The Wanderer Joins the Crew of Catacomb Kids

Ever since its earliest release, Catacomb Kids has had two character classes to choose from.  The Bully is the classic fighter, while the poet is a mage.  It’s not a bad pair of archetypes to choose from but those other four slots in the character select screen were just sitting there waiting to be filled, and now one of them has claimed its identity with The Wanderer.  The Wanderer is a classic thief-type character, fast and nimble with expanded environmental awareness, but the poor things are just as susceptible to instant horrible death as its other companions.

Catacomb Kids takes the “procedural death maze” genre seriously, and is quite willing to kill inattentive adventurers in a matter of seconds.  The game is played out in a side-scrolling dungeon filled with traps, monsters, and treasure, and the average  character only has a hit point pool in the low single digits to attack it with.  What this means is that death is easy, but the sheer variety of ways you can use the dungeon against the monsters means there’s always a backup plan if you can figure on out.  Throw a rock at a torch to tip it over and lure the orcs through the fire is always a good one, as is dropping or throwing empty bottles to weaken them a little.  The piranha swimming in the occasional pool doesn’t care who it eats, and there is no friendly fire among monsters.  No matter the class you choose, the main weapon is always the dungeon itself, and nobody says you have to kill every creature you run across.  Catacomb Kids is about survival, not combat, and the trick is knowing when the tool of fighting is best and when it’s just a terrible idea.

The new update is a major one, bringing with it not just a new class but also new systems that effect the game in obvious and subtle ways.  The map generator has gotten tweaked for more interesting layouts, the perks you can choose on leveling up a stat have been completed for all stats up to tier 2, and the Unique Weapon system has been implemented, although there’s apparently only a few created so far.  Surviving long enough to earn a unique weapon means not dying on level 2, which is worthy of bragging rights if not some kind of achievement.  While normally this level of player-directed psychopathy might be a bit disconcerting, somehow Catacomb Kids makes it work thanks the large number of abilities and options available in most encounters.  If only I’d retreated and rethought, or been more careful around those spikes, or hadn’t decided to use the dropped weight trap as an elevator and gotten squished against the ceiling, I could have gone on.  Next time it will go better.  Next time…