I picked up Ending on a whim while lazing around in the sun over the weekend.
After an hour of battling my way past monochrome-coloured baddies and slowly but surely learning the mechanics of every possible encounter, I was well and truly hooked.
If nothing else, discovering this largely unheralded puzzler demonstrates that the lucky dip approach works.Fun
You play as a lone @ symbol, living in a world of crazy plunger things, disc baddies, and many other random pixellated objects that all seem to have a single agenda: your destruction.
As you swipe the screen to move in a turn-based fashion, these enemies hunt you down and attempt to trap you in corners. If you can time your movements right, you can slide up next to them and kill them by slamming into them.
It's a seemingly simple roguelike / puzzler setup, but there's plenty of depth to be found. As tougher enemies are added, you're forced to dodge a lot more than you kill, and eventually you'll be running for your life.
But even when you're running, you can't just simply lead your pursuers on a wild goose chase. There's a ticker in the corner that counts down with each movement, and the only way to make sure it doesn't hit zero is to kill your pursuers.
It's truly exhilarating to be trapped in a bind and then work out a way to slowly but surely puzzle your way out of enemy clutches. The main levels in Ending contain some of the best puzzling gameplay I've experienced in a mobile game in a long time.
Every ending has a start
The pack of puzzle levels is great, but it's the Roguelike mode that really shines.
Starting on the ninth floor, you're asked to make your way down to floor zero through randomly generated rooms. Each floor houses tougher and tougher enemies, and reaching the end will take you a good long while.
You're essentially asked to take everything you've learnt in the Puzzle mode and apply it to a roguelike setting - and it plays wonderfully, with gameplay that's easy to get into, but extremely difficult to master.
Ending is also a very stylish game, despite its simple visuals. Pixels distort and spread all over the screen whenever you're killed, and angry sound effects provide an air of tension throughout play.
There's also a level editor for creating your own puzzles, although I found I wasn't a huge fan of this given that there doesn't appear to be an option to share levels with friends. It would also be nice if your total score for the roguelike mode could be shared online. But now I'm just nitpicking.
Ending is phenomenal in every sense of the word. It's the sort of unassuming roguelike puzzler that could very well act as a gateway drug to roguelikes for the more casual players, while also providing enough depth that veteran rogues will keep coming back for more.