Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle announced, paid alpha released

Claustrophobia
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Claustrophobia: The Downward Struggle is a graphical roguelike in development by The Indie Forge. (Neither the developer nor the game seem to have an official website–look to the end of the article for links.)

I don’t think there’s a narrative premise, but there is a rather wordy feature list:

  • Expansive Random Generation – Everything from the dungeons design to the enemies and gear you face is randomly generated on starting a new game. Like traditional roguelikes, each new adventure offers a unique experience, with hundreds of different room types to explore, and even more items and enemies to populate them.
  • Clean Integrated Interface – All information you need about your character is on screen at once, and has been carefully optimised and integrated into the main game. Stats show gear progression on highlighting gear in the floor, and all loot can be dragged and dropped from the game world to your inventory.
  • So Much Gear – If you’re the sort of person who loves collecting gear which has lovely brightly coloured names depending on the item’s rarity, then this is the game for you. Gear drops are frequent, and the gear variety extensive.
  • Customization – What with all the gear, skills, characters and all, there really is a huge amount of room to make each playthrough of the game truly your own.
  • Crafting – Various forms of crafting will be available, from Blacksmithing to Alchemy. Materials can be found in amongst your sea of loot, which can then become new, shinier loot.
  • Slick Combat System – Every character has six abilities (mapped to QWERTY) which are used in combat, and well as just attacking with your equipped weapon. Q and W’s skills are determined by your main hand weapon, E and R by the character you are playing, and T and Y by a choice of your profession at the start of the game. Enemies also have skills unique to their type, which change how you combat different creeps. A spider for example, can web you to the floor if you get to close, and so is better taken out by using disabling abilities in return.
  • Easy to control, easy to run – The game is simple to pick up and play at any time, for any amount of time. Load times are instant, as is saving and closing, and the game itself in its current early build is playable on anything from a netbook upwards. It’s perfect for maybe a few minutes in your break, or for an hour to get down and seriously play.
  • Multiple difficulties – Keeping with the ‘playable on everything’ theme, here’s the ‘playable by anyone’ bit. Multiple levels of difficulty from ‘Pushover’ to ‘Impossible’ are available for players of any mind set or skill. Or just for those that fancy a challenge.
  • Massive Replay Value – Since every playthrough is unique, and every character, enemy, gear set, and room is different on each play, the game has tonnes of replay value.

Here’s the trailer:

There’s a wiki if you want to learn more about the game / spoil things for yourself, and a developer’s log if you want to track changes in the game over time.

The most recent update to Claustrophobia (just last week) puts it at alpha version 1.0.9. As is usually the way with roguelikes, you can buy in now and play Claustrophobia as it’s developed. You can nab it for $4.99 on Desura or £2.99 on GamersGate; I leave it to you to work out which is the better deal given shifting exchange rates. You can also find the game on Steam Greenlight and upvote it if you so desire. Claustrophobia is Windows-only.

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