Delver’s Drop was one of the most gorgeous games on display at PAX. That’s because Pixelscopic, during their kickstarter, knew they needed an attractive game to show off. So they focused on getting the graphics to look beautiful, which they do, and are now at the stage of fine tuning the gameplay.
Delver’s Drop is a top-down 2-D Action RPG in the style of Legend of Zelda. You play as a character tasked with dropping their way through a dungeon in a quest for freedom. Each level that you fall into is procedurally generated. When you fall, you land on a circular platform that must be opened so you can drop to the next level. The challenge on each level is figuring out how to open the platform.
Some levels will require you to kill all the monsters, others have a button that needs to be pressed. Some rooms required the player to push blocks around onto buttons, or to get to chests. Dangers lurked in each room such as spikes that would appear when approached, or pits that led to death instead of the next level. The environment was also destructible, as vases and ceramic torches could be attacked to produce item drops (mostly appearing like gems). Other features, such as iron torches, were unbreakable and were oftentimes obstacles to navigation.
The only playable class at PAX was the sword-and-shield wielding rogue, who bore a resemblance to Deku Link (further reinforcing the Zelda comparisons). Other classes are Sorcerers and Gladiators, though they were not available. The game will have perma-death for your characters, but allow subsequent characters to continue down the dungeon with all prior progress retained.
As mentioned, the graphics were impressive. Characters were bright and well-animated. Explosions left scuff-marks on the floor and walls. Lights cast shadows appropriately. At one point, three torches were casting three shadows of varying brightness around my character. The game has a brightness and visual polish that was rivaled only by Hearthstone on the show floor. Characters and monsters seemed to glide across the floors, as the graphics and physics were smooth. In a twist on an RPG staple, there were rats in some early levels that needed to be killed, but after the second hit, the rats would freeze for a moment before exploding. Players learned quickly to strike the rats and run away before they could be hit by the detonation.
The game still has some kinks to be worked out; bats didn’t quite fly right, and the rat AI was allegedly spazzing out (although rats are kind of spazzy anyway.) Overall, if Delver’s Drop plays half as good as it looks, and it played fine on the PAX floor, the game will be amazing. Delver’s Drop will be available on PC, Mac, iOS, Android, and Ouya before the end of the year.