By popular request (well, we are at least two people willing to discuss the game!), here is a thread for Approaching Infinity, a space-themed roguelike by Bob Saunders, available for half a million doublons from Shrapnel Games.
Approaching Infinity is a game whose original goal is to create an ever-playable experience, by generating zones, enemies and weapons that follows the author’s algorithms. “Hey, that sounds like Oblivion’s infamous scaleable difficulty”, might some say, “that’s not sexy at all!”
Incidentally, the author has captured what are, to me, the sparkles of a procedurally generated Starflight. The player transports herself from space pocket to space pocket, exploring what is inside them and discovering new things along the way.
She will sojourn in space aboard a ship which she can upgrade, while it is as a party she will trek the planets and interiors of ships themselves. The mechanics are very simple : standard bump close combat, rudimentary ranged one, elementary inventory management, some basic trading, a captain and some officers for hire that gain levels and skills, simple diplomacy and quests with some storylines; the exception being a quite extensive but optional crafting system. There are a couple of persistence mechanics: unlockable ships under certain conditions (à la FTL), and money that can be saved for later runs - this money helps but doesn’t ruin the balance, thanks to the aforementioned scaling systems. Turning off permadeath is also an option, although I have never done that.
The progression is arguably always the same (which sounds strange for something procedurally generated, I know) but I have been playing the game for more than a year, and although I always stumble and fail pretty quickly, I just never get tired of the experience. It is thanks, in part, to evocative minimalist graphics by David Gervais and a really awesome soundtrack from Nathan Becker, but there is also something magical in Approaching Infinity. I know it sounds stupid trying to share somewhat of a mystical connection to a game, but this is what happens to me with this one. It is a world of space fantasy of which I have been enjoying every second spent inside. Is it because it echoes memories of older games? I cannot tell.
Anyway, I can only recommend to give the demo (Windows or Mac) a try: if you find it to your taste, I can’t advise you enough to make the jump past the irrationality of buying something priced and heavily DRMed by Shrapnel*. It might be worth it.
IBOLogy has since published on its own on Steam a weird little toy named XenoBloom, and The Curse of Yendor, a lighter but very enjoyable game, is due out soon. They don’t have the scope of Approaching Infinity, though.
######*And to add insult to injury, they think we are dumb enough to not get it is only because of greed they ask us to buy the same game multiple times for different platforms… sigh