Roguelikes are, in a way, the purest form of computer role-playing game.
Unburdened with long expositions about a Great Evil sweeping the land and women who seem to purchase their armour from Victoria’s Secret, the genre is all about exploring randomly generated dungeons, looting said dungeons, and fighting. Lots of fighting.
One of the key titles on iOS that captures the essential spirit of a roguelike was the aptly named 100 Rogues from Dinofarm Games, which stole our hearts (and a Pocket Gamer Silver Award) last year with its modern interpretation of the hard-to-put-down (and hard to stay alive) gameplay that characterises the genre.
So when we heard Dinofarm Games was working on a new Android title, we presumed it would just be a straight-up port from the iPhone game - that’s how things tend to pan out in the mobile world, after all.
In actual fact, Auro is shaping up to be something of a rogue itself.
Gone are classes, instead replaced by ‘disciplines’ - a more free-form way of levelling-up your character and learning new skills over the old system. Equipment and items are also tied in directly to the system, meaning you can only obtain new armour and weapons by directing efforts down a certain path.
The maps, while still randomly generated, have been designed to be smaller, linear, and ‘more like courses’ for you to test your skill against. Not even the familiar tile layout of the genre is safe either, instead replaced by hexes.
Dinofarm Games wants Auro to be a "major refinement to the Rougelike genre", and it’s certainly sounding like it could be an interesting title to watch out for in the future.
Whether it’ll offend or delight the purists we’ll have to wait and see.