A screenshot of the video game Brogue, featuring the player standing in a doorway observing a sleeping jackal and a scroll resting on the ground. Behind the player is a large pit.

Brogue Review

Genre | Roguelike
Developer | Brian Walker
Platforms | PC, Linux, OSX

Brogue is a roguelike game in which the player must descend to the 26th floor of a dungeon, retrieve the Amulet of Yendor, and return to the surface. Various monsters and traps exist in the dungeon which can prevent the player from accomplishing their objective. Items in the game confer various abilities that combine with the actions of monsters to create myriad results. Interacting with toads results in temporary hallucinations.

The dungeon in Brogue is generated randomly each time the player begins a new game. There are thirteen kinds of weapons, twelve kinds of magic scrolls, sixteen kinds of potions, six kinds of armor, twelve kinds of staffs, twelve kinds of staves, and twelve kinds of wands in Brogue. There are also rings and charms the player can equip, keys that open locked doors, rations that prevent the player’s character from starving to death, and gold that increases the player’s score.

Some potions in Brogue have positive effects while others have negative effects. Potions can be thrown at enemies or imbibed. When the player begins a new game of Brogue, they do not know which potion has which effect. The player must drink or throw unidentified potions to discover if it sets things on fire, provides healing, makes things fall through the floor, or causes some kind of other effect. If the potion is the one that sets things on fire, it will ignite the player’s character. The player can put out this fire by diving into water. This creates steam.  Steam causes scalding damage to the player. Steam can be escaped by swimming in water. Swimming in deep water will cause items to float out of the player’s inventory and into the water, where they will float away. The water in Brogue is inhabited by eels that attack the player.

The graphics in Brogue are ASCII graphics made up of colored character symbols. The color scheme includes many shades of purple, pink, and deep blue. Fire is orange and yellow and red, and water is blue. The coloring of the ASCII characters depends on the lighting in the level and on what the player’s character can see. There are no sounds or music in Brogue.

In Brogue the player is sometimes able to encounter captured monsters that can be freed and made into allies that accompany the player until one, the other, or both die. Monkeys in Brogue steal items from the player and run away. Pit bloats are floating blobs that, when killed, temporarily dissolve the ground under them, causing nearby creatures and items to fall down. Pink jellies are pink blobs that split in two when hit by a blow that does not kill them. Attacking a pink jelly can result in a situation where it is necessary to attack many other pink jellies in order to move in any direction.

This is a score for an objective game review. The score is an 8.5 out of 10.