For folks just joining in, my attempt at a description of the game as it stands today.
This is a fairly simplistic survive-the-hordes rougelike with persistent upgrades and unlockables crafted with NES-esque sprite graphics and a mood that recalls early Castlevania titles. You control a character with a unique bonus that improves at major level milestones (and can unlock more characters later) and a starting weapon. As you move around the very simplistic infinite scrolling map – again, more unlockable later, plus harder versions when you beat a given map – that’s mostly randomized (with some minor “set” elements, like a hidden powerup “to the left” in one map), more and more enemies spawn from both sides and approach you. Their AI is mostly pretty simple: walk toward player, so you can kite the hordes fairly easily, though some are more sophisticated, like swift-moving trackers and sudden burst-hordes that can push other enemies into you.
As you kill foes, they drop XP gems that lay where they died and swirl onto your character if you step close enough. Collect enough and earn a level-up, which presents a Hades-esque randomized pool of weapons and passives to choose from. Each has multiple levels it can ascend to, accruing bonuses as it goes, and like Hades, you eventually construct a “pool” of items available to you out of the games overall full collection through the choices you make (can’t get every item to max level in a single run, basically). Every so often, a mid-boss appears; killing these high-HP units drops a chest that auto-upgrades one or more of your existing items and dumps a pile of gold on you (gold drops are otherwise mostly pretty stingy – semi-common 1 gold coins and rarer bags of 5 or 10). Occasionally, you’ll stumble across bonus single-use items, like a magnet that drags all nearby XP gems straight to you or a plate of food that heals you a bit. Touching a foe bleeds off some of your limited HP, but mercifully, the mobs aren’t very sturdy to start with.
As the timer progresses, the variety of enemies increase in health and sometimes abilities/habits, slowly rotating through a classic horror movie cast of zombies, ghosts, medusas, swamp men, etc.
The weapons all have different effects – straight firing knives vs. random-spawning enemy-piercing arrows vs. high-arcing axes with AOE – and the passives do things like increase projectiles fired (from ALL projectile-based weapons you have), increase movement speed, give you extra HP, etc. From a control standpoint, however, things are very simple – you only move, collecting gimgaws and googabs as they drop out of monsters and random pieces of the environment you wreck.
At the end of each run – whether by dying to the hordes or a hidden condition I won’t spoil here – you get to spend your gold unlocking new characters and permanent passive bonuses for future runs.
The devs say that in time, they plan to incorporate more characters, levels, and items, as well as new gameplay modes apart from the existing “survive the hordes” option (including some kind of story mode). The amount of content there now is absolutely amusing for a few hours at least and might be a nice way to while away a few minutes between other tasks, and the idea is that they’ll increase the price as they complete more facets of the game on the way to full release. Given that people are already uncovering cool combos and secrets (like the weapons evolutions I was talking up earlier in the thread), I suspect that as the pool of content grows, the capacity to discover ever more absurd and broken combos will provide a persistent source of delight.
It’s definitely blown up on Twitch and Youtube in the last week or two, which is awesome to see for a very small, modest dev team. Wishing them all the best in their neat, simple, but addictive little game.