Final Fantasy VII is remembered for many things. Emotional character moments and turn based combat aside, one of its defining features is ridiculously sized weaponry. Cloud's buster sword is an unwieldy ode to ridiculousness, and few games have followed up on this particular thread in a satisfactory manner. Thankfully, we now have Doko Roko to look forward to, a 2D roguelike that features little cloaked warriors that carry swords three times their size. Created by a one man team, Doko Roko is a game that has already captured the attention of many through social media posts during development, and we've covered the game on two separate occasions earlier this year.
Worldbuilding seems to be one of the game's central pillars. The action takes place in a tower that is infested with demonic creatures, but stands as a beacon to all across a vast wasteland. This feeds into the game's levels, where you aim to climb through a world that has expanded upward into a restrictive space. Unlike most rougelikes, there is a mixture of procedural and hand crafted design, allowing for certain monuments and features to define the space and mark your progress throughout the game.It is clear that this world of mystery was inspired by the Souls series, with the inhabitants of the tower being helpful in their way, but also cryptic. It also seems as though the story of the world and the many weapons and magics you will wield will be left vague at best, which works well for a game that you'll want to dig into and run again and again. However, your character's adventures will not be forgotten from run to run, with a promised "legacy system" keeping track of your progress and advancing whatever story beats you have uncovered.
This is all well and good, but the meat of the game in my estimation will be the combat. There have been quite a few good attempts at a melee focused rougelike, including titles like Ascendant and Vertical Drop Heroes. However, Doko Roko looks to be highly focused on the singular action of swinging your massive sword, with combat features such as parrying and striking back enemy projectiles adding to the depth of combat. As pictured below, there will be many blades to discover and utilize, including some that are downright practical in size. I'd personally go towards the Soul Edge counterpart, as I imagine that it will have some great life drain effects, but that's just me.
The game has mainly been shown off thus far through Twitter posts, and has attracted quite a bit of attention both for its beautiful pixel art and its fascinating and hard-hitting action. The particle effects of each explosion and the trails coming from each swing of a sword—everything looks heavy in a great way. We haven't seen evidence of this, but the creators also promise character transformations a la The Binding of Issac, and we can only hope that character customization is part of the plan as well. In either case, the game has already hit the nail on the head in terms of visual design.
As I've seen when I've brought this game up on the site and elsewhere, Doko Roko is game that you just want to jump into immediately. Unfortunately, while the basics are rock solid, the game's content still needs to be expanded and is currently planning for a release in October of 2017. In order to reach this goal, the game is currently collecting funds on Kickstarter so that the developer can work on the game full-time and get it out in that time frame. It is aiming for a release on PC, Mac, and Linux, and will be up on Steam Greenlight as well in the near future.
It all seems a bit overwhelming, especially when you hear that Okobu is mostly a one man team with two years to go in development. However, I've personally been made a believer in these types of projects, especially after seeing games like Downwell and Undertale make a huge splash on Steam recently despite their small teams. We are returning to a time of games that perfectly reflect their creator's artistic vision, and it's bringing some amazing games to light that would have never seen the light of day even five years ago. It makes me proud to be covering the industry in a time where someone with a bit of passion can make a statement that affects players across the world.
What upcoming games campaigning for support are you interested in seeing covered? Are you excited about following Doko Roko's development, either on Twitter or elsewhere? How big is too big when it comes to bladed weaponry? Answer these questions and more in the comments below!