Anyone who is familiar with the rogue-like genre is aware of the many games out there, some amazing, some really bad.
I, myself am quite a fan of a good rogue-like game. I feel like rogue-likes come with some of the best replayability of almost any other genre.
It’s one of those genres where the games are usually built from the ground up to be played over and over again, trying different classes, races, gear and the like.
Couple that with the usually randomized elements of the game and it can be nearly endless.
Tales of Maj-Eyal is a fantastic fantasy rogue-like that is available on PC/Steam.
Before I go any further, let me point out that it’s free!
Yep, you heard me right, totally free! You can pay for it on Steam or through their website and get extras and/or the DLC, but you can try it right now!
With that out of the way, let me talk a little about this game.
If you are familiar with rogue-likes, a few things will probably pop in your mind.
Permanent death, procedurally generated areas/dungeons, a plethora of classes/skills to use and usually, lots of loot!
As a matter of fact, this game has a down right staggering amount of choices for a rogue-like.
Many different races, tons of classes, plus a bunch I haven’t even unlocked yet, all with unique talents, spells, skills and abilities!
A unique facet of ToME is that you have the option of turning off permanent death, making the game less stressful, but disallowing you to get some achievements, of course.
In the Normal, Adventure setting, you have a certain number of “lives,” that are used when you die. Run out of lives and the next time that particular character falls in battle, that’s it!
This can give a nice cushion for newer and veteran players alike, since sometimes, you will turn a corner and a powerful monster will rear it’s ugly head and devastate you if you aren’t ready.
However, you can change the difficulty independently from this option, so you can go with a very difficult setting, but use the Explorer setting and turn off permanent death, or any combination you desire.
Going back to the races, depending on which one you choose, you have the potential to start in a different area.
There is the somewhat standard fair of various humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, but there are some unique ones, like skeletons, ghouls, and ogres.
Gameplay is where this game really shines as well. Very deep, complex, using a turn based, grid system, like a lot of games in this genre.
Also, a lot of the game has the information available right there for the player. Hover over a monster to see most of their stats. Examine them, and it will show everything you ever need to know about them.
Status effects are also displayed easily, with tool-tips everywhere for ease of access.
This is very helpful and very much needed for a game as complex as this. Having this information easily accessible like this really helps out with learning the mechanics of the game, so don’t worry about being in the dark too much.
Going back to your character, depending on your class, race, and what abilities/talents and spells you choose, you have the standard Stamina/Mana system, but also unique things like Equilibrium for the druid or “wilder” classes, even Souls as a Necromancer!
So the game definitely has resource management in that regard.
In addition, most abilities have a cool-down before they can be used again, so strategic use of your abilities and gauging your Stamina/Mana/Equilibrium, ect, sometimes all at once in battle is very important.
Especially if you want to get all of the loot!
Unlike a lot of other rogue-likes, however, you aren’t just exploring one dungeon. In the main campaign, there is actually an overworld map, with roaming bandits, guards, even adventurers, some offering quests, while others try to kill you.
There is an option for an Infinite Dungeon, but I haven’t messed around with it yet.
It also comes with an Arena, which just pits you against waves of enemies to see how long you last. Like the Infinite Dungeon, I don’t have a lot of experience with this either.
Regarding difficulty, as is the case for most rogue-likes, this one is pretty tough, even on the Normal difficulty, so expect to die, a lot!
Especially if you open a locked chest and a huge army of monsters pops out, much like a fantasy version of a clown car. Yikes.
The game also features unique and rare monsters that roam the various locales, which are usually quite strong and dangerous.
When you see a monster with a name, it usually means business.
If you die, don’t fret, you can always check your High Scores and see just how they died!
In fact, this game has a huge list of statistics, which I love. You can check out their website to see the top deadliest monsters, most used classes and races, the average life expectancy, everything!
I love when games do that, so fascinating to read information like that.
By the way, do you like Steam Achievements? How about over 1600 of them?
As of this writing, Tales of Maj’Eyal has 1638 achievements to unlock. Enough said.
If the thought of all of those achievements didn’t persuade you, how about the possibility of mods?
There are a ton of mods that alter the game, such as adding classes, changing them, adding new skills, new races, you name it.
There is even one that lets you have a little party of adventurers instead of going solo!
All in all, this game is fantastic, and a lot of love and work has been put into this game. With the base game being free if you wish and two expansions, you can probably play this game for hours and hours and barely break the surface.
If you like rogue-likes, check this game out now on Steam or go to the their official website!