hydraslayer: A mathematical approach to the roguelike

As promised, no roguelike is shown here unless it can brag of something unusual. Here’s hydraslayer, which may have a small measure in common with encircled, of all things:


The “unusual” part of hydraslayer is in its mathematical puzzle style: The number of heads on each hydra will predicate which weapons and items you want to use in combat. It may be that your sabre can slice five heads off a hydra in a single sweep, but it’s not usable against something with only four.

And it may be that your dagger can cut off two heads at a time, but if you attack something with three heads, then it’s possible that the monster will regrow even more afterward.

So there’s some thinking involved, and some prudence in which weapons and items you can employ. Knowing that a hydra has nine heads and you have weapons that will work against five or two means you might want to cast about the dungeon in search of something that won’t get you killed while you work out the math.

hydraslayer simplifies the class and race designs of most roguelikes and allows you to pick between three or four with discrete abilities. For example, Titans can carry extra gear, but have to use special items as soon as they are picked up. Give a little, get a little. Twins, by comparison, are an adventuring pair with switchable controls, hopefully gaining a little advantage in some situations.

Color is great, and there are some small-scale animation effects, like stars that spin around a hydra glyph when you stun it with a potion. I like that.

What I saw of the math was never more difficult than a short string of mental addition. Even the toughest monsters I saw were negotiable so long as I took the time to think about the effects of a weapon, and work it down to a manageable size. So don’t be intimidated by a “math” roguelike.

Help screens are numerous and the tutorial will walk you through the basics and then drop you straight into level one. Geographically speaking, the game seems comfortable at 80×24 and larger, but the maps and interface don’t stretch any further.

hydraslayer is in AUR but the PKGBUILD doesn’t quite work right; the download link on the home page will give you the same material in a larger pack of roguelikes, and hydraslayer will build and run from that file without any of the other components.

I like hydraslayer; it’s sufficiently different to be noticeable, but not so obscure and convoluted that it becomes unappealing, like encircled. It has all the right components and makes a special effort to be challenging, and at the same time fun, unusual and playable. A healthy gold star for hydraslayer: ⭐ Enjoy! 🙂

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