Freehold Games, the company behind roguelike Caves of Qud, is getting ready to introduce its latest creation, Sproggiwood, on Steam come October 24. Recently, FullCleared.com got an opportunity to check out a beta build of the upcoming roguelike, a game that was greenlit on Steam just two days after it was posted. Originally billed as a roguelike with a city-building aspect, the Freehold Games team decided to scale back on the city-building elements in order to focus on a more story-driven game, filled with beautiful artwork and a captivating soundtrack. But how does the game play and will it appeal to those that are inexperienced with the roguelike genre?
We sat down not knowing what to expect with Sproggiwood but was quickly charmed by its unique art direction featuring cute jellies, sheeps and clogheads. You see, in Sproggiwood you’ll assume the role of a cloghead, which is a block-headed person that has been summoned by the mysterious Sproggi in hopes of helping establish his civilization in the forest known as Sproggiwood. Under Sproggi’s bidding, you’ll venture off into numerous randomly-generated dungeons, unlocking additional classes, looting plenty of items and gold, all while discovering the secrets that Sproggi has yet to reveal.
In total, Sproggiwood will feature six character classes, which are unlocked as you progress through the game’s storyline. Initially you’re an unsuspecting farmer from the island of Clog, armed with a pitchfork and a simple pair of Dungarees. Leveling up the Farmer will open up skills such as the ability to hurl your pitchfork, plant a Pumpkin Bomb that explodes, summon a Scarecrow that causes enemies to flee and a Cornucopia, which heals your character. Each class plays quite differently with a variety of skills that alters the gameplay significantly each time you switch.
The charming world of Sproggiwood, filled with sheeps, clogheads, jellies and exquisite artwork
If you’re new to the roguelike genre, the games tend to be turn-based (both combat and movement) with randomly-generated dungeons and sometimes permadeath. Sproggiwood, in an attempt to appeal to a larger audience, isn’t as punishing in that once you die all progress is lost, but it does balance it in a way that is more forgiving for novices. Each time you start a dungeon, your character is a meager level 1 and is only equipped with the items the character class begins with, that is unless you’ve purchased some from the store. Finding items as you journey through Sproggiwood’s dungeons will allow you to equip and use them instantly, but they dematerialize once you complete your task and exit back to the world map. If you wish to equip a specific weapon or armor before you head into a dungeon, you must purchase it from the store with gold; the good thing is, once you’ve purchased an item it’s yours to own forever. It’s a novel and interesting mechanic that awards players for combing through each map in the search for loot.
Resources in Sproggiwood are simple: you have health and stamina. Players are able to upgrade their total health through Civic Boosts purchased in town while stamina is always capped at five stars. Using skills consume a certain amount of stamina – it varies depending on the skill – but stamina regeneration is abundant as you kill enemies throughout the dungeons. That’s not to say that the game is a walk in the park though, as you’ll have to cleverly determine each movement and attack to not only use your stamina efficiently, but to avoid damage from the adorable creatures that are out to kill your cloghead. Along with a weapon and an armor slot, players can have a single consumable equipped to be used advantageously on their journey. Consumables range from your generic health and stamina potions to scrolls that freeze all the enemies on the screen or even turn them into special vases filled with gold.
In our first impressions video, we tackle the introductory tutorial and the first dungeon in Sproggiwood, Ickykolo. While we were able to avoid death early on, the game does get more difficult in the later dungeons and requires careful planning no matter what class you’re looking to tackle them with. Dying in Sproggiwood will reset your progress within the dungeon, returning you back to the main world map, but you do get to keep the gold you earned which helps you unlock those Civic Boosts to make you stronger than before. Upgrades to your character through Civic Boosts include the ability to gain experience at a faster rate, additional hit points, item cost reductions, the ability to find more chests and the chance to find more special vases.
Look for FullCleared.com’s review of Sproggiwood next week, ahead of the game’s release on October 24. For now, take a look at our first impressions video below.