Thursday, 23 June 2011

Tinyhack is an 8-bit dungeon crawl for the imaginative

I don't feature videogames on here very often, because, even though I'm a gamer and write about videogames on other sites, I find tabletop roleplaying to be much more satisfying than any console or PC game - hence my tagline.

However, I think the game I discovered today can pass as low-tech and it's definitely a flight of fantasy. Tinyhack is an 8-bit flash game that fits into a 9x9 favicon, which is impressive in itself, but the main hook for me is that it's a dungeon crawler.

Read more after the jump

The beauty of Tinyhack lies in its sheer simplicity. Instead of immaculately rendered 3D warriors created in intimate detail, this little game harkens back to 70s gaming when imagination was key to the experience. Ok, you're a white square and you fight brown and occasionally pink squares in a smear of green and blue that is the world, but in your mind you're a paladin wasting demons like it ain't no thing.

No, it's not a type of fungus, it's a world map

The game has you collecting 16 artefacts along with a few special items such as a sword, shield and key. In order to get these artefacts you must descend into dungeons dark and deep and slay monsters (dark brown blobs). There's a neat little bit of coding in here that allows you to level up after killing a certain amount of enemies, so you start off as a weak pasty creature who can die after a couple of fights, and end up as a sword-wielding bad-ass capable of cleaning out an entire dungeon in seconds.

Two squares, or a ranger and a demon battling to the death?

In some ways, Tinyhack is more exciting that the triple-a console titles in the stores at the moment - providing you can let your imagination run wild. The creator Rob Beschizza has included a randomly generated game box complete with artwork lifted from Dragon magazines of old and a blurb about the game. This blurb changes everytime the screen is refreshed, as does the title of the game. For instance, I've just completed Tinyhack under the title of Dagger of the Angel. The plot revolves around your character, the chevalier, being sent by the academy (don't ask me which) to rescue the firestone and collect the 16 golden lights before defeating the evil Hector (what a name!) and his orc army.


These randomly generated blurbs flesh out the game, laying the foundations for your imagination. Is that brown blob an orc, a demon or a dragon? What are these yellow things your collecting and why? It's a really good idea and in some ways allows for replayability.

Now go check out Tinyhack. Watch out for the big pinkies!