paranormal research and investigation of source materiel

Fight waves of enemies as you make your grand, or short-lived, escape using dice in this casual roguelike. Upgrade yourself with science-fiction-inspired weapons and gadgets scattered among your enemy's remains as you unravel your mysterious origin and blast your way to freedom.

I Made a Game!

"What is this game?" I get asked often.

It's a roguelike where the player uses slotted upgrades to attack waves of enemies. Game mechanics include cards and dice to display information and support random elements. For simple mechanics, there's a lot of variety here.

I love card games. I grew up on games like Pokemon, Yugioh, and Magic the Gathering. A single card can hold so much information. When you combine them with other cards, the possibilities are endless. And then I combined them with dice.

When designing the game, I wanted to create something a little different. Health, resources, and effects are key information that most cards have, and it's difficult to detract from that design. It works well, so I didn't try to reinvent the wheel. I...reshaped the wheel.

Instead of a solid number, enemy health is represented by varying die face values. The damage they deal is determined by those number of dice instead of a static attack value. So if an enemy has 3 dice—two with face values and one with an effect—they'll deal 3 damage to the player. It's equivalent to two arms with varying strengths that you whittle away at, and as long as they have an arm (or their source of power--effect), they'll strike back. Oh. Okay. Cool!

Does that work for the player, too? In a way, yes. Instead of dice representing health and attack, the player has upgrades. Each upgrade has an armor value (health), so it can be destroyed if the player takes too much damage. As long as you have the upgrade, you can fight back (with the exception of utility upgrades that don't deal damage). Once all the items have been knocked off the player, they take damage to their Core--the energy that keeps them moving. Pretty solid and straightforward stuff.

What makes the game unique? There are a few interesting features. First, the player's Core represents more than their health. It's also a resource. Many of the more powerful weapons require energy, so the player has to decide when to use them and when to holster them. The limitation adds challenge and makes combinations of upgrades more fun. Second, activated Upgrades roll dice to represent their output. Nothing operates at maximum efficiency (oh, a new modifier maybe?). Fired bullets don't always hit and their damage isn't always direct. The number of dice and their die values represent the variation well. That enemy needs two more shots, but the player missed, or their shot grazed the enemy, or they hit the enemy in the sweet spot for critical damage (that modifier is in the game). Third, I can't go over all the unique mechanics and keep this section short. There's so much to unpack in the game, but it's all intuitive when you sit down to play.

Making abilities and powers is fun. Seriously fun. I often have to slow myself down because all I want to do is make unique powers. Once the framework is in place, I make the basic rule-manipulating powers, and then it's off to the races with cool ones.

A mechanic that I'm very proud of is enemy effects and when they apply. Enemy effects activate either on spawn, on turn, on attack, or on destroyed. This sequence adds variety and presents the player with interesting options. Having an ability activate on spawn means the player will have to deal with some unpleasant situations. Having some activate on turn means the player may have to prioritize that enemy before the effect goes off. Abilities that support other enemies are amazing. Enemies can heal and protect each other. The container doesn't attack (for obvious reasons), but it provides cover to another enemy. If you destroy the barrier, that cover is gone. Seems reasonable.

So, I made a game where the player is faced with simple but complex enemies while wielding weapons of similar caliber. It's not quite finished. There is an end, but I'd like to go back and tweak some of the items, enemies, and overall gameplay. The A.I. in the top left corner rambles more than I did in this section, so there's that, too. The A.I. was setup for a neat story outside of Arcade mode.

Checkout some of the gameplay gifs, the character portraits, and the card layouts. Of course, you can always check out the game, too!

Upgrades roll a number of dice between a range of values, and have durability.

Modifiers attach to Upgrades and grant them special abilities.

Enemies have hit points equal to die values and deal damage equal to number of dice and abilities.

Bosses pack a punch and can't be taken down until all enemies have been defeated.

Select a character face to visually enhance your gameplay!