most dungeon crawlers generate the dungeon for you, Scattered Dungeon charges you with that task through a limited set of movements. You need to work out the best way to move each tile so you’re standing on the largest one by the end, all while taking care to avoid traps and enemies. It’s a brain-crippling puzzle roguelike that I loved the concept of.

Booty Seekers

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You are a sky pirate captain. Defeat your enemies, get rich and hit the brothels. Will you do good deeds and be beloved? Or be a scoundrel who puts their sword through every lass in sight?

One of quite a few Unity titles this year. Booty Seekers is a great concept but seven days may not have been enough, which is more than understandable. One thing I love about the 7DRL is that even though the challenge itself is over, many devs continue on the ideas they came up with and spend more quality time and resources to create awesome games. Take on other pirates while you battle for control of the skies above the high seas.

Cloak & Tower

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The idea was to make a weird Zelda tileset that no one else would make and implement it into a dungeon crawling game. 

Gorgeous game. A mix of SNES Zelda graphics with a Binding of Isaac play style. Tough as nails dungeon crawler with a fast paced action and top notch sound. Armed to the teeth you slaughter your way through skeletons, slimes and much larger boss enemies while manoeuvring past projectiles and everything else trying to kill you.

Isometric ASCII Roguelike

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Isometric ASCII roguelike, it runs in a console window. That’s about it! Go fight some tiny cacodemons.

A lot of the more traditional roguelikes still use ASCII to this day, but instead of a single symbol representing a wall, the developer chose to draw the walls and doors with ASCII characters. I really liked the way this game looked and played.

Here Be Dragons 2

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Explore 10 levels to reach the Lost City of Dragons!

The screenshot for this game does it little justice. I love the fog-of-war looking like an old Gameboy map coupled with the cute character graphics. Traverse beautifully crafted maps while recruiting unique heroes at campsites that lend their skills to assist you. Battle beasts, birds, ghosts and ghouls across this awesome Flash title.