Jun 6, 2013
The roguelike genre has undergone a curious evolution in the modern era of gaming. Once an overly-complex genre only accessible to patient gamers, now developers have tweaked it into something that appeals to a wider audience. This is where Quadropus Rampage comes in: casual game sessions and accessibility meet challenging hack ‘n slash action and character development. And it’s a brilliant combination.
Players control a four-legged cephalopod, a quadropus that makes up for its lack of limbs with an abundance of fury, swinging various weapons around to take out the other dastardly creatures of the sea. The most dastardly of the dastardly sea creatures is Pete, god of the sea. He’s a jerk, and Grubby (first seen in Towelfight 2: The Monocle of Destiny, also from Butterscotch Shenanigans) wants him gone.
However, Pete lives deep in the sea, and so players must go deeper and deeper into the sea, one dpeth level at a time, picking up new weapons and leveling up to get strong enough to sink Pete once and for all. It’s like a hack ‘n slash Toe Jam and Earl.
Quadropus Rampage blends both a short-term roguelike with long-term benefits and growth. Players level up while playing, earning experience for killling enemies, improving their stats as they level up. New weapons can be picked up, all with different stats. Like the aforemention TJ&E, falling off the world is quite possible, but it comes at a penalty: players take damage and may find themselves taking on enemies before they’re too strong to face them.
Currency of orbs and the rarer dubloons can also be earned along the way, as this is a free-to-play title now, unlike Towelfight 2 which was paid with no IAP. Players must make choices with the orbs: they can be used on permanent stat upgrades that make the quest to take down Pete much easier in the long run, or on short-term ultra-powerful weapons that Grubby sells. The achievements are among the most useful in a game yet, as they too provide permanent upgrades, but with a choice of two different effects to have. The gameplay is pure hack ‘n slash, but there’s a lot of roguelike elements in there too: upon death, characters reset to the beginning, but the player has new experience for the next go-round, and there’s tangible long-term benefits as well as well.
The controls feature a lot of on-screen buttons: there’s attacking, a dodge move, shield and smash attack activation, and virtual buttons for swapping weapons and advancing dialogue that pops up. It’s a bit cluttered like Bastion on iOS was, and gamepad support would be quite welcome.
Quadropus Rampage succeeds for much the same reason that Towelfight 2 did: it tweaks familiar genres just enough to be its own thing, and its quirky sense of humor comes through as well. I found myself playing this one for long stretches of time while I had other things to do, and that’s quite the sign for a good game. Now, excuse me: Pete needs a good whooping.