Permadeath RPGs are slowly but surely becoming one of my favourite genres. The tension of knowing that it could all come to an end in seconds is unbearable and exciting in equal measure.
Isle of Bxnes is a permadeath RPG set in the Stone Age. You guide a tribe through a harsh environment, and if your leader pops his clogs at any point it's all over in a heartbeat.
There's a lot to admire here, although the game is a bit rough around the edges - especially where controls are concerned. It's the sort of title that you really hope will get a more polished sequel.
Only costs a few Bx
Your caveman tribe is floating around on a makeshift raft, stopping off on islands to grab food, medicinal herbs, weapons, and any other supplies you can find.
Each island is randomly generated, so you never find the same battleground twice. Exploration involves smashing open bricks and traps to find goodies, and fighting all sorts of beasts and other hostiles.
When you first begin, you will have zero clue what is going on. There's a simple tutorial, but for the most part you're left to fend for yourself. You will die quickly and often.
Then you begin to discover the intricacies of the game. The combat system, with its various slashes, rolls, and traps; the rationing of supplies to either cure yourself, or build up your offspring; the manic boss battles.
There's a lot to see and do in Isle of Bxnes, and you'll want to keep playing to uncover as much as possible - even when you're dying and losing it all consistently.
Isle of Bxnes is a very difficult game by design. But it straddles the line between difficult and unreasonably fiddly.
The virtual D-pad in particular can be woolly - many times when I died it was because my character rolled directly into an enemy when I hoping to aim elsewhere, or threw caltrops at an awkward angle.
Isle of Bxnes would also benefit from being a bit more accessible. There's letting players figure things out for themselves and then there's sending them up the creek. There's nothing wrong with going up the creek, of course - and it's exactly what you'd expect from a roguelike - but it would be nice to at least have a paddle.
In the end, this is a great idea that just needs a bit more polish, via an update or a sequel. If either of those things happens, we'll be back on the island like a shot.