At certain points in people's lives, they find themselves asking this question: what exactly does one do after becoming stuck in a dungeon full of puzzles, traps, monsters and an unimaginable amount of loot? Okay, so perhaps this question does not pop up a whole lot in the daily life of Mr. Average Joe. But it does come up in “Delver's Drop,” the latest video game project by Pixelscopic. In an interview on Feb. 20, 2013, Vision Director and Co-founder Ryan Baker shed some light on Pixelscopic's upcoming title.
“Delver's Drop” is filled with nostalgia, having been inspired by various 8-bit and 16-bit games. But which ones? “The most obvious inspiration that people notice right away are the 2D Zelda games: 'Zelda,' 'Adventure of Link,' 'Link to the Past,' 'Link's Awakening,' 'Minish Cap,' etc.,” Baker says. “At its core, the game is a fast Action-RPG styled after 'Link to the Past' with some fast physics-based 'pinball' influence, with a page or two from Roguelikes, [such as] randomization and permadeath, and impact-based RPGs like 'Ys' and 'Half-Minute Hero.'” Baker also says that "Delver's Drop" has been inspired by games such as "Secret of Mana," "Alundra," "Gauntlet" and "Diablo" to name a few. “Our designers have also taken a page or two from games that our players might not guess right away, including 'Geometry Wars,' 'Borderlands,' 'Castlevania,' 'Guardian Heroes' ...and maybe the most unusual of all, Sony's 'WipEout' racing series,” Baker says.
Mental images of a cloaked thief racing through a dungeon on a high-speed, anti-gravity vehicle while grabbing all the loot he can aside, “Delver's Drop” takes an interesting stance on its leveling up system. “As the player kills enemies and finds loot, they will gain experience points that eventually result in a level gain. These do not improve the character's base stats of health and attack power, since we want the player to rely heavily upon the skill they build by playing the game rather than grinding for improved stats,” Baker says. Fret not, leveling up does serve a purpose rather than an arbitrary number. Leveling up gives players the ability to unlock perks in various skill trees. “These will improve the character's passive perks, (like finding more gold), the attributes of their normal attack (such as speed or range), and their class's special attack (adding elemental properties or other effects). Some may influence movement and speed as well. The player can also spend points to re-spec their class in alternate branches of the skill tree, giving them additional flexibility the longer they play,” Baker says.
Speaking of flexibility, “Delver's Drop” offers players a selection of classes to play as. “We have 3 classes currently planned: the Rogue, Gladiator, and Sorcerer. But Kickstarter backers will be able to vote on two more classes to add out of five choices,” Baker says. “There is even a special Kickstarter-exclusive class, to round our cast of characters out to six. We also have stretch goals for game expansions that would add even more classes to the game. We're very interested in giving players a lot of choice and variety through these classes, and additional replay through investing time to level each class and increase their perks and abilities.” Even something that seems as mundane as item usage will be different in the world of “Delver's Drop.” Baker says that Pixelscopic is designing the game so that there “won't always be a single tool for a single problem, and some items have unexpected results. This will give players a much more challenging experience because they will sometimes have to use items on the fly in inventive ways, or even leave behind their favorite type of item because it won't work in the current situation.”
There are also plans in motion for giving players the opportunity to create their own content for the game, further making “Delver's Drop” a huge step in the direction of customization.
Pixelscopic is currently running a Kickstarter campaign in order to speed up the development process. “With the support of this Kickstarter campaign, we will be able to transition into full-time development without relying on sporadic contract work. This means that the game will be completed on a much faster timeframe,” Baker says, giving a tentative release date of Oct. 2013. Those wanting to contribute to the project or wish to learn more about “Delver's Drop” can check its Kickstarter page here and its main website here.
When asked if he had any advice for future players of “Delver's Drop,” Baker had two things to say. “First, please back our Kickstarter and promote us through social media! We're almost halfway to our goal, but we'd really like to blow past it and attain some of our stretch goals. Second, when playing the game, try to use your sub-items wisely but effectively. Your items are (usually) limited in use, but death will cause you to lose all of your items and the dungeon will re-randomize…. meaning you only have one shot with the items you've got, so sometimes it's worth it to use one up to get out of a tight spot. So in other words: be cautious, but be inventive and take a few risks!” Those who play Final Fantasy and hold onto every single elixir that is found, never use them, and eventually clear the whole game with 99 elixirs would be wise to pay extra special attention to Baker's second tip.
“Delver's Drop” will be available for PC, Mac, Linux and both Apple and Android tablets.