PAX East 2014: Hands-on: Delver’s Drop

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

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Among the many stops we made during our busy PAX East weekend was the Pixelscopic booth, where they were showing off their Kickstarter-funded game Delver’s Drop. The game is a 2D dungeon-crawling action RPG. With so many elements involved, it’s tough to really explain it. I guess the easiest way to describe it would be to say it’s the next logical evolution of the 2D Zelda games.

You start out in what looks like a prison cell. There are a few different character classes to choose from. To pick the one you want, you unlock the door your desired character is behind. For my playthrough of the demo, I picked the beastmaster class. Its main weapon was a whip.

Delver's Drop—Rogue Class | oprainfall

The Zelda gameplay comparisons are obvious from the start. It really felt like playing a modern version of A Link to the Past. Attacking enemies and smashing inanimate objects to find treasure were both familiar mechanics I easily picked up. In another familiar sight, upon entering a room with monsters in it, the exits are blocked until all the monsters are defeated.

But there were some different elements too. First off, some of the treasures you can find are additional weapons. You can change your weapon by cycling through your inventory and equipping another one. Beware, though: most of these additional weapons have limited uses, although you can drop any weapon that has been used up to free some inventory space. There are also puzzles to solve and traps that must be avoided.

Delver's Drop—Treasure | oprainfall

Like many dungeon crawlers, Delver’s Drop has randomized levels. There was no evidence of this in the demo, since I only played through it once. While I’m normally not a fan of randomized dungeons, there have been some exceptions in the past.

Even though I had fun, the game didn’t really provide anything that felt like a new experience. Not that that’s a bad thing—games that feel familiar are a lot easier to get into and enjoy. If you’re a fan of roguelike RPGs or Zelda-like games like Anodyne, then Delver’s Drop is a game you should look for when it gets released mid-2014 for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux and late 2014 for iOS, Android, and the OUYA.

About Eric Chetkauskas

Eric has been playing video games for longer than he can remember. His interests skew toward retro games with an emphasis on Japanese RPGs like Chrono Trigger and the Dragon Quest series.