Eldritch was my first experience with the Roguelike genre, and a solid one at that. Although, I didn’t think it included too many unique elements compared to the abundance of competition. As such, I only feel it’s worth considering if you are a diehard fan of this type of game. There is little in the design or narrative that deviates from a standard Roguelike. Players awaken in a library that spans infinity. To escape, you need to go sucked into three different enchanted books and descend into the dungeons they spawn.  At the bottom floor of each is a mystical artifact, your goal being to collect them and use their power to open a route to freedom. Sprinkled throughout are texts that inform the player of backstory, though I personally found them to be trite and uninteresting Navigating these dungeons plays out similarly to a title like Minecraft, particularly since Eldritch shamelessly borrows Mojang’s trademark blocky aesthetic. I ran around, got lost fairly frequently since most of the textures are identical, and worked to find creative solutions to ascend heights taller than a single block. Combat plays like a watered-down Bioshock, from a first-person perspective where each hand controls a weapon and power respectively. Physical weapons lacked variety, but the arsenal was admittedly fun and effective. Conversely, the powers had a range of awesome effects that were the clear highlight of the game. Cloaking, super jumping, and the ability to open any locked door with the wave of a hand was immensely satisfying. Thankfully, you can only use one power at a time to avoid balancing issues.

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The build I used to finally complete the game had the power to create terrain with the left hand, and destroy it with the right. This was a relatively broken strategy, since I could just plow straight to the bottom floor of any labyrinth and just search about for an exit. It needs more fine tuning, but the principle is that Eldritch supports unorthodox strategies so long as they are clever.. Another plan that worked quite well was setting traps for shopkeepers, either killing them or trapping them in inescapable holes. Then I was free to plunder their wares, including items like luck charms that substantially increase the loot plundered from dead foes. Using buffs like these, I can bank front-loaded resources, deliberately perish, and start the cycle again to ease my overall burden. Allowing players to become stupidly powerful if they properly know the ins and outs of a game is something I greatly appreciate. On the subject of appreciation, the developers clearly knew the value of good audio design. The enemies may be “low-poly”, but they are nonetheless terrifying because they bellow out bizarre callouts.  Hopping frog men chant, indestructible zombies hum like haunted machines, and insects hiss like eggs cooking in a frying pan. There is also a lot of resonance to these sounds, which can be intimidating. Monsters can lurk around any corner and never hesitated to lunge at me. The background music is also quite sinister and ominous, if simplistic.

Review: Eldritch
Ultimately, my metaphor for Eldritch is that is like panning for gold in a stream. You are going to sift through a lot of mundane rocks and water before finding those tiny gold nuggets in the architecture. It beckons the inevitable question of whether it is worth foregoing all that effort when other, more promising prospects may exist.
Pros:
  • Rewards clever thinking
  • Surprisingly Good Audio Work
Cons:
  • Does little to distinguish itself
  • Gameplay needs fine-tuning
6Overall Score