When is a roguelike not a roguelike? When it's a puzzle-based sequel to a roguelike.
(At least you'll never have to wonder what the least funny joke ever conceived is.)
If you've already played this sequel to the classic 100 Rogues then you'll have gone through a range of emotions.
First, excited anticipation for a new 100 Rogues game. Then, some disappointment at the realisation that 100 Trials is very different from 100 Rogues. In fact, it's not a roguelike at all.
After that, intrigue as you discover exactly what 100 Trials is. And finally pure joy at how neatly it all fits into the 100 Rogues world.
Roguelike goes rogue
Indeed, 100 Trials may look and control identically to its predecessor 100 Rogues, but it's actually an expansion of the Challenge mode from the original game.
Rather than letting you explore vast dungeons, collect loot, and battle randomly generated enemies, 100 Trials puts you up against smaller puzzle-like scenarios that you need to think rather than smash your way out of.
Over 100 dungeon-like levels, you're given specific instructions like 'find the exit' or 'kill all the enemies', and left to fend your way to victory via turn-based action.
Every enemy is placed in such a way that you need to think carefully about how to work with the layout of each particular level. Perhaps you need to chase a specific enemy and kill him first to make the rest easier to beat, or maybe you need to pick the right spot to take on each one.
It's the level design that really sets 100 Trials apart, with set-pieces that provide exactly the right amount of challenge. It'll take you a few goes to beat each one, but you'll feel hugely rewarded when you do.
All trialled up
Once you've begun to get into the swing of it, 100 Trials then throws a variety of curveballs your way that makes the gameplay deeper than a Blink 182 diving competition.
You can collect special items from dead bodies and then use them to hinder the progress of surrounding enemies. You've also got special powers that utilise your magic power, and you need to place these with great care.
On top of all these there are four different rogue types, each with its own special magic and attributes, and there's a whole load of dungeon-crawling to be getting on with, with four completely different experiences depending on who you're currently playing with.
In terms of content, 100 Trials is a substantial offering. An overworld screen links all the levels together, and the sense of progression as you make your way through the world is extremely satisfying.Try me
100 Trials also fixes some of the issues that plagued the original release - in particular, there are no crashing problems or other notable bugs.
Instead, you have around a dozen hours of challenging gameplay, with a scoring system in place that will keep the more hardcore players coming back for more.
Some may take issue with the fact that 100 Trials borrows heavily from 100 Rogues, with visuals, enemies, characters, and weapons carried straight over.
And it's not for everyone, as it can get incredibly tricky later into play. Of course, it also doesn't help if you were expecting a roguelike - 100 Trials is nothing like a roguelike, and if you're hoping for one you'll be disappointed.
100 Trials may not be the sequel that some will have been hoping for, but by focusing on one particular element of the previous game rather than simply putting out the same game all over again developer Fusion Reactions has in fact managed to improve its original masterpiece.